TV Review: ‘Big Mouth’ Marries Crude Humor With Important Lessons

I wish I had a show like “Big Mouth” as a teenager. No, this is not just because I’m sure I would’ve laughed just as hard as the crude humor throughout. Much like Season One of the Netflix animated show, Season Two takes a honest, thoughtful look at puberty. Further into their development, “Big Mouth” sees its kids becoming aware not only of their sexuality, but also of the sexuality of others. The show tackles topics around sexuality, slut shaming and depression. Even more radical, this show teaches that one shouldn’t use their own sexual journey to excuse their bad actions.

Young Nick (Nick Kroll) laments that he still hasn’t reached puberty yet. This complicates matters as he falls for a girl in his class, Gina (Gina Rodriguez), who has developed early. While Nick hasn’t hit puberty, Andrew (John Mulaney) certainly has. In fact, with the “help” of his hormone monster, Maurice (Nick Kroll), he can’t keep his hands off him. The same could be said of Missy (Jenny Slate), who learns to embrace the newfound body positivity she found at a Korean spa. While the hormones rage within the rest of these preteens, Jessi (Jessi Klein) struggles with her parent’s divorce. This causes a string of bad behavior and a looming potential for depression.

The voice acting in “Big Mouth” remains impeccable. Nick Kroll headlines the show brilliantly in multiple roles. As Nick Birch, the central character dealing with a delayed puberty, Kroll voices a really sweet protagonist. However, his work as both Maurice and Rick the Hormone Monsters rises above the rest. Maurice swaggers into each scene with great joie de vivre. Meanwhile, Rick exists as a grotesquely fun joke. However, when talking about the Hormone Monster characters, one must mention Maya Rudolph as Connie the female Hormone Monster. Rudolph gives the best vocal performance of the cast. She bulldozes through every line with a comic fury. It’s a masterful comedic tour de force.

“Big Mouth” broadens its reach in many different ways in season two. The results are mostly positive throughout. On one hand, the show gets a chance to deal with a wider range of topics, particularly with more side characters. The deep voiced MAGA girl Lola (Nick Kroll) gets her own potential romance that addresses how men treat women. Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) continues his sexual exploration, making his way from pillows to couch cushions. Trust me, in practice this storyline is more insightful than it seems. What’s even stronger is how the show extends its reach into the world of the hormone monsters. This expansive world building takes the show to the next level. The only misstep comes in the form of Coach Steve (Nick Kroll), a man-child virgin who finds his first chance at love. He offers comedic relief, but often dulls the sharper conversation the show is having.

Episode to episode, “Big Mouth” continues to play with structure in new and interesting ways. Midway through the season, one episode deals solely with setting the record straight on all Planned Parenthood myths. It’s bold and important storytelling. Most of all, it’s funny. It riffs on pop culture to dispense knowledge we desperately need.

What “Big Mouth” gets right, between the crass jokes, is that the things kids learn during puberty follow them throughout their lives. By introducing the Shame Lizard (David Thewlis), the show introduces how shame from childhood infects our lives. Body issues, struggles with sexuality and shame around sexual urges stunt us and our relationships. “Big Mouth” doesn’t just advocate for a world without shame. A “Sausage Party” like orgy demonstrates the unsustainable nature of that. However, it urges us to be honest about our feelings and take pride in our journey as sexual beings. Teenagers are lucky to have a show like “Big Mouth” right now.

“Big Mouth” Season Two is currently available on Netflix.

GRADE: (★★★★)

What did you think of “Big Mouth”? Please let us know in the comments below.

What do you think?

AC Fan

Written by Christopher James

Christopher James has been an Oscar obsessive ever since watching his first ceremony at age 5 when "Titanic" won Best Picture. He is a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University with degrees in Screenwriting for Film and Television and Marketing. Christopher currently works in media strategy and planning at Liquid Advertising, based out of Los Angeles, CA. You can find Christopher running on the sunny beach, brunching at trendy restaurants or mostly just sitting in a dark room watching movies and TV in sweatpants. Follow me on Twitter @cwj92movieman


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