Ah, puberty. The hormones, bodily changes and general feelings of awkwardness that come with being a teen are enough to make even post-pubescent adults squirm. Netflix’s Big Mouth takes viewers back to their most embarrassing years while tackling the challenges of puberty one raunchy, 30-minute episode at a time.
Big Mouth is an animated adult comedy featuring a group of teens going through puberty’s rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, family drama and self-doubt.
A healthy mix of male and female characters make up the show. Key players include: Nick (voiced by Nick Kroll), a late bloomer with an astounding amount of confidence thanks to his doting parents; Andrew (voiced by John Mulaney), a confidence-lacking boy with a bit of a masturbation problem; and Jessi (voiced by Jessi Klein), a self proclaimed smart feminist who acts out because of her parents’ arguments and eventual separation.
More minor characters, such as Jay (voiced by Jason Mantzoukas), a magician-obsessed boy with a sleazy divorce attorney father and apathetic mother, and spastic science nerd Missy (voiced by Jenny Slate), round out the cast while facing challenges of their own.
Season one sets the tone by shining a spotlight on the awkward firsts many of us face while growing up, including getting your first menstrual cycle, like Jessi does during a class field trip to the Statue of Liberty. Other cringe-worthy moments include first kisses with way too much tongue and saliva and Andrew’s introduction to internet porn.
Season two of Big Mouth dropped Oct. 5. The new episodes continue to build up the characters’ back stories and tackle new puberty-related challenges all teens – and adults – have to face while growing up.
Take Andrew’s encounters with the Shame Wizard, for example. The Shame Wizard (voiced by David Thewlis) is a ghost-like character whose sole purpose in life is to make people feel ashamed of their actions. In Andrew’s case, that means feeling shame for being caught masturbating in front of the swimsuit belonging to his best friend’s sister after his Hormone Monster (or puberty guide– also voiced by Nick Kroll) egged him on.
While that exact shame-inducing circumstance isn’t a universal human experience, all children become adults who feel ashamed for one reason or another. It’s just part of growing up. Big Mouth highlights the moments like this that change people fundamentally, for better or for worse.
Other characters, such as Missy, go through equally painful moments of adolescence. After a girl in her class develops breasts and captures the boys’ attention, Missy begins to struggle with the way her own body looks.
An evil version of herself, called “Mirror Missy,” tears down her self-confidence brick by brick, a common problem many young girls can relate to. With a little help from her mother, Missy regains her confidence and sees beauty in every body, no matter its size.
Big Mouths blunt, comedic, animated version of puberty is what makes the show a must-watch. In the real world, puberty is awkward. It’s embarrassing and it’s uncomfortable on so many levels.
The show’s characters and their struggles with body positivity, sexual awakenings and shameful feelings capture the real-life version of growing up and make it okay to relive those painful memories while recognizing that everyone else went through many of the same struggles as you.
Growing up is hard. While we might not get a Hormone Monster to guide us through on the journey to adulthood, Netflix has given us the next best thing. As an added bonus, it’s binge worthy, too. Dive into every awkward minute of it. You’ll come out feeling less alone.