Critics have raved about Nick Kroll’s new show Big Mouth, which is about the brutal reality of growing up. Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg represent a cartoon character of their middle school selves. Middle school is a tough stage and the show highlights the struggles and truth of puberty. Despite the show presenting crude and fictional humor, Nick Kroll excels at representing the thoughts of adolescence. The show’s cast consists of both male and female actors, all of which react differently in the nuanced plot of the show. The plot harks on the common idea that middle school is commonly referred to as the “awkward” phase of one’s life.
In a tongue and cheek approach, the show comments on the mental and physical change the common middle schooler can suffer while adapting to puberty. Nick Kroll takes this horrible time and creates something humorous. The first season is uncomfortable, but oddly entertaining. The cartoon like comedy is similar to both Family Guy and South Park, but the content in Big Mouth is more relevant and sparks conversation. According to K.T Hawbaker, a critic from Chicago Tribune, she states, “In 10 episodes, the program manages to address everything from queer oral histories and the myth of masculinity to slut-shaming and relational aggression among girls—more than most U.S. high school sex ed classes would ever embark upon,” Big Mouth made a statement in the Netflix world by bringing up both sensitive and highly controversial topics.
In season two, the Big Mouth cast released a special episode called “The Planned Parenthood Show. Reflecting back to the awkward days of middle school, the “talk” or sex education class is highly remembered amongst many. What Big Mouth does so well is taking the awkward classroom setting and presenting all the emotions and reactions of the students.
This episode debunks common myths of Planned Parenthood, reinforces the use of contraception, and embraces the fact that everyone is different. The episode begins with Coach Steve beginning his lesson on “sex ed”. As he begins speaking, he mentions “planned parenthood” and immediately following, a boy in the class blurts out “an abortion factory.” As an uninformed, confused middle schooler, he was quickly corrected by the girls on the purpose of planned parenthood. The episode later speaks about the need for planned parenthood and the actual reasons behind it.
At one point in the episode, the idea of contraception is introduced. In typical Nick Kroll fashion, he took various forms of contraception and made them characters as well. During this part of the episode, a sixteen year old girl is introduced to the variety of contraceptives, who are now characters, and is to pick one that is right for her. Similar to any reality TV show, Big Mouth mimics the idea of “finding love” and the sixteen year old girl is to be “wooed” by one of the contraceptives. As the contraceptives are attempting to “woo” the girl, they present their pros and cons. The sixteen year old is then to decide which contraceptive is right for her. The show continues with the reality of what girls can encounter through the process of birth as well.
Despite the unrealistic and overly dramatized presentation of the show, the underlying content is real. The emotions behind it are real. Big Mouth shows voice through each and every episode and highlights the importance of starting conversation on sensitive topics. Throughout the series legitimate uncomfortable topics are brought to light. Big Mouth is an oddly humorous show and can often be crude, but the idea is applauded.