The word demon usually isn’t taken literally anymore, but even figuratively, wrestling with demons is a serious issue. We’re usually talking about intense personal struggles with mental health issues and addiction that are robbing us and our loved ones of our selves, our identities, our peace, and our happiness. Many, though, believe demons are literal spirits that can overtake our bodies, turning us, unwittingly into puppet-type monsters.

The baffling events of early 2013 in a fabled L.A. hotel are one of many inspirations for American Horror Story: Hotel, and an upcoming horror film called The Bringing. While the details of the case drove intense speculation about possible paranormal elements to a young woman’s death, the reality is more of lonely despair.

The first episode of Fargo, Season 2 involves Kirsten Dunst as Peggy Blomquist, a butcher’s wife who lets her denial of reality wrap them both up in a dizzying coverup. Some of the details of this darkly comedic scenario are inspired by a true events from over a decade ago.

People who wish to control people absolutely must also control all the information. When Warren Jeffs went to prison four years ago to start his life sentence, the only way he could continue his immaculate reign over his religious group was to lock everything down. Marriages stopped, and people he found threatening were sent away to the outside, where they presumably could do no harm to the closed-in community.

“Don’t run. Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody dies. Now, come watch TV,” Morty tells his sister Summer, who’s having a bitter teenage meltdown over news that her birth was a mistake. Summer’s going through a world-shattering event, but thanks to Grandpa Rick’s universe-bending, Morty has seen some things that put everything into perspective. What he’s saying is stark, but comforting.

This episode of BoJack Horsemean heavily references an episode of The Larry Sanders show where Larry is caught on security tape knocking over a lady at a grocery store. In BoJack’s case, he just can’t resist being a jerk and denying “dibs” on some muffins a seal hid in the produce section while he went to the bathroom. BoJack doesn’t even want the muffins, he buys them out of spite, and then hate eats the entire box on the way home.

Fresh off the heels of consuming Season 2 of Netflix’s Bojack Horseman, I’ve decided to go back to the beginning of the hit series about depression, alcoholism, and loneliness.

The fact that it’s a cartoon with the further absurdity of anthropomorphized animals helps the Raphael Bob-Waksberg-created series get deep into to the dark little heart of melancholia. Distance can give us sharp perspective, and helps us open up about things often kept hidden in the stark light of real humans in real human skin. Animation can help us be more honest sometimes, (and so can funny voices.)

The third season of Orange is The New Black gave us a beautiful thing: the evolution of Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett from a delusional, violent, racist, homophobic, bible-thumping caricature to a complicated person who had a traumatic and neglectful upbringing. Pennsatucky, for all of her self-righteous bravado, is capable of humor, reflectiveness and change. Humanizing Pennsatucky also helped shine a light prison sexual assault’s grim reality.