At a glance, you may not want to watch Netflix’s newest animated show ‘Big Mouth’. The animation seems weird, everyone’s mouth is…well…really big, and the premise of watching a bunch of middle schoolers figure out their bodies and personal lives doesn’t really seem all that exciting. Then you see its TV-MA. Then you see the all-star voice cast of Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, and Jordan Peele. Then you’re watching. Expect the fourth wall to be broken and your mouth to be wide open because this show is not shy about its content and comes right at you with insults, inappropriateness, and a bunch of real-life scenarios that’ll make you sit back and reminisce on how you were in middle school trying to figure it all out…spoiler alert, it’s hard.
‘Big Mouth’ focuses on a group of middle schooler’s with the primary attention being placed on the lives of Nick Birch (Nick Kroll), his best friend Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney), their friend Jessi Glaser, and Andrew’s love-interest Missy (Jenny Slate) as they struggle with puberty and understanding life around them. Big Mouth touches on a variety of subjects from feminism and homosexuality, to first-time periods and penis size but what immediately hooks you though is the vulgarity and sheer hilariousness that comes along with these experiences. The most important example of this is another constant character in the show, Andrew’s ‘Hormone Monster’ (also Nick Kroll, the man is just funny). The ‘Hormone Monster’ and eventual ‘Hormone Monstress’ that enters the show as an alternative for the girls, both provide over-the-top commentary and advice on the situations these kids encounter, and they are hysterically vulgar throughout.
It’s that vulgar nature that makes ‘Big Mouth’ such a gem too watch. When South Park first aired, it was weird seeing these kids curse and act out in ways that would seem ridiculous in real life. They were buttholes to each other, and no one really knew the answers to anything as they traversed through life trying to figure it all out while all sorts of wacky situations took place around them. Big Mouth is similar in that the focus is placed heavily on the kids, only their a little older. The show wants you to understand that for a middle schooler, life can be really hard, and figuring out yourself can be a lot harder. For example, there is an episode in which Jessi gets her first period, and she has on white shorts…in the mall. I was watching it with a female friend of mine and she could not stop laughing because of how accurately she said the show depicts how awkward and uncomfortable that must be for not only her, but how the other boys react as well. The relationship between parents and how it affects their families are explored as well, bringing another funny, yet also dark aspect to the kids’ story .The beauty in ‘Big Mouth’ is that it can go from discussing something as real as having your first period, to exploring characters like their friend Jay Bilzerian (Jason Mantzoukas) and how he impregnates a talking pillow that he masturbates with in seamless form.
Being TV-MA and on Netflix gives the show plenty of room to work with, but also can take it too far at times. For a show discussing middle-schooler’s bodies, it can be a thin line to walk in terms of what is appropriate, and without giving away spoilers, I feel that sometimes it crosses that line. However, the show doesn’t do so in a way that is so off-putting you stop watching, and is able to bounce back from these moments almost instantly with a quick joke or just changing the subject altogether. The animation will still throw some people off too, but it never takes away from the quality of the content, and I actually don’t mind the look of the characters. Only being 10 episodes isn’t exactly great either, but I’m sure Netflix will see the potential in this show and I’m hoping that viewers will see it too and keep supporting. With a cast of fun, wacky characters and a bunch of well-written musical numbers, if you love adult animation and aren’t the easily offended, then Big Mouth is definitely the show for you. They’re going through changes man.