Season two of Netflix’s animated original series Big Mouth makes the watcher feel uncomfortable in the most cringey, blood-curdling way possible — but in a good way.
Produced by Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, Big Mouth follows a group of sixth graders as they struggle through the different challenges puberty brings. It explores familiar adolescent topics, like how to talk to your crush, the struggle and confusion of being horny all the time, and the magical horror of your first kiss.
The show introduces all of these challenges through absurd creatures called the hormone monsters. Hormone monsters are the physical embodiment of puberty and a driving force for all of our characters’ disgusting actions — kind of like fairy godmothers, but much more awful. Whenever a character has a dirty thought, yells at a parent or does something generally disgusting and hormone-fueled, it is most likely because one of these monsters was yelling at them to do it. This season also introduced several new creatures, including the Shame Monster, that haunts the kids exactly how you would expect.
There are a number of reasons why Big Mouth is a great show, the first being that it is hysterical. Its dialogue is quick, witty and very bizarre.
When I rewatched parts of the season with a friend, I found myself laughing at entirely new things I hadn’t noticed before. The jokes and pacing are rapid fire, so it is not uncommon to find yourself missing a joke because you’re too busy laughing at the one you just heard.
Big Mouth is so clever because it makes like Star Trek and goes “where no man has gone before”. Because it is not on cable, the series has the ability to say and show whatever it wants. This includes a range of things, from presenting a locker room of human-sized penises in a cutaway to a musical number about body positivity where the camera leaves nothing to the imagination.
But what makes the show so compelling is that it is surprisingly, even uncomfortably, relatable. The creators know that its audience has likely gone through versions of what the characters on screen are going through. It brings to life and makes beautiful the period in time where we felt uncomfortable in our own skin when our bodies didn’t really feel like our own.
This season even goes deeper than puberty pain. One subplot follows one of the character’s parents going through a divorce, not only because their marriage isn’t in a good place but because the character’s mother turns out to be gay. Another episode goes over all the services Planned Parenthood provides.
To say Big Mouth is perfect would be grossly inaccurate. I cannot stress enough that it is not for everyone. Many of the reasons I praised the show are also the things that work against it. Where some may consider its crudeness to be a force for humor, others are downright disgusted by it, and fairly so.
When talking to a friend who did not like the show, they pointed out that the reason I found some things funny was simply that they were shocking and that I may be laughing out of shock value, a point that is hard to argue with. Furthermore, some of the visuals in Big Mouth are exceptionally crude and something I struggled with despite the enjoyment I received from the show. Sometimes seeing an underage boy’s penis, animated or not, makes you feel uncomfortable.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed Big Mouth. If you can push past all the penis, vagina and masturbation jokes, you will find a show that will entertain you for hours and leave you wanting more.
Contact CU Independent Arts Writer Sam Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org.