"Big Mouth" returns with raunchy and relatable season two
Boobs, dick jokes and teenage shame intersect in the second season of comedian Nick Kroll’s Netflix brainchild “Big Mouth,” giving fans all the more reason to love the crude take on the brutality of puberty. The audience watches Nick (Kroll), Andrew (John Mulaney), Jessi (Jessi Klein) and Missy (Jenny Slate) continue to traverse the complex mountain range that is middle school and their sexualities, complete with theatrical music numbers and struggles that only a former or current tween could understand. This season brings fans a new character named the Shame Wizard, the antithesis of the unrelentingly perverse Hormone Monster that accompanies Andrew through his journey of puberty. The Shame Wizard takes the feeling we know all too well – poorly-timed, usually public embarrassment – and sends it back with a dark and self-sabotaging spin.
The second season, which Netflix released on Oct. 5, opens with a tale of self-discovery, affectionately titled “Am I Normal?” It chronicles the fears of Andrew and Nick as they come to terms with their changing bodies as they are ravaged by puberty. This theme follows the group of misfits into the next episode, this time focusing on Jessi and Missy. After a classmate, Gina (Gina Rodriguez) shows up to soccer practice with a particularly full chest, the rest of the girls feel the sting of jealousy and inferiority, asking themselves “What Is It About Boobs?” – the title of the episode. The two girls travel to a Korean sauna with Missy’s body-positive mother, a scene that is accompanied by an incredible feminist dance number called “I Love My Body.”
The third episode brings the Shame Wizard, an ominous Dementor-esque entity that begins following Andrew after an awkward encounter with Nick’s sister, Leah. While the Shame Wizard is wreaking havoc on Andrew’s psyche, Nick works on a project with Gina, whom he begins to develop a crush on. The scene is filled with references that break the fourth wall, even poking fun at Netflix’s anti-account sharing statements made earlier this year. In a refreshing change of pace, the Shame Wizard turns out to be one of the most well-developed and interesting characters of the show thus far, showing viewers the second half of a pubescent boy’s conscience. Between the fourth and fifth episodes, the plot becomes more sex-positive than ever before as Coach Steve loses his virginity and Jessi explores the realities of sex, including a trip to Planned Parenthood and a skit that helps her choose birth control.
The next few episodes resemble the traditional “Big Mouth” style, with corny jokes and awkward conversations with parents as the kids grapple with navigating relationships. Jessi’s parents finalize their divorce, Andrew attempts to break up with Lola and Nick sends himself into a frenzy after making out with Gina. An overnight sleepover at school brings Nick’s secret into the public eye after he tells Jessi, who tells popular girl Devin, who tells ... everyone else. Gina is socially exiled and berated with accusations of being a “slut” by her peers – leading to embarrassment on all sides. With embarrassment comes the Shame Wizard, who makes a major comeback in episodes eight and nine by riddling the sleepover’s attendees with unforgiving shame. Nick and Andrew urge their friends to challenge their shame, leading to incredible chaos in the gym, which is left to be controlled by the irresponsible Coach Steve.
The finale of the season focuses on the less glamorous, frequently unspoken element of puberty – depression. Jessi’s Hormone Monstress is replaced with the suffocating and warm Depression Kitty, who wraps her up in thick blankets and encourages her feelings of worthlessness. The crux of the appeal of “Big Mouth” is in the bond Jessi and her friends have, so of course Andrew and Nick swoop in to save her from depression’s clutches.
The second season of “Big Mouth” did not disappoint fans, further developing character backgrounds and facilitating important conversations about sex education and safety – making an animated comedy a better sex ed course than high school health class.