Arts & Life, Film & Television

Netflix’s ‘Big Mouth’ is more than its lewd exterior

The animated Netflix Original Series “Big Mouth” returned for its second season, still as vulgar and comedic, but with an extra heaping of self-awareness and introspection.

Created by Jennifer Flackett, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and comedian Nick Kroll, the show gives an intrusive look into the lives of a cast of young teens that leaves the audience wishing they knew a little less about them.

The second season stays true to the formula of the first in that it keeps a steady pace of the authenticity. The characters strive to maintain a level head while puberty is in its purest form, as well as offering outlandish and cringe-worthy comedy.

However, what separates season two from its predecessor is the more mature subject matter. The show dives into topics including the objectification of the female-body, slut-shaming and body insecurities between both boys and girls.

Eighth-graders Nick (Kroll), Andrew (John Mulaney), Jessi (Jessi Klein), Missy (Jenny Slate) and Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) are more developed in this season of Big Mouth as they tackle the intricacies that is growing up.  

In the season’s opener, “Am I Normal” the audience gets a first-hand look into the complications of being a late bloomer. The episode mainly focuses on Nick’s self-doubt on whether or not he is developing at the rate that he sees his classmates and friends are. In the same vein, Andrew is struggling to come to terms with a body he, and everyone else around him, feels is much too mature.

After being referred to as “big man” and “animal” by his father and Maurice, his Hormone Monster (manifested by a gravel-voiced Kroll) Andrew has enough of the scrutiny he is getting for his size.

“I am not an animal. I am a flesh and blood child with feelings, sir,” Andrew said during a basketball game. While this line is followed by a hilarious attempt at attacking his father, his words ring true. There is an immense amount of pressure teenagers to fit a specific box and it’s not always spoken about.

Self-image is touched on again in the second episode titled, “What Is It About Boobs” in which the audience is transported back to middle school gym locker rooms. Missy finds herself faced with a personified, pessimistic and negative reflection that makes her feel bad for a lack of womanly-curves. The reflection convinces Missy to become recluse and wear an oversized hoodie to hide herself from everyone, including her own mirror image. A visit to the Korean spa ended in everyone naked as well as an impromptu musical number led by Connie, the Hormone Monstress (voiced by “Saturday Night Live” alum Maya Rudolph) about accepting your body for all of its flaws including but certainly not limited to stretch marks and even whether your belly button is an innie or outie. Missy finds the confidence to flaunt her naked body to the dismay of those around her.

One of the most compelling antagonists of the season is the Shame Wizard (voiced by David Thewlis) a sinister entity that appears when a catastrophically shameful event happens in one of the kids’ lives. The concept of having a human representation of the feeling of shame is both genius and hilarious when it’s played out on the screen causing terror in the children.

“Whether they know it or not, people need shame,” the Shame Wizard said. “It protects them from the sickening filth infesters within their humiliating inadequacies, self destructive proclivities, stupid magic tricks, their fundamental otherness.”

Underneath the raunchy antics of the show is a well thought out storyline and highly developed characters that leaves us wanting to follow them on their journey to young adulthood.

While the ending of season 2 left much to be imagined, we can only hope that the future of “Big Mouth” brings us even more embarrassingly good buffoonery from our favorite big mouthed characters.

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