So much focus in popular culture is given to the teenage years. Hardly surprising, it’s a period of everyone’s life that is rife with the new and confusing. But in modern times arguably the move into adolescence starts that little bit earlier.
Big Mouth’s characters are 12 years old. ‘Tweenagers’ on the cusp of puberty. Except in Big Mouth puberty isn’t just an internal process; large anthropomorphic personification ‘hormone monsters’ cajole the blooming boys and girls into new thoughts and behaviours.
What Is Big Mouth About?
Big Mouth is an adult animated comedy that gets very frank and freaky into the sexual awakenings and confusions of its cast.
It was created by real-life friends Andrew Goldberg and Nick Kroll from The League (review here). Big Mouth Season 2 carries on that very near the knuckle attitude.
We have Nick; a late bloomer who is worried his body is going to stay small forever (in more ways than one). His best friend Andrew, who has developed very early and spends quite a bit of time, er, taking care of himself.
Jessie, whose hormone monster drives her to scream at her mother and start shoplifting. Missy, a nerdy girl with a thing for Nathan Fillion which makes her get rather too close to a soft toy. And Jay, who is so full of “bro” sexual energy that pillows are his constant lovers.
The ‘anthropomorphic personification’ part is something Big Mouth really commits to. Pillows talk (and seduce), pubic hairs have personality, and the hormone monsters themselves vary from hair-trigger chest thumpers to decrepit old idiots, depending on their ‘human’.
Later in the series, this expands nicely with such appearances as the ‘Shame Wizard’ (voiced by David Thewlis) and a large engulfing pussy cat from the ‘depression wing’ who envelops Jessie in paralysing comfort.
For a show that is so coarse (think the gross-out teen cringe-fest The Inbetweeners, but even stronger) there is surprisingly effective depth in Big Mouth.
Puberty spurts, mental health, peer pressure, and self destructive tendencies are all covered with the appropriate amount of gravitas. Under the veil of comedy, serious themes are explored, and done well.
One episode covers all the services that Planned Parenthood offers using the medium of a variety of movie styles (Horror! Sci-Fi! 90s comedy!) with effective and genre stylised panache. When Nick and Jessie try edible marijuana the resulting giggles versus paranoia freakout is balanced and deceptively realistic.
Jessie’s descent into delinquency is fuelled by her roaring hormone monster egging her on but also her parents’ strained separation.
Big Mouth Official Trailer
Is Big Mouth Worth Watching?
Usually, such shows are painfully male gaze (again, I’m looking at you, Inbetweeners) but Big Mouth is carefully and successfully even-handed, even when dealing with extreme perversions.
Most episodes have a song and dance number which range from female body positivity, masturbation, and crippling shame. None of these themes are covered cheaply, which is a big strength of the show. The second series has an overall plot line about social pressure by introducing the characters of Gina and the Shame Wizard.
Gina is a friendly and beautiful girl who, over the summer, has suddenly developed an ample bust. This leads to the obvious attention from the boys (“Boobs! Boobs!” etc), but also jealousy from the girls to the point where ‘slut shaming’ is a major theme of later episodes.
The Shame Wizard, conversely, appears to each student to be the crippling monkey on the shoulder. He whispers affirmation of their fears, he humiliates them for their failures, and he delights in their embarrassment: all in the name of protecting them from themselves.
But, dear reader, I need you to ask me a question. A question about this comedic show. And the question I want you to ask me is this: “did you, at any point, laugh?” No, I did not. At all. Not once.
Big Mouth Season 2 is so utterly thrilled with covering sex and puberty ‘warts and all’ that it paints with a very wide body fluid brush. The gags come thick and fast (*ahem*) but the central joke is always “hahaha isn’t this disgusting?!”
I’m no prude by any means and have guffawed at many a dirty joke in other shows, but Big Mouth is just relentless to the point of desensitisation. There’s no humour in shock value when it is the default setting. Humour is notoriously subjective and although Big Mouth didn’t get any more than a few nose snorts out of me this doesn’t mean that it won’t tickle your fancy.
And whilst I never actually found it funny I still found plenty to like to the point where, at the point of writing, I’m actually half-way through the first series.
This is due to, oddly enough, how maturely it actually covers most subjects. Big Mouth takes the most confusing part of your life and exposes itself for all to see…….pun fully intended.
Words by Michael Record
How Many Seasons Of Big Mouth?
For now we know that there will be EIGHT seasons of Big Mouth on Netflix.
The first season, consisting of ten episodes, premiered in 2017, and the second season was released in October 2018.
There was a Valentine's Day special episode on February 8, 2019, and that was followed by the rest of the third season in October 2019.
The fourth season was released in December 4, 2020, and the fifth was released in November 5, 2021.
The sixth season premiered in October 2022 and by that stage the seventh was already on order. We should see new episodes in October 2023, after which the eighth and final season will air in 2024.
That makes Big Mouth Netflix's longest running original scripted series ever produced.
Who Voices The Characters In Big Mouth?
With six seasons already out and another two still to come, the list of characters in Big Mouth is extensive so I've stuck to the main characters from season 1…
Nick Birch (voiced by Nick Kroll) – Nick is one of the main protagonists, an awkward and sensitive 7th grader navigating the challenges of puberty.
Kroll also voices Maurice the Hormone Monster, Coach Steve, Lola Ugfuglio Skumpy, Rick the Hormone Monster, as well as about 15 other characters.
Andrew Glouberman (voiced by John Mulaney) – Andrew is Nick's best friend who struggles with his own pubescent changes and has a mischievous side.
Jessi Glaser (voiced by Jessi Klein) – Jessi is a new student who quickly becomes friends with Nick and Andrew. She is smart, outspoken, and deals with her own insecurities.
Jay Bilzerian (voiced by Jason Mantzoukas) – Jay is a hypersexual and uninhibited classmate of Nick and Andrew. He often shares inappropriate stories and has a penchant for outrageous behavior.
Missy Foreman-Greenwald (voiced by Jenny Slate) – Missy is another close friend of Nick and Andrew. She is intelligent, shy, and struggles with her own identity and self-confidence.
In addition to the main characters, there are recurring characters and various Hormone Monsters who play significant roles in the series. These include Maurice the Hormone Monster (voiced by Nick Kroll), Connie the Hormone Monstress (voiced by Maya Rudolph), and several other colorful characters that represent the inner struggles and desires of the main cast.
Where Does Big Mouth Take Place?
Big Mouth takes place in the fictional town of Bridgeton. While the exact location of Bridgeton is not specified in the series, it is depicted as a typical suburban town in the United States.
The setting primarily revolves around the middle school attended by the main characters, their homes, and various locations within the town where they navigate the challenges of puberty and adolescence.
The specific state or region where Bridgeton is located is not explicitly mentioned in the show.