Big Mouth

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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.

The ”Sissy” Boy Experiment

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In 1970, a five-year-old boy named Kirk Murphy was subjected to a government-funded ex-gay experiment. Under the care of Dr Ivor Lovaas and George Rekers, then a doctoral student, of UCLA, he underwent therapy to eliminate supposed effeminate behaviours. In 1974, Lovaas and Rekers jointly published a paper about the boy they renamed “Kraig,” heralding his treatment for “childhood cross-gender problems” a success and claiming he had been transformed from a gender-confused homosexual-in-waiting to a healthy, heterosexual young man.

On the back of this study, Rekers built a career as an anti-gay activist and a supposed expert in childhood sexual development. He co-founded the Family Research Council and championed reparative therapy to turn gay men straight. A few years ago the State of Florida spent hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring Dr. George Rekers as its star witness in the case against adoption by gays in Florida.

In 2003, Kirk, aged 38 years old and gay, committed suicide.

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Stereo

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What if we lived in a world where it was common, even expected, for boys to wear dresses? Meanwhile, girls don’t do theater, they try out for the football team. That’s exactly what the short film Stereo explores about gender stereotypes. 14-year-old Ella Fields made the film in the Cinematic Arts Academy at Millikan Middle School in Los Angeles last year.

Who hates Roseanne?

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The professional boycotters from the Christian hate group One Million Moms has one again risen from its boggy gully to take umbrage with pop culture, and this time they’re simply livid that the 2018 Roseanne reboot will be including a gender fluid character.

According to Fox News, the reboot will feature a new character — Roseanne’s nine-year-old grandson, Mark — who is “gender creative,” “sensitive,” and “effeminate.” The son of Darlene and David “displays qualities of both male and female young child traits.”

The group’s director, Monica Cole, sent out an email (see below), including a call to action to sign their boycott petition, “since the show is promoting gender dysphoria and purposefully confuses children.”

Earlier this year, One Million Moms went after Disney XD for featuring two boys kissing, a campaign that garnered 7,000 signatures. Not quite a million.

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