Bojack Horseman S1 Ep. 1-4: The SSL Review

I had heard some good things about Bojack Horseman, so Charlie and I watched about 8 of the first season's 12 episodes. At that point we both got a little bored with it and haven't watched any since. However, in writing this, I was looking some stuff up about the show, and apparently it got A LOT better after the 1st half of the 1st season. So, if you think you might be into this show, maybe it's actually better than I am letting on - if you stick with it. You do you. Who knows, maybe I'll watch some more myself.

Anyway, there was some lady-bations/lady-gasm type stuff in there, so here I am doing an SSL Review for you all. As most of you already know, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of a depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation. I look toward realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?), and I also look at what the depiction/discussion reflect from and add to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality. A show could be good with a bad SSL review or vice versa, and I really try to keep an SSL review to the SSL reviewable scenes, but if I feel like it, I can talk about anything I want to - because it's my blog.

You can see all the SSL TV Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the movie SSL Reviews HERE).

So here we go:

S1 Ep. 1 Orgasm Interrupted
The scene
BoJack is in bed, lying on his back. A human woman (oh - Bojack is actually a horse. I mean he stands on two legs and  wears clothes, but he's a horse) is riding cowgirl on him bouncing up and down. Her upper body is fully upright, so there's no leaning forward to push the ol' clit/vulva area against his body - just hole on pole.

We don't see what her hands are doing. We're looking at it from behind her back, and her hands are in front of her, so it is possible she could be rubbing the clit while she's bouncing on his literal horsecock, but there is no specific indication that is what's happening. More likely the intention (because it's drawn, so there probably has to be some intention there) is that her hands are on him, helping her steady herself as she bounces. I assumed this, and I assume most people would too (if they actually put active thought into it at all) because we're used to seeing women have sex this way, but not used to seeing a woman rub her clit during intercourse.

His arms are definitely not on her clit area either. Anyway, she starts saying, "Oh, oh, oh, Bojack, I'm almost theee..." But, he stops her before it fully happens in order to look past her and see the beginning of his old TV show "Horsing Around." She gets an annoyed look on her face and goes silent.

The orgasm and my take
So, somehow she is getting the stimulation to orgasm even though it seems to be all in the vagina, and as any good SSL reader knows, there is no physical record of a woman coming from stimulation inside the vagina anywhere in scientific literature. So, I deem it an unrealistic but very common depiction of female orgasm.

There are complications to this though. The fact that her hands were not clearly away from her clit area is a bit more unusual, and leaves some doubt. However, the woman's hands on the dude's stomach/chest is a very common way to depict this position (unless she is supposed to be really wild or really insane, and then she is running them through her hair and waving them in the air like she just don't care....or if the position is on regular TV and she's naked up top, then her hands would be on her boobs so they are covered), so I think there was no intention to show this woman touching her own clit, and I doubt viewers would see that insinuated because ladies rubbing their own clits to orgasm in movies and TV is just not even on the radar...but getting banged into orgasm sure is.

Oh, and to complicate it further- I also just realized that it looks like she has her underwear on the whole time...maybe it's a panties to the side kind of thing? OR...maybe she was all panties on, just grinding her clit against his stomach the whole time. That would be cool. I'm certain it wasn't the intention, but that would be cool.

S1 Ep. 3 - They said the word 'clitoris'
The scene
Sextina Aquafina, who is a fish that is a hot sexy new singer starlet, says,  "My clitoris is ginormous!" It's not really in relation to anything. She's on the TV a lot, and she's used in the show as comparison to a now 30-year old actress who was once a kid on Bojack's show and then became a sexy starlet and is now just drugged up and washed out.

Why talk about it???
Okay, this one is technically not SSL reviewable being that there was no orgasm or masturbation involved, but I wanted to mention it anyway because the word 'clitoris' was mentioned. The truth is, clitoris is not mentioned in pop culture that much. It just isn't. 'Vagina,' 'pussy,' 'hole' - these types of things are mentioned on the regular, and you know dick is mentioned all the damn time.

So, I like to point it out when I hear it, because I think people like Sophia Wallace and her Cliteracy campaign are correct. The clit is a bit invisible. It's the thing that causes women to orgasm, but how often do you hear about it or see it insinuated in depictions of female orgasm - even in porn? Rarely...it's almost always the hole, which is a bunch of bullshit that just goes to show you how deep the problems with societal misunderstanding of lady-gasms are.

