neudies / neus / story

Share on email
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Unexpected stories about genis
Told by neudies.

Big Mouth Crushing the Awkwardness of Puberty

email
twitter
facebook

Netflix’s original series Big Mouth is an intentionally blunt portrayal of puberty and middle school life and leaves no stones unturned as it delves into the frantic world of adolescence and all the rages, bodily fluids, and knee-jerk masturbatory instincts it brings. But the show often pushes the envelope when it comes to educating young viewers on topics that young audiences might shy away from. Is it time to start talking about these things more openly?

Big Mouth. Crushing the Awkwardness of Puberty

Still from the Netflix’s Big Mouth series, when Jessi talks to her vagina.
Courtesy of Netflix.

This provocative animated comedy follows best friends Nick (voiced by Nick Kroll), Andrew (John Mulaney), and Jessi (Jessi Klein) as they navigate the embarrassing inferno of puberty. Andrew is growing almost despite himself, sporting a patchy mustache while furtively masturbating to fantasies of his father’s assistant. But his best friend Nick is still firmly stuck in preadolescence, barely as tall as Andrew’s shoulders, lacking the sex drive that’s slowly but surely taking over Andrew’s brain, and confused as to why his own body is taking so long to catch up.

Big Mouth. Crushing the Awkwardness of Puberty

Stills from the Netflix’s Big Mouth series, when Nick sees Andrew’s pubescent penis. On the right, Andrew’s pubescent penis.
Courtesy of Netflix.

Stills from the Netflix’s Big Mouth series, when Nick sees Andrew’s pubescent penis. Below, Andrew’s pubescent penis.
Courtesy of Netflix.

Big Mouth. Crushing the Awkwardness of Puberty

The show is an over-the-top acid trip version of a sex-ed video, and as the series cheekily admits in one of its episodes, it probably wouldn’t be able to get away with it if it wasn’t animated. The series is highly character driven, with characters like the Hormone Monsters, the Shame Wizard and the Depression Kitty, that perfectly personify the intense feelings of insecurity, impulsiveness, fear and wonder that come with the discovery of what one’s body and mind go through at a certain age. In this sense, Big Mouth’s handling of such standard teen traumas (like getting one’s period, a friend seeing you naked, or some girl in your grade suddenly having boobs) is truly masterful.

Big Mouth. Crushing the Awkwardness of Puberty

Stills from the Netflix’s Big Mouth series, when Jessi has her first period.
Courtesy of Netflix.

Although Big Mouth has been praised by many for its cutting-edge wit and refined humour, the show also has its critics, accusing the show of using one’s pubescent desires and physical changes for mere comedic purposes. But what makes Big Mouth more than the sum of its many dick jokes, is the fact that beneath its raging hormones and grotesque humor lies an enormous truth that is rarely depicted on television.

If Big Mouth was just a series of jokes about how weird and fiddly puberty is, it wouldn’t be much more than a decent way to kill some time. But the show achieves a new, deeper level of comedy by remaining hyper aware of the fact that puberty isn’t just about bodies changing, but about what it means to grow up at all. Exaggerated as it may be, Big Mouth’s depiction of being in the agony of puberty always feels pretty accurate and regardless of who you are, it’s one of those things that most can identify with, even if each of our personal experiences varies to some degree.

Big Mouth. Crushing the Awkwardness of Puberty

Stills from the Netflix’s Big Mouth series, when Andrew discovers online porn. On the right, when Andres becomes obsessed with a camgirl.
Courtesy of Netflix.

Stills from the Netflix’s Big Mouth series, when Andrew discovers online porn. Below, when Andres becomes obsessed with a camgirl.
Courtesy of Netflix.

Big Mouth. Crushing the Awkwardness of Puberty

“When something is a secret and when something is silent, whether it's intended or not, the implication is that it's shameful... Because puberty can be awkward or uncomfortable to talk about — it's easier not to talk about — the unspoken implication for kids is that what's happening is gross or wrong or shameful, and it shouldn't be.”

– Nick Kroll

Big Mouth. Crushing the Awkwardness of Puberty

Kroll has said he hopes open-minded parents watch the series with their children and hopefully along the way, they’ll end up learning something new. It might be simple gross-out comedy, but it also feels like we should be talking about this stuff more openly and more often. If it’s not clear by now, we certainly recommend it.

Big Mouth. Crushing the Awkwardness of Puberty

Still from the Netflix’s Big Mouth series, when Nick wacthes Jane Fonda’s Workout VHS.
Courtesy of Netflix.

Sharing is Caring

email
twitter
facebook

x

Geni Gang

Get access to exclusive and uncensored content, speak freely in our gang’s private chat room.