BoJack Horseman's Todd 'told us he was asexual', says creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg on the character's positive representation
The makers of the show have received acclaim (of course, with some criticism) for their portrayal of Todd's sexuality and even their approach towards it
When Todd Chavez (voiced by Aaron Paul) came out as an asexual on Netflix's 'BoJack Horseman', the update was one that was much appreciated. Fans of the show who identified as asexuals weren't learning anything new but the representation alone was encouraging.
The makers of the show received acclaim (of course with some criticism) for their portrayal of Todd's sexuality and even their approach towards it. The word 'asexual' didn't even come up straight away – it wasn't a label that Todd had thought about. "I think I might be nothing" – this line is so simple yet so on point portraying the deep layers for the character.
While we weren't fans of the humourous tone the makers gave to season five, specifically with the Yolanda situation, we do appreciate Todd's emotional journey.
In a recent AMA that creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg conducted on Reddit on account of releasing his new book called 'Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory', he answered some questions pertaining to the nature of Todd's sexuality.
Raphael admits that it might sound cheesy, but it was really Todd himself who told the makers that he was asexual. "This is such a cheesy 'I am a writer' answer but the truth is it felt like Todd told us he was asexual more than we made him asexual. Going into season three, I knew I wanted to take Todd to more serious places and this felt like a good area to explore. Looking back, part of what was 'telling me' Todd was asexual was my own preconceived notions of what an asexual person acts like, some of which was based on harmful stereotypes," he said.
Going forward from here, for want of portraying this with a clear conscience, creators of the show brought in a consultant to ensure that they weren't doing any injustice. And obviously, the first thing they wanted to do was steer clear of stereotypes.
"Once we realized this was the story we were telling, we wanted to make sure we were telling it in a responsible way, so we brought in a consultant at the beginning of season four to talk about her experience with asexuality and asexual representation. One thing I asked was 'What are you tired of seeing in stories about aces?' and she said, 'That all aces are innocent and childlike and irresponsible, or that we're robots.' And I thought, 'Uh oh... Well, at least he's not a robot...'"
It was here that the makers knew they had to make some alterations to the treatment of the character. "After that conversation, I felt it was important to show Todd interacting with other asexual characters and not be the sole (while still being the main) representation of asexuality on our show. We also wanted to make sure Todd could still be Todd and be involved in stories that had nothing to do with his asexuality."
This also explains the incorporation of Yolanda Buenaventura in the storyline, among other things. Todd's positive representation was not only refreshing but welcome from a community that often feels like mainstream representation shows their sexuality as something that can sometimes be fake or that one will grow out of eventually. The first five seasons of 'BoJack Horseman' are currently streaming on Netflix.