How BoJack Horseman Handled Abortion

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
The sixth episode of BoJack Horseman's third season is titled "Brrap Brrap Pew Pew." It sounds a bit like a video game that involves laying down hip-hop tracks. But no, it's about abortion.
In the previous episode, Diane breaks her wrist. Mr. Peanutbutter escorts her to the doctor, where she learns she's pregnant. So episode 6 is really about what the couple plans to do about it. In the car on the way home, Diane suggests they both say what they want to do on the count of three. And though they couch it in different phrasing, the same word appears in both of their answers: abortion.
Here's what's surprising about this choice. Mr. Peanutbutter is a dude who's thrilled by pretty much anything in this world. So you'd think the prospect of having a baby would be just the best thing about his day. It's interesting that he, too, wants Diane to have an abortion.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, the show's creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg said he "wanted to explore the idea that Diane didn't want children in a way where she didn't have to say, 'I don't want children.'" But the story line becomes much larger than Diane's character when, during a gig handling pop star Sextina Aquafina's Twitter account, she mistakenly posts to the celebrity's social media, "I'm having an abortion."

We don't see her crying about it. We don't see her voicing regret or guilt.

Though Aquafina originally wants to fire Diane for this error, she notices that it worked in her favor. Her fans laud her bravery and honesty in humanizing what's sometimes seen as a taboo subject. Suddenly Aquafina is having her (fake) abortion live on TV, giving interviews about the stigma associated with abortion, and basically becoming the face of women who terminate pregnancies.
In the meantime, Diane quietly gets her abortion at a clinic. That is, after she's forced to watch videos of babies playing, look at the sonogram, and jump through a number of hoops designed to make her feel guilty about it.
Bob-Waksberg said this choice came from his interest in the way people discuss abortion in the first place. "So many women in this country have abortions, safely and legally," he told The Daily Beast. (Though, the fate of that right has become an increasing concern.) "We really wanted to tell a story about a woman who knows what she wants to do and she does it and it gives her some feelings, but she never has doubt about it."
What I liked about this approach to abortion is that we saw two sides of it. On one hand, we have the sensationalized media frenzy surrounding a female celebrity pregnancy. But we also get the normalized version of Diane's real abortion. We don't see her crying about it. We don't see her voicing regret or guilt. We see her sitting on the couch, blanket on lap and tea in hand, talking with Princess Carolyn about her next career move.

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