Big Mouth

milkboys Clips & Spots, Television 8 Comments

Netflix’ Big Mouth takes a sharp, surprisingly joyful look at the gross time that is puberty. Also, the comedy casts puberty as a literal hormone monster.

The most common way people describe going through puberty is “awkward.” But as Netflix’s new animated comedy Big Mouth would like to remind you, going through puberty is also downright disgusting.

The series spares no gross detail as it delves into the fraught world of adolescence and all the rages, bodily fluids, and knee-jerk masturbatory instincts it brings. Adding yet another layer of weirdness is that Big Mouthpersonifies puberty by way of opposing “hormone monsters,” with the lecherous Maury (series co-creator Nick Kroll) following meek Andrew (John Mulaney) as he frets his way through his new urges, while curvaceous Connie (Maya Rudolph) tags alongside Jessi (Jessi Klein) to prod her into indulging in vicious mood swings.

The show’s 10 episodes are overall very silly, and often ridiculous just for the sake of it. Maury in particular is a walking, talking id who takes gleeful advantage of Netflix’s lack of censors; there’s no other show I can think of that would cast the role one of its young protagonists’ closest confidants as the horny ghost of Duke Ellington living in his attic. At one point, there’s a bizarre sidebar about Jay, the resident hothead of Andrew and Jessi’s school who’s voiced appropriately by comedy’s resident hothead Jason Mantzoukas, accidentally impregnating a pillow.

But what makes Big Mouth more than the sum of its many, many dick jokes is the fact that beneath its raging hormones and truly gross humor lies an enormously sympathetic heart.

Andrew, for example, is growing almost despite himself, sporting a patchy mustache while furtively masturbating to fantasies of his father’s assistant. But his best friend Nick (also voiced by Kroll) is still firmly stuck in preadolescence, barely as tall as Andrew’s shoulders, lacking the sex drive that’s slowly but surely taking over Andrew’s brain, and confused as to why his own body is taking so long to catch up.

When Andrew’s not caught up in his lustful reveries (not to mention Maury’s encouragement to indulge every last deranged one of them), his friendship with Nick is genuinely touching, and a real portrayal of how hard it can for teens to navigate relationships when they’re growing up at different rates.

If Big Mouth were just a series of jokes about how weird and gross puberty is, it wouldn’t be much more than a decent way to kill some time during a slow weekend. But the show achieves a new, deeper level of comedy by remaining hyper aware of the fact that puberty isn’t just about bodies changing, but about what it means to grow up at all.

Comments 8

  1. This is so way beyond fucked up I’m lost for words. So I’m making roasted cheese on bread, cocoa, cookies and putting the heating on to watch it on Netflix. I love weird fucked up shit. It’s just up my Alleyway. Quite literary. I’ll comment again once I’ve seen it. It looks like fun.

  2. Well, that was different. The P.E. Teacher was a perve and the red headed boy with the mobile was gay. I need to watch the other episodes tomorrow. Night all.

  3. Coincidentaly I just watched it today, the full season. I started it and finished it today; it was weird, relatable and not uncomfortable for me. I’m not sure if it was a jewel or not, but definitely had a blast.

  4. I have seen some trailers and sneak peeks of this show and I’d watch this show in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for my aversion for this new fangled streaming thing every good show seems to be on nowadays.

    Interesting to note that there is already a backlash against it by some of the more right wing conservative groups in the good old USA. Apparently it promotes pedophilia because it’s a “show aimed at adults that talks about about children going through puberty”.

    Trust me America, not every adult is a pedo hiding in your closet.

  5. 😈Looks really funny and off the wall. We need more shows that make fun of such a rough period in our lives but still let’s us see the absurd reality of it! Screw the conservatives, they freaked out over South Park too but look how many years Cartman & his crew have graced our screens with their freak antics and off the wall comedy.

  6. So far I watched the first 4 shows. I think its great. Certainly meant for adults. I’m not sure I would let kids watch it. But you know they will watch it when the parents are not around. They can certainly learn something in the process.

  7. Thank you for telling me about this show. I watched it and laughed my ass off. If not for the language this show might make a great educational tool for middle school kids.

    1. “If not for the language this show might make a great educational tool for middle school kids.”

      I’ve said the very same thing about Penn & Teller’s Bullshit Series but leaving out “might” and say “would.” And you can extend this to high school kids as well. It would be nice if the producers of interesting programs such as these first consider that it might/could be used as educational videos for schools and the general public towards minors before they insert “street” language.

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