The Modern Way to Improve
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In an age of "locker room talk" and powerful men getting fired from their namesake companies after decades of sexual harassment comes to light, it's almost comforting to think there's a cartoon that can shock you. Because that's where we are and that's just what Big Mouth does—shocks you in the best "holy shit, did they really just say/do/show that?" way.
The animated series, created by Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, is loosely based on Kroll and Goldberg's teenage years growing up in the suburbs of New York City. They dug deep, mining the most sordid and painful pubescent experiences for a coming-of-age story that proves that we're all alike and no one makes it out of adolescence unscathed.
But the kids don't know that. Part of what makes these misadventures so damn entertaining is that you experience the angst and confusion as an adult who thankfully knows that this embarrassment is only temporary. So you can laugh hysterically when one character's nagging Hormone Monster forces him rub one out while sleeping over at his best friend's house. "What the hell is wrong with me?" he asks. "Nothing," says the Hormone Monster. "You're a perfectly normal gross little dirtbag."
So there's the masturbating, plenty of dick jokes and even a quick shot of full-frontal animated nudity. All for the awkward humor. And there's the ghost of legendary jazzman Duke Ellington, which I can't even to go into here. But for all the gross gags and dirty language, the show takes these kids seriously. Especially when examining the highs and lows of your developing years—from first kiss to first base to first messy breakup. What's more, the female characters aren't bashful prudes or ditzy trophies. They're just as honest and conflicted as the guys. They even have their own sinister hormone monsters wrecking havoc in their lives.
As the show's tagline warns, "When hormones go wild, things get messy," it's clear that this isn't a show for everyone. But there's going to be more than a few cringe-worthy moments in Big Mouth that will resonate with you for one reason or another. The comedy behind all those dirty impulses mixed with the earnestness of growing into the person you become makes for one hell of a show. Just take my word for it, and don't watch it at work or on a plane.
All ten episodes are
now streaming on Netflix »
He may be a vulgar bully of sorts but he’s also the only guy nasty enough to tell the uncomfortable truth about growing up.