By Kate Llewellyn, Fourth Year Liberal Arts
Poignant and perverse, raunchy and ridiculous, clever and crude – there are many paradoxical combinations of words to describe the second season of Netflix’s Big Mouth.
YouTube / Netflix
The show’s creators, Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, achieved incredible success with Season One, showing us how an animated show can cover puberty, cum jokes and critiques of American politics and be completely hilarious within the same format.
The show is like a grown-up, raunchy version of Pixar’s Inside Out (2015), with the personification of these young teens’ raging hormones, voiced by Nick Kroll and Maya Rudolph, acting as their own personal hormone monsters. This initial set-up carried most of Season One, but for the second season, the writers have had to introduce some more characters to keep the show developing - pun intended.
Enter the ‘Shame Monster’: a creepy, floating, Voldemort-like apparition with an English accent who arrives to haunt the young teens and fill them with self-hatred and regret for giving into their urges.
CONFIRMED for #BigMouth Season 2:— Big Mouth (@bigmouth) May 22, 2018
⁰"The Shame Wizard", voiced by David Thewlis 🧙♂️
He’s the Hormone Monster’s mortal enemy, feeding the kids’ deepest shames and working hard to damage their self esteem… pic.twitter.com/Gx6KI5BtBb
Twitter / @bigmouth
At first, it seems obvious that the Shame Monster is just an evil, one-dimensional bully, but as he says himself: ‘whether people know it or not, people need shame.’ It’s what stops them constantly giving into their primal urges and preventing society from falling into total chaos, as is demonstrated when the Shame Monster himself is temporarily distracted by his new ‘best friend’ Coach Steve (Nick Kroll). I can’t even explain this part; you just have to watch it for yourself.
What saves the show from becoming too perverse and ridiculous is that under all the crude humour and dick jokes, of which there are many - I honestly had to turn down the volume at points so my housemates wouldn’t think I was watching porn in the living room - the show has real depth and conveys many important messages. By exploring the excruciating awkwardness of puberty, it breaks the isolating taboos that can make people feel strange, weird and alone.
Big Mouth season 2 really snapped from talking about body positivity, planned parenthood, depression, divorce, sexuality, and literally everything in between it’s such a good show that actually teaches kids about sex education that is much needed in schools— anpanman deserves an MV (@UniversalyBlack) October 8, 2018
Twitter / @UniversalyBlack
Boys and girls alike are shown discovering their sexual urges and masturbation. Sympathy is given to the popular kids as well as the ‘losers’. The family dynamics of each character are presented and explored, from Jessi, who believes she is at fault for her parents’ divorce, to Nick, with parents that are so cringingly attentive it is at points difficult to watch, to Jay, whose backstory is dark and tragic in ways only a cartoon can really get away with.
That’s the other thing about this show: because it is animated, they can cross almost every line you could imagine. There’s a whole episode dedicated to female body image, where Missy’s mother takes them to a Japanese-style spa full of naked women, setting the scene for a naked lady musical number which shows just about everything.
lowkey the body positivity song in big mouth is v uplifting— Hamburger Lady (@littlexdulcette) October 6, 2018
Twitter / @littlexdulcette
I must admit, at first I was not as sold on the second season as I was on the first. Perhaps this is because once the premise of the show had been set, it was hard for the writers to add something new that really has the same impact as the initial idea. However, as the season progressed, the plot improved, and on reflection, there are so many good lines and jokes and points the show makes, which just cannot be done in any other format, it’s almost worth sitting through the squeamishly gross parts again.
Whether it talks about feminism, masculinity or how we can all come to terms with our own “Shame Monster”, Big Mouth proves that it isn’t just a show that garners its popularity from being controversial and crude, but by showing its big heart too.
Big Mouth Season 2 is available now on Netflix.
Featured Image: Indiewire / Big Mouth
Will you be taking a trip down memory lane with Big Mouth Season 2?