Big Mouth is the new animated series on Netflix which shoves the horror and drama of puberty in your face, in the most embarrassing, disrespectful and truthful way imaginable.
The main characters are 5 adolescent boys facing the turbulence of pubescence, (dis)oriented by extremely intrusive or elusive parents, unreliable classmates and fictional shameless ‘Hormone Monsters’ that appear as puberty starts.
Big Mouth brings out the tumultuous, disgusting, humiliating side of growing up process without any fear of addressing the issues around sexual exploration, by dismantling taboos and prejudice and revealing unspeakable truths.
Nick, Andrew and their friends exude buckets of curiosity, insecurity, fear, despondency and embarrassment at the time of every first time: the first period, the first kiss, the first pubic hair, the first uncontrolled ejaculation.
In opposition to the boldness characterising the Hormone Monster & Monstress, Maurice & Connie, that only respond to instincts, urges and visceral desires pursuing sexual pleasure no matter what.
The perspective is that of an adult who already went through that problematic and apparently impossible life stage and now is ready to laugh it off. Someone who doesn’t use filters of any kind and fills the dialogue with vulgarity and poor taste.
Everything is seasoned with graphic imagery, sheer nonsense and musical interludes that sound like life lessons. Remarkable shows are performed by a super gay ghost of Freddie Mercury decanting the wonders of homosexuality and a tampon with Michael Stipe’s face singing the drama of menstruation to the strains of an original Everybody bleeds, as depressing and melancholy as the most popular Everybody hurts.
The male and female points of view are both represented so as not to leave anyone out. Talking penises and vaginas included.
It’s easy to recognise yourself in the characters’ crises and mood swings or wonder ‘was it really like that?’ when the drama involves the opposite sex.
The great thing about watching the series in adulthood is that you can relive the most awkward and turbulent times of growing up feeling relieved to be well over it.
For those who are in over their heads, this works more like a shock therapy.
Big Mouth has the potential to make everyone laugh, you just have to turn a blind eye to the ugly animation and a deaf ear to the undue vulgarities.
After all, the series is not meant to educate but rather to exorcise the nightmare of puberty, while not failing to convey a message. Even in the most surreal or problematic situations, it looks like it’s telling us ‘You’re not weird, it happens to us all, life is tough’. It just says that by using a less delicate vocabulary, so it sounds more like a
You’re not a fucking loser! Shit happens, life is a fucked up mess.
Image sources: screenshot from the series Big Mouth. Netflix. 2017.