One of the best parts of award season is when a category is wide open. An even playing field leads to weeks of speculation and fun surprises come awards night. In the case for the Emmys, an open category can lead to a new show taking home gold. This is the case for the Outstanding Animated Program category at the 2019 Emmys. With last year’s winner “Rick and Morty” not releasing new episodes, they won’t be defending their title. And with one episode submitted to represent the entire season, any of the nominees could take home the gold.
The safe call would be to predict one of the previous winners like “Bob’s Burgers” or “The Simpsons.” Though proven winners, the members of the television academy did go for fresh blood last year. So, the academy could go with the ‘long overdue’ narrative that surrounds both “Adventure Time” and “BoJack Horseman.” While both received their first nominations in the category, last year’s win was also a sign that the show had the best momentum in terms of cultural relevance. Out of all the nominees, the series that might have all the makings of a winner might just be the raunchy yet vital “Big Mouth.“
Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg‘s show was a surprise hit when it debuted on Netflix in 2017. “Big Mouth” tackled adolescents struggling through puberty with an all star voice cast that includes Kroll, John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, Jordan Peele and many more. As the first season went on, each episode topped itself with dirty humor and impressive voice acting. Expectations were high for season 2, and, thankfully, the second season delivered.
In his season 2 review, our own Alan French discussed how “Big Mouth” feels like a special ‘endurance test;’ the show can feel ‘vile’ and go far to push the audience’s buttons. Even with all the flagrant humor, “Big Mouth” is able to connect with ’emotionally heavy payoffs.’ Especially leaving room to discuss important issues of sex education. All of these elements come together in the episode “The Planned Parenthood Show,” the episode “Big Mouth” submitted for it’s nomination.
The episode takes the gang on an exploration at the myths that plague the women’s health organization. It also explores the multiple options that women and men must have to avoid pregnancy. There is also a eye opening sequence about having a happy life after having an abortion. “The Planned Parenthood Show” covers sensitive subject matter with such empathy and realism. It’s an episode that stands out among the other nominees.
It’s not difficult to see a path for “Big Mouth” pulling out the Emmy win. Considering the talented writing of the submitted episode, as well as the stellar cast voicing these characters, “The Planned Parenthood Show” is easily the best episode nominated. It would be foolish to think “Big Mouth” doesn’t have a shot. Even if the raunchy humor is too much for voters, we have to remember that it wasn’t too much for them when they gave “South Park” and “Rick and Morty” wins in the past. While the other nominees might have won before, or have a narrative to win, if we are going on just the work itself, the winner should “Big Mouth” by a wide margin. It’s not even close.