My thoughts
I don't have too much to say about this. I think probably it was just a funny line the writers made up to show this woman is throwing her sex out there real hard. That said though, I do also want to mention that I feel that her specifically talking about her clit and specifically about it being large is tailored to make the audience feel a little gross about her in a particular way.

I say this because I feel like talking about the clit seems a bit more raucous - more wild and dirty for a girl to do because we just don't do it much and it seems a little selfish too. Then saying it's big is almost saying she's man-like - which I think has an 8-year-old boy style humor of  'Oh gross, she's trying to be sexy, but it's just gross because its not feminine,' feel to it. Anyway, maybe this was just a simple rhyming line some writers shit out, but maybe there was some thought put into it, and maybe it emphasized  the grossness and non-femininity of the clit and the women who talk about them - and that's not awesome.

And yeah - that's probably getting too deep into the weeds with this, but that's how we roll here sometimes.

S1 Ep. 4 - "not even inside me"
The scene
BoJack is face down missionary style on top of his agent - a cat named Princess Carolyn played by Amy Sedaris. (I mean, a horse should not be penetrating a cat, really - but I assume they were written as lovers for the inherent joke in the wrongness of it).

He is straight pounding her and breathing real hard as he's speaking. She's on her back. Her arms are at her side. So, no one's hands are on her clit area. She's straight-faced and annoyed.

Bojack: Are you close?
Princess Carolyn: No. (exasperated)
Bojack: How 'bout now?
Princess Carolyn: No. (even more exasperated)
Bojack: Now?
Princess Carolyn: You're not even inside of me.
Bojack: Oh gaaaaaahhhhhhd! (as he comes)
He immediately rolls off her and immediately says
Bojack: Did you get there?

Then someone comes into the room and interrupts them with something completely different, so this isn't discussed any further.

My thoughts
It was a scene to show, like in the first scene I discuss above, that Bojack is oblivious to the circumstances of the women he's having sex with...i.e. a classic way to show a man as being selfish.

The scene's on point in a way. A dude banging on a woman without any extra external stimulation is not going to get her there, so that's not unrealistic. I think the interesting thing is in the punchline of this scene: "You're not even inside of me." Hilarious, right? He's so oblivious that he's not even inside her (I mean, probably best given she's a cat and he's a horse, but whatever). He's just rubbing up against her or something.

The thing is, that punchline really shines a light on one of the main unchecked assumptions we have about female orgasm in this culture; that at the very least, you must be inside her vagina. I mean if he actually cared about her orgasm instead of just caring enough to mindlessly ask her about it, he would at least do the most basic of things a man must do to get a woman off - be inside her, right? Well, that only works if your audience strongly feels that a penis inside a woman can cause a woman to orgasm, and of course the audiences does because our society does, But it's not true. In reality, the penis inside the vag has never been shown to cause orgasm, but rubbing stuff against the external genitals has.

So, it's like if we look at this situation in a physically realistic way, him rubbing against her outer parts might actually be super duper nice for her. That, unlike banging a vagina, has actually been shown to cause orgasm in women. So, the scene works for what it's supposed to be - showing Bojack as a thoughtless, selfish lover, but in doing so, it point out clearly how badly the culture misunderstands how women actually orgasm.

The Vulva Rating
This is status quo stuff here. This is women getting off from bouncing on a dick with no external clitoral stimulation. This is jokes about a dude being so bad in bed that he doesn't even put the dick in her. It's not new or exciting or progressive. It's just jokes about sex and selfishness from a male perspective.

"Haha," the writers I'm sure said, "wouldn't it be funny to demonstrate this dude's selfishness through caring not about his partner's orgasm?" Yes, it would be funny if 1) the anatomical aspects of how they made that joke were correct and 2) if it were't like everyday life...if women not orgasming with men during sex wasn't more common than not.

These kinds of sex jokes are from a very male perspective. I mean, I think they're meant to be thoughtful of the female perspective, but they're not really. I know they're trying, but the jokes are more like a dude's idea of what a female perspective might be. It's played out, kinda tone-def, but it's born from a huge cultural miseducation about the female orgasm and the clit being necessary for it...so in the end, since this miseducation is pretty ubiquitous, it's also still fine as a joke...which is sad.

This did not take the discussion of female orgasm back any and it wasn't mean-spirited. It also didn't move it forward, and it's not realistic. So, I'm giving these first 4 episodes of Bojack Horseman a 2 vulva rating.

No comments:

Post a Comment