“Big Mouth” puts big emphasis on real life situations



The Netflix Original Series uses humor to discuss serious topics, like menstruation.

By Nora Holland, Arts Editor

Being a teenager and growing up is a difficult process. But the key is to laugh at life and all the awkward experiences it entails.

“Big Mouth” is an animated comedy that came to Netflix Sept. 29. This hilarious cartoon series focuses on the hardships of puberty and being a teenager. Even with all its randomness and humor, the show touches base on some very real events teenagers deal with in everyday life and teach its audience life lessons, all while making them laugh so hard they cry.

“I love this show because it’s so ridiculous, crazy and very addicting to watch,” junior Michael Votaw said.

“Big Mouth” has become wildly popular within the last few months of 2017. Created by Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, with big names in the cast such as Jenny Slate (Missy) and Maya Rudolph (Diane Burch), the Netflix original is already booked for a second season.
The main focus of the series is the journey of puberty and all the awkward moments teenagers endure during this time while they are growing and developing. Some episodes go as far as to venture into miniature sex education lessons.

“[Big Mouth] is definitely easier to watch than any videos in health class and is less awkward,” junior Vincent Douglass said. “The show also uses the language that teens actually use instead of the proper terminology we hear in class.”

For example, one episode, called “Everybody Bleeds,” concentrates on menstruation. It capture the terror young girls may feel during this time. However, the show mixes in humorous jokes to turn the uncomfortable talk into a laughable one. At the same time, it really shows how puberty can affect a girl.
“I’ve always felt very uninformed about what it’s like to be a girl going through puberty, and not understanding this often leads to misinformed jokes being made that can really hurt someone’s feelings,” freshman Daniel Seligman said.

Important and challenging events that often occur in the life of a teenager, such as coming out, growing up with parents having marital issues, relationships and peer pressure appear throughout the episodes. While the show is a comedy, it talks about these topics in a way that teaches the audience about them and shows how one might deal with them by learning from the characters’ mistakes.

“Everyone’s teenage years are different, but this show has a little bit of the many different sides of growing up and being a teenager, providing different characters with many different experiences,” Seligman said.

According to an Oct. 3, 2017 article on IndieWire, the creators of “Big Mouth” want to show viewers that they are not alone in their awkward teenage years. The writers set out to normalize the behaviors of kids in their tweens and teens that adults have “condemned out of pure, awkward regret.”

The experiences the characters face within the show, from being pressured into sexual acts to trying to identify their sexuality, stem from the truth. Many of the stories are in the show are derived from the teenage years of the cast and creators.

One of the main characters named Jessi (voiced by Jessi Klein) is challenged with two constantly fighting parents in the plot. Jessi’s confusion, anger and sadness mirror how a real teenager might react to their parents splitting and provides as a sample of how the show validates and relates the struggles may teens go through.

According to an Oct. 23, 2017 article from the website The Spruce about statistics on children of divorce, about 50 percent of American children will undergo a divorce between parents. This is a difficult life experience and many teenagers have to deal with without knowing what to do or how to feel. “Big Mouth” shows that not only is this common, but the people that have struggled or are struggling with this are not alone.

Jessi’s conflict along with other parts of the plot, like the brief relationship between Nick (voiced by Nick Kroll) and Jessi, and Andrew’s (voiced by John Mulaney) struggle for self confidence, exemplify how confusing teenager years can be.

While “Big Mouth” might not be for everyone, there is no denying that the show realistically portrays the hardships of being a kid. Tween and teenage years can taxing, with physical as well as mental changes occurring while the adult world draws closer and closer. “Big Mouth” speaks out to past and present teenagers; the show’s message is that yes, everyone has tackled relationships, losing friendships, peer pressure and even acne. But further, one can look back and laugh at it, knowing that it is a normal part of growing up.

“I think the show addresses the topic of puberty in a hilarious but meaningful way,” Votaw said. “It shows how both boys and girls have to deal with various issues when growing up.”