Big Mouth season two steps up humor and heart

By Jason Max Rose
On October 10, 2018

Photo courtesy of Big Mouth, Twitter

"Big Mouth” might be the funniest show on television. A Netflix original created by actor and comedian Nick Kroll, the show really finds its footing in a wildly entertaining second season. Following the lives of a group of middle school students, “Big Mouth” navigates the trials, tribulations and terrors of being a pubescent adolescent.

There were moments during season two where I found myself yelping in laughter. Kroll is joined by longtime collaborators John Mulaney, Jenny Slate and Jason Mantzoukas who worked with him on his last large-scale TV project “Kroll Show.”Admittedly, a lot of the characters in Big Mouth, or at least their voices, are taken directly from Kroll’s first large-scale project.

As an avid “Kroll Show” fan back in its heyday, this doesn’t bother me so much as it delights. It’s like old friends from high school coming over to hang out. To people who didn’t watch “Kroll Show,”  this really doesn’t matter. Check out “Kroll Show.” Also “Big Mouth.” Obviously.

One of the most endearing aspects of “Big Mouth” is the brutal honesty in which puberty is portrayed. It’s like they dug into all of our brains, harvested our worst and most embarrassing memories, and put them into a cartoon with appropriately horrifyingly animated characters. Middle schoolers are not the most aesthetically pleasing bunch, and the animation reflects that weird, awkward almost-grown-but-not-quite stage of life.

Kroll and company have clearly made the choice to be something of an educator. There’s an entire episode of season two dedicated to Planned Parenthood, breaking down myths and highlighting its uses and importance. Another episode addresses depression in one of the characters. There’s an entire musical number dedicated to body positivity - and there’s a lot of nudity in that one. Shame is a constant topic.

One of the most delightful additions to the new season was the Shame Wizard, voiced by David Thewlis who’s most famous for playing Lupin in the “Harry Potter” series. His cunning yet vulnerable character adds a new dimension to the kids’ inner turmoil and plays foil to the Hormone Monsters, which I guess deserve their own explanation. It’s a bizarre show.

The Hormone Monsters, of which there are many as is revealed late in the season, are essentially puberty sherpas; they are responsible for guiding the kids through their hormonal rages, horny fits and everything in between.

The unreasonably talented Maya Rudolph plays one of the monsters named Connie, and the entire series is riddled with A+ voice acting from both the cast and guests. Some of the more fun ones include Jon Hamm voicing a plate of scallops, Jordan Peele playing the Ghost of Duke Ellington, Nathan Fillion as himself, Jack McBrayer and Craig Robinson as both of Nick's pubic hairs, and Gina Rodriguez as Gina, who plays a pivotal role in season 2.

“Big Mouth” is loveable and hilarious. It’s sweet in its honesty and if you don’t cringe, you were never 13. There are musical numbers and lots of them. You’ll either learn to love them or learn to press the fast-forward key on your computer a couple of times until they're over. You might cry at some point.

If you haven’t seen season one, watch it. If you have, get ready for an already great show to somehow improve by a significant margin. It is so much fun.

5 stars

 

jrose4@ramapo.edu

 

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