“Big Mouth” captures highs and lows of puberty with honesty

Elena Morey

A & E Editor

Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” created by Jennifer Flackett, Andrew Goldberg and Nick Kroll, is an animated show that crudely captures the horrors and triumphs of everyone’s favorite stage of life: puberty. Puberty is awkward, scary, anxiety-inducing, fun and something everyone has to go through. These elements are what ground the show, throwing in relatable characters, dark humor and a hint of painful reality. On IMDb, the ground-breaking show has a rating of 8.1 stars out of 10, and since Netflix picked up the show, the popularity of it has skyrocketed.

The cast is made up of up-and-coming actors and comedy writers like John Mulaney (Andrew Glouberman), Nick Kroll (Nick Birch), Jessi Klein (Jessi Glaser), Jason Mantzoukas (Jay) and Jenny Slate (Missy Foreman-Greenwald) who let their writing talents fly as they go hand-in-hand with their characters through hilariously good and realistic moments in puberty that makes viewers cringe because they’ve happened to most of us. The actors bounce around between characters, altering their voices for humor, similar to the style of “Family Guy.”

The show itself has a unique animation style. It stands between a 3D style and anime. To those who are used to shows like “Family Guy” and “F is for Family,” you might find the show more visually similar. To those who enjoy anime, the show might take some getting used to. The color scheme is bright and careful not to evoke too many strong pastels.  The artists use color to distinguish between ghosts, memories, flashbacks and significant moments in the plot and characters’ lives.

What “Big Mouth” captures really well are the subtle differences men and women go through in society as well as in their own bodies. It captures the way society plays into how each person feels about themselves as well as how they believe they are supposed to act. It makes the viewer think about society’s norms and how many of these norms are very toxic. It also goes beyond just portraying puberty, and highlights issues like drug exploration, high school life, reaching milestones, dealing with family troubles, finding who you are, navigating relationships, becoming sexually active and masturbation, as well as some LGBTQ+ issues, mostly from a young person’s point of view.

Puberty is a time when people are exploring many aspects about themselves, as well as taking on more responsibility. For women, that means menstruating, which has a huge stigma in society, even today. That comes with embarrassment and physical pains, as well as a huge amount of fear. For men, there are nocturnal emissions, poorly-timed erections, sweating, body odor and the awkward male-on-male competition thanks to a surge in testosterone. All these realistic situations bring to light more about our lives that we would not really talk about, and joins us together in things everyone goes through. At first, the show can be hard to swallow for its crude and raunchy dialogue, but life is not perfect. Life is up and down, sexy and awkward, and the show really pushes boundaries.

Puberty in the show is driven by creatures known as hormone monsters.  These characters appear in the human characters’ heads and influence their hormones as well as give good or bad advice. These characters are very humorous and bring out the hormonal reactions and happenings in their person’s body. Whenever they appear, the audience knows something is about to happen to the character, either good, bad or super awkward. As a woman, the female hormone monster Connie really captures a lot of struggles most women go through.  This brings a sense of awe because the show also lets viewers in on how the other side lives. Together, both genders portrayed in the show deal with similar issues and often find themselves struggling to play into what society wants or portrays as normal. In reality, we are all a little awkward, quirky and so are our bodies and that’s okay!

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