Big Mouth shows us the Dark Side of Growing Up

November 2, 2018

Oh, puberty. Pubic hair. Periods. Masturbation. Boobs. Sexuality crises. Tell me again how middle school kids are meant to deal with one, if not all, of these issues given America’s dire sexual education?

The answer is Big Mouth—an adult animated sitcom that delves into the lives of a bunch of horny adolescents trying to make their way through school, family, and relationships. Sounds trivial, I know. Like, of course the show is riddled with dick jokes. Yes, some guy bangs a pillow, and, yes, the pillow births a baby pillow (Season 1 is pretty weird). But, something that may intrigue Georgetown students is the minds behind Big Mouth originate from our very own Hilltop.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Hoya ball-saxa. Nick Kroll (of The League, Sausage Party (2016)), one of the show’s writers and the voice of numerous recurring characters in the show, studied History at Georgetown. John Mulaney, who voices Andrew on the show, is another Georgetown alumnus, and his parents attended Georgetown the same year as Bill Clinton. Maybe they were inspired by antics at the Tombs or something, I don’t know.

If the Georgetown origins aren’t enough to sell the show, let me just say that Big Mouth’s newest season is a work of art. Andrew and Mauricehis Hormone Monster (brilliantly voiced by Nick Kroll)continue down a path of mortifying antics, encouraged by Andrew’s encounter with Leah (Kat Dennings), his friend Nick’s (Nick Kroll) sister (hint, it’s got to do with his dick and her swimsuit). Nick battles with the constant concern that his hormones are messed up and that there is “something wrong” with him. Jessi (Jessi Klein) deals with the aftermath of her parent’s divorce. We even discover that Coach Steve (Nick Kroll, once again), the incompetent, talkative middle school gym teacher, is a virgin.

A lot happens in Big Mouth and I have to commend the show for intertwining mature themes with filthy animation. Maurice unleashes his four disembodied furry penises at random intervals—each with their own different personality. Missy (Jenny Slate) grinds against the doll she’s had since infancy. Coach Steve goes from sexualising his coach whistle, to making “thick in the warm” (ugh). Yet, in the midst of all of this vulgarity, Missy faces her inner demons after coming to realize that her body is beautiful and worthy of love. The episode “Guy Town” ends with Andrew, the flamboyant gossiper deliciously voiced by Andrew Scott Rannells, preaching that sometimes “being a man means putting the people you love first.” The show revels in the carnivalesque, but never forgets to remain emotionally resonant.

Unlike Season 1, which was a bit all over the place, Season 2’s structure is kept in check by the Shame Wizard, a Snape-esque ghoul that literalizes the kids’ sense of self-doubt and guilt. He continuously hits the characters in their most vulnerable spot, whether it be calling Missy a “horny spaz” or Nick a “little dick boy.” Big Mouth gives voice to all the insecurities we had during the muddy years of middle school, unabashedly showing the fear that we too felt when we our bodies change in ways beyond our control. The Shame Wizard pushes the idea that all the characters are “alone and terrible”—a surprisingly deep, gut-punching theme for what seems like such a ridiculous show.

The season also becomes increasingly experimental. “The Planned Parenthood Show” features a series of skits through the worlds of STDs, Planned Parenthood, and contraceptives. Condoms and IUDs face each other off in a Bachelor spoof. The final episode opens up the Big Mouth universe and takes us to the Department of Puberty, where we get to see Maurice and Connie (Maya Rudolph) in their workplaces, along with other eclectic characters. Weird? Sure. Effective? Absolutely.

At the end of the day, Big Mouth is a show that is brave. It breaks more taboos than I can count. It strips you of your clothes, then makes you look in the mirror so you can count every weird pubic hair, freckle, and pimple. It is outrageously funny and surprisingly sad. Big Mouth is a necessity. If not for the sharp voice performances and agonizing depiction of preteen misery, then for Maurice and his disembodied furry dicks.

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