Though much of the satire throughout the series can easily be traced back to real life (for example, Mr Peanutbutter's campaign for governor being a parody of Trump's presidential run), a perhaps more subtle yet still remarkably clear allegory throughout the show's existence is the striking similarities between Bojack Horseman and the life and works of Tennessee Williams.
When the name Marilyn Monroe is mentioned, two images are likely to come to mind; the skirt blowing scene of Billy Wilder's Seven Year Itch (1955), or the infamously breathy rendition of 'Happy Birthday' sung to John F Kennedy by Monroe in 1961. Both pop culture moments capture the image often associated with Marilyn; that of a beautiful, flirtatious woman who oozes sex appeal and knows how to use it. This image, though indicative of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the bombshells who thrived in it, is only a small part of the complex character Monroe was, and has largely damaged her reputation.
Marilyn’s longest marriage was to Arthur Miller, the great American playwright. The couple had met while Marilyn was still married to Joe DiMaggio, an unhappy marriage in which Marilyn was seemingly being punished for who she really was. Arthur offered her love and appreciation for all that she was, every single aspect of her – not just the blonde bombshell seen by the press or the subservient housewife Joe had wanted her to be.
By 1953, Marilyn was fast becoming one of the biggest stars in the world. Her leading roles in hit films How to Marry a Millionaire, Niagra and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes had cemented her as a box office draw, and the scandal surrounding the release of her nude pictures had created a whole other image for her: she was officially a sex symbol. Though these nude pictures had been taken in 1949 when Marilyn was a struggling actress just starting out, and had been released in 1953s Playboy without her consent, they had succeeded in drawing the attention of Hollywood to her. Rather than denying that the woman in the photos was her, Marilyn simply shrugged the pictures off with a refreshing honesty – she had posed for the pictures because had no other choice, and did not see how that event could or should affect her current career. Of course, it affected it greatly.
Jim Dougherty was one of the few people privileged enough to know Marilyn before she was Marilyn. He had been the next door neighbour of Grace McKee Goddard, long time friend of Marilyn’s mother Gladys and now legal guardian of the 15 year old Norma Jeane, when in 1942 Grace moved out of state due to her husband’s work. Due to state laws, Norma Jeane could not leave the state of California with Grace, and so was facing the daunting possibility of returning to an orphanage. In her turbulent early life, Norma Jeane had been in and out of a multitude of foster homes and orphanages, her mother unable to look after her due to her severe mental health issues, and during this time Norma Jeane had been subjected to physical, mental and sexual abuse by the very people who were supposed to be looking after her. The possibility of returning to this life was frightening to her, but Norma Jeane also expressed fears that she was too young to be a wife. Seemingly caught between a rock and a hard place, Norma Jeane married Jim Dougherty on the 19th of June 1942.
Last night at the Golden Globes, actors and actresses wore black to display their support of the Time’s Up movement, a campaign founded in response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations and subsequent Weinstein effect. The response in Hollywood since the watershed moment of the first allegations against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017 has been significant, but not surprising. Since Weinstein, there have been following allegations of abuse against a number of prominent names, including Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, James Toback, Matt Lauer, Brett Ratner – the list is sadly exhaustive, and will most likely be continuously added to. But as appalling as these revelations are, they are far from shocking. Hollywood has been an abusive industry for its entire existence, forming over a century’s worth of heartbreaking stories of ‘casting couch’ abuse, manipulation and mistreatment, from the days of the silent era, through Hollywood’s golden age to the present day.