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Big Mouth strangely finds a way to present the vulgarity of one of its few peers, South Park, alongside having the type of heart that the Disney Channel has recently afforded its shows.
Oh, look out! It’s the Hormone Monster! Nah, just kidding. Both the Hormone monster, Maury, and Monstress, Connie, are actually pretty cool. They are the ones who help guide Andrew, Jessi, Missy, and possibly a few others through this time in their life known as puberty. Often to mixed results. For while, on one day, they are guiding them to smoothly having a makeout session, the next day they’ll give them their first period. So the relationship is quite complicated.
However, considering how nearly all the friend dynamics change as everyone, but Nick, goes through puberty, these pseudo-imaginary beings are necessary. Especially since urges to date, make out, and maybe even rub genitals comes about. All of which these young people aren’t necessarily ready for. However, with the type of families they have, these relationships become something needed for their mental, if not emotional, well-being.
Girls Go Through Puberty Too
As noted throughout the season, there is something refreshing about the girls getting equal footing with the boys. They aren’t just the objects of the boys’ affections, the ones who date them, dump them, are people they long for but never talk to and etc. Nope. Missy and Jessi, alongside the other girls, are full-fledged people with their own problems, differing desires, maturity levels, and interest.
But, focusing just on the puberty angle, the fact the show addressed, though just for one episode (episode 2), Jessi having her period, us seeing the blood, and later showing her getting to know herself down there, that is so important. For when it comes to girls coming of age, it is very niche. You don’t get girls like Jessi or Missy that often. What you usually see are wallflower types. You don’t get the sci-fi nerd or someone who is arguably a tomboy.
Much less, you don’t hear or see them talk about their periods, being horny, and seem like they have more to worry about than their first boyfriend or their first time. With these girls, they have the desire to now be accepted, maybe popular, glammed up, and more. Boys are interesting too, but will never compare to Gustavo. And really, just seeing young girls be treated as the boys with family issues, having scenes where no boys are around, and just having full on lives is worthy of applause. It shouldn’t be, but it is.
The Hormone Monsters
Honestly, the Hormone Monsters make the show. Though Jessi and the gang are comical, Connie and Maury could be mascots for Netflix. Focusing on Connie first, the way she whispers into Missy’s or Jessi’s ear is funny from the get-go, and then the things she tells them to do? Like when Jessi and Nick break up and she is feeding her lines to go off on him with, it really helps you realize, as nice as Connie can be, at the end of the day she is still a monstress.
Unfortunately, though, Connie isn’t seen as much as Maury, who usually is hanging with Andrew, but is aware of Jay and Matthew. Now, if you think Connie is funny, Maury is downright hilarious, and a bit offensive. Especially since he represents the boy brain and some of the stuff he imagines, like screwing a dead skull when Andrew decides to stop masturbating, is downright weird and creepy. Yet, as shown in the last episode, though Maury can be a bit much to deal with, like when he has Andrew masturbate at Nick’s house, multiple times, he still loves his kids. Hence why he helped Andrew escape the Pornscape.
Jay and Missy
Jay and Missy are the only two noteworthy characters of color on the show. Also, arguably they are the most interesting [note]Though I’m biased[/note]. For Missy, as noted, it is because she reps a rarely seen thing. Not only is she a girl who has a life outside of boyfriend and sex pursuits, but we see that she is also the aggressive type. On top of that, she is awkward, a book nerd, bi-racial, and encompasses so many things that we rarely see in both the animated world and live action. I mean, just combing through my own memories, outside of Issa Rae’s character on Insecure, I’m unsure who comes close to being authentically awkward and not in the box most Black girls are put in. Well, maybe Nia on Raven’s Home is one who fits for a worthy comparison.
Then, in terms of Jay, while he fits everyone else’s middle-class Westchester socio-economic status, the boy got issues. I’m talking real dysfunction when it comes to him. For unlike everyone else, his family isn’t just weird, they are abusive. For if it isn’t his mom being cruel then it is his brothers being mean, besides snide comments, and beating him up. If not making him eat jizz crackers.
But what really gets me about Jay is that while we see emotions out of Andrew and Nick throughout the season, you could cry over what is going on in Jay’s life. Especially since he is this brown kid into magic, which no one really respects, he craves real intimacy, since his family doesn’t give it to him, so he seeks it out in others. He gets close to Nick’s mom since she does home cooked meals and gives hugs. When Jessi starts to make out with him consistently, he is the only boy to really ask “where is this going?” and is the first to admit he needs something more than just the privilege to make out with a girl.
Something I loved seeing because, when it comes to Black and Brown people, we do see that, especially nowadays, but it wasn’t really like that back in the 90s and early 00s. You didn’t get these emotional boys who didn’t play off what they were feeling with jokes. Jay goes straight to the, me paraphrasing, “I can’t just have physical intimacy without some sort of emotional dependency and if you can’t accept that, we should probably stop.” I mean, for crying out loud, he imagines himself falling in love with his pillow! The child’s journey from the friend everyone picks last to being chosen by someone, if just so he would shut up and keep making out with her, is perhaps the most interesting journey on this show.
