Big Mouth is one of those shows that you simply cannot be on the fence about. You’re either going to love it for being a relatable, gross, and disturbing comedy about puberty and sexual awakening, or you’re going to hate it for being a gross and disturbing comedy about puberty and sexual awakening.
I’ve heard both sides of the fight… some love the frank talk about subject matter that just about every other series shies away from while others thinks that the show crosses too many lines and has an off-putting animation style.
Honestly, I understand both sides of the argument, but then again, I also love this show. I enjoy the frank honesty, I enjoy the real ways that the characters are written, and the comedy strikes me as funny and, yes… disgusting, but still funny. This is basically what Bordertown would have been if Bordertown wasn’t so stupid.
This season of Big Mouth continues the tradition of gross sexual awakenings, character and relationship development, and all important wiener jokes. I guess the revelation that I had this season that surprised me the most was the realization of how much evolution these characters have been through… it’s something that you usually don’t see in comedies.
Picking up where the Valentine’s Day episode, “My Furry Valentine” leaves off, the first episode, “Girls Are Angry Too” is a very clever episode where the girls of the junior high fight back against a sexist dress code that only dictates what the girls can wear while leaving the boys, who are the ones being toxic and disgusting, alone. It works because it is a satirical mirror on a societal contradiction… women are expected to dress and act in a certain manner so that they don’t tempt the boys who, in all honesty, should be taught to be respectful in the first place. Seeing Missy, of all people, call the girls out on their own hypocrisy for ostracizing her for her choice not to dress “slutty” to protest the dress code was a great moment and, even after Missy becomes the hero of the episode, seeing her still embittered by the treatment she received was a wonderful ending and really set the stage for the theme of friends growing apart.
“Cellsea” is another great episode that focuses on Matt, the only out gay student at school, trying to work up the courage to talk to his crush. I really like Matt, I like the way he’s written, and after his part in the Valentines Day episode, it’s nice to see that he has a bigger role in the show. The episode also focuses on Nick’s addiction to a hand-me-down cell phone he gets form his sister while Andrew officially unplugs… signifying a growing rift between the two friends.
“Obsessed” continues the story of Nick and his cell phone and his growing tech addiction which is a theme that, frankly, I’m sure that many of us can relate to. Giving the phone a face and a temptress personality was a stroke of genius and the seemingly cliched sit-com plot of putting something on the net that violates someone else’s privacy goes in a completely different direction when Nick’s mom puts her foot down. Honestly, Nick is a pretty terrible person this season.
I also enjoyed the B plot where Jay and Missy collaborate on an erotic fanfic. I enjoyed their chemistry and it was nice to see Jay have a relationship with someone that was based on mutual interests instead of being reduced to innuendo and sleaze.
“Florida” is an episode that continues to show how Nick and Andrew are drifting apart as friends as Nick accompanies Andrew to Florida. Andrew enjoys seeing Nick miserable, but then gets into an incestuous relationship with his own cousin (I told you this show was gross). The decision made by Andrew’s dad to cut their toxic extended family out of his life is wonderful foreshadowing.
I’m not going to say the name of the next episode, so look it up. Jessie tries to find a way to love herself (if you know what I mean) and Andrew tries to send his first… intimate picture (if you also know what I mean). It’s funny, surreal, gross… pretty much everything you expect from this show.
“Duke” is the most unique episode of the season as the Ghost of Duke Ellington tells the boys how he lost his virginity in 1913. Seeing the retro credits, a different time period, and even a 1913 version of Maury, the Hormone Monster, was hilarious and the cut in scenes set in the present where the boys, who can’t shut up and don’t know anything, keep interrupting the story with their own incorrect thoughts on jazz, racism, and other things is hilarious as is Duke’s uncharacteristic thin patience with them as a result.
“Rankings” is another great episode where the boys make up lists of the hottest girls in school prompting the girls to make lists of their own. It was topical, it was enraging, and it was rife for parody. The ridiculousness of the child wedding between DeVon and Devin only added to the surrealism, but to be honest, the star of this episode is Jay and his story is more tragic than others as the arrival of a proudly pansexual girl at the school gives him the courage to come out as bisexual, only to have his friends believe he’s only looking for attention. The poor kid just couldn’t catch a break.
The next episode, about the kids taking the Academic Skills Survey (love that acronym, by the way) was special to me as I am a school teacher by trade and despise state standardized testing with a passion. Granted, the episode didn’t spend very much time lampooning standardized testing, choosing instead to focus on Jay and his scheme to sell his aderall for money. Seeing the kids react to the medication was funny and the rift between Andrew and Nick grows larger.
“Disclosure: The Movie: The Musical” was a tangled web of plots, but managed to keep them all connected without any of them falling to the wayside. Strangely, the side-plot with Lola and Mr. Lizer actually made me angry, not because it was bad, but because it depicted an inappropriate relationship between a student and teacher with the student as the victim, the teacher as the perpetrator, and didn’t play it off for laughs. Moreover, making Lola, one of the more crude and annoying characters, the victim of Mr. Lizer was a stroke of genius. There was no shade of gray, Big Mouth took the stand that this was wrong and went with it to the point that Lizer was finally fired and, given his complete d-baggedness this season, good riddance.
A story with more shades of gray was the subplot where Nick and Missy kiss. Andrew gets angry as he still considers Missy his even though she’s dating someone else, but even Missy doesn’t have a leg to stand on as she’s cheating on her boyfriend to go out with Nick. Nick, meanwhile, is still being a horrible person and doesn’t want to go out with Missy in the first place because he thinks she’s a dork.
As far as love triangles go, this is a doozy.
The final episode of the season is “Super Mouth” and serves as a fantastical story of students getting superpowers, but also brings many situations to a head. Nick and Andrew have it out and, by the end of the episode, don’t seem to be friends anymore, culminating in a story where they forgive each other, but Andrew goes on to accept that Nick is a selfish person who has been a terrible friend to him and decides that they shouldn’t be friends anymore.
Strangely, the way that this scene is written and performed by the voice actors makes it one of the strongest scenes in the series. I can relate too as I have had this realization that someone who I once considered by best friend was irredeemably toxic and I walked away in a similar fashion… no anger, just acceptance.
Big Mouth may catch some flack and, honestly, probably deserves to as it not only crosses the line several times, but does amazingly choreographed gymnastic routines over it. Personally, though, I enjoy it and this season was just as enjoyable as the ones that came before.
I would have liked to have seen a little more of the Monster World as Maurice and Connie appear to have been pushed to the side as commentators and comic relief, but that’s really my only real criticism.
Every episode was funny, every episode was entertaining… that’s really the best praise for a series about puberty and hormones.