The Big Deal About Big Mouth
Do you remember in late elementary school when they separated the boys and girls during gym class as told us all about how our bodies were about to change? Do you remember the fear, humiliation and spine-tingling horror that washed over us all when we were about to go for a swim in the shark-infested waters known as hormones? It's hard to know how to feel about the new Netflix original series Big Mouth, a cartoon that brutally (and comically) explores the mine field that is puberty, but I will tell you that the program captures every ounce of mind-numbing embarrassment that accompanies the honor.
Big Mouth comes from the creative and demented minds of Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. It follows a series of adolescents on the brink of pubescence and no humiliating stones goes unturned. Nick is a goofy kid whose body isn't changing as fast as his friends, particularly his best buddy Andrew who he accidentally sees nude and realizes has a much larger penis and pubic hair. Nick seeks his sex advice from the ghost of Duke Ellington (yes, that Duke Ellington) who lives in his attic and offers all kinds of inappropriateness when guiding the confused boy. Andrew, on the other hand, suffers from uncontrollable erections, wet dreams and the inconveniently ever-present Maurice the Hormone Monster, a hyper-sexual beast who takes over at the worst moments. Standing close to a girl? Maurice makes sure you have a boner. Masturbating and thinking about a guy instead of a girl? Maurice takes note.
It's not just the boys who are dealing with puberty. Nick and Andrew have a friend named Jessie who gets her first period while wearing white shorts on a school field trip to the Statue of Liberty (you see where this is going). When an accident happens, there is no toilet paper in the bathroom stalls and she has no feminine products on hand. A mortified Andrew is dragged into the drama, forced to buy something at the Statue of Liberty gift shop to help cover her bloodied shorts (what he buys, I’ll leave for you to find out). Just remember, there is blissfully no sanctity on this show, so if you are easily offended, try watching something else.
Big Mouth is quite funny, even as it makes you squirm at your own discomfort over your own humanity. Even though it is entirely inappropriate, twisted, and unyielding (you'll find no blue-colored liquid representing menstruation here), it is also touchingly honest. It makes you feel sorry for these kids, and I think any show that can make adolescent journeys sympathetic, is beating with a heart that may be easily missed amidst its content. If you have an open mind and aren't afraid to revisit the roughest moments of your life, Big Mouth might just be up your alley.