The Musical Numbers
One of the reasons I compare Big Mouth to South Park is because there is such a love for music, for all occasions, with this show. Whether someone thinks they are gay, when life is messed up, or when you get your first period, there is a song to be sung. Granted, I can’t remember a single one after binging this season, but I do have fond memories.
Despite how openly weird Nick’s parents are, to the point his mom has to call out his dad, you have to admire that, despite how weird they were, they are a loving family. Just take the relationship between siblings. Leah, despite being a teen going on adult, doesn’t pretend Nick doesn’t exist or anything like that. She talks about him, in a positive way, he is on her Instagram account and is allowed to even go to her house party.
Then, with their elusive big brother Jud, though he is verbally mean his actions don’t coincide with his words. He buys alcohol for Leah’s party, is for his little brother getting fellatio, and shows love in his own special way. Just as long as you don’t go into his room.
Didn’t Take Advantage of Matthew
It was kind of unfortunate that we didn’t get any Maury and Matthew scenes in the whole season. Especially since Matthew is the sole queer character and with a good portion of queer puberty/ coming of age stories quite depressing, a jovial one would have been nice.
I should note though, in episode 3, Andrew questions his sexuality, but this doesn’t lead to much more than a parade of penises and a musical number.
On The Fence
The Ghosts in Nick’s Attic
Duke Ellington, Prince, Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston and more play the ghosts of Nick’s attic. Of which, honestly, their scenes are hit and miss. There are times they can be comical, like some of Duke’s jokes can be funny, but more often than not you kind of are left wishing the Hormone Monster got the time they did. If not maybe Matthew getting their time to show how the hormone monster affects gay kids and their urges.
It’s Sort of Uncomfortable
At this point, I’m 25 and I’m watching a show which has depictions of a teenager’s penis. That shows a young girl looking at her vagina and as much as I enjoy the show I got to admit some aspects of it creep me out. For as honest as it is, it also forces you to deal with this idea that what is normal and new for them you have long since sexualized. So as you see them come into their own, you have fight off how inappropriate for those of age to watch this, Big Mouth is.
Here is the thing with Coach Steve, he is a kind idiot. One who periodically does nice or noteworthy things, be it attempting to get Jessi tampons or taking Andrew and Nick home when stranded in New York. However, for the most part, like the ghosts in Nick’s attic, he is this unnatural part of the show which seemingly is supposed to be comical, but the jokes often fall flat.
But, with episode 7, he gets a friend. One we don’t see again after that episode, but it was nice for the basically desperation for companionship Steve to have someone. Also for us to be pushed into the idea that Steve isn’t really an idiot but maybe on the spectrum. Something that seemingly was never diagnosed so likely Coach Steve never got the education he needed to learn social cues and understand how society and people work outside of how he sees things.
Overall: Positive (Watch This) – Recommended
Admittedly, what Big Mouth benefits from the most isn’t that it touches on the subject matter of puberty with an almost cruel honesty, but more so because others don’t. Yet, there always has to be someone who helps financers become comfortable the idea of having children be vulgar, a la South Park, or that people will watch shows which feature kids as people with a multitude of problems, like the few Disney shows I cover on here.
Which is what Big Mouth is doing. In my mind, Big Mouth is opening a door so that puberty isn’t treated as just special episodes but shown as something that can both be taken seriously and as a joke. Something that can be explored with various nuances and not leave girls behind. And because it contains likely not the first iteration, but a rebirth of what animation can do and what stories can be told, hence the positive and recommended labels. For I feel hard pressed to really think of other shows which respect what young teens go through but doesn’t pretend they are all PG rated in conversation.
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: Yes
Big Mouth seems like it will be the few Netflix series, this year, to deserve a long lifespan on the network.
It’s a big day for Jessi. Nick has seemingly evolved into her boyfriend and then she meets the Hormone Monstress.
After Andrew’s sexual awakening comes the question of what does he want to have sex with? Alongside Jessi and Nick trying to devolve their relationship back to a friendship.
The boys and girls go to their respective sleepovers and while the boys avoid jizz, Jessi is just trying to avoid hurting people’s feelings.
After so much time spent on hearing the boys talk about porn and masturbation, it’s ladies night.
Two kids from Westchester head to the big city and learn what secrets are hidden within it. Meanwhile, Jay gets his pillow pregnant.
As Jay continues to be abused, Andrew and Missy confess their feelings for one another. Oh, and Coach Steve finally meets someone willing to be his friend.
Consent is a big focus this episode as we learn about someone known as “The Head Pusher.”
There doesn’t seem to really be a happy relationship around. Be it between kids and parents or lovers. But, at least people have their ghosts, friends, and their friend’s mom.
Hasn’t it all led to this? A masturbation addiction and a bunch of emotional boys doing foolish things to deal with their hormones?