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‘Big Mouth’ is back and even more awkward than before

Sexuality, child marriage, incest, cell phone addictions and Florida; these are regular things that middle schoolers go through, right? According to Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” it is. The animated comedy has never been afraid of crossing over the line and season three is direct proof of that. 

Season three picks up where the previous season left off. Nick Birch (Nick Kroll) is trying to get used to Connie (Maya Rudolph) as his Hormone Monster; the monsters that persuade the kids to pursue their sexual arousals, Jay Bilzerian (Jason Mantzoukas) is questioning his sexuality and Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney) is trying to grow back his hair while struggling with his unreciprocated feelings for Missy Foreman-Greenwald (Jenny Slate). 

Some of the recurring characters from previous seasons get bigger plot lines: Matthew (Andrew Rannells) gets his first boyfriend, Lola (Kroll) gets into a questionable relationship with the creepy counselor Mr. Lizer (Rob Huebel) and Duke Ellington (Jordan Peele) gets his own episode dedicated to his experience of losing his virginity. 

New characters are also introduced in season three, like the pansexual student Ali (Ali Wong), Nick’s new phone Cellsea (Chelsea Peretti) and Andrew’s cousin/lover Cherry (Julie Klausner).

The new season tries to fit a laundry list of social issues into only 10 episodes. Throughout the season, the show deals with toxic masculinity, LGBTQ+ issues, the #MeToo movement, white supremacy and prescription drug addiction. 

The show knocked the toxic masculinity storyline out of the park with the episode “Girls Are Angry Too.” After Jay’s horny mind wanders during woodshop that results in a loss of Andrew’s finger, a very strict (and also very sexist) dress code gets put into place. The girls at Bridgeton create a “SlutWalk,” which creates a hostile argument. This hostile argument causes a frustrated Andrew to inadvertently join a white nationalist group.

The show also tried to tackle technology addiction, which is a familiar problem to today’s teenagers. Cell phones are discussed heavily throughout the episodes “Cellsea” and “Obsessed.” 

But not every episode hit the nail on the head.

A not-so familiar problem that teenagers face is introduced during the episodes “Florida” and “How To Have An Orgasm.” Andrew’s cousin, Cherry, is introduced and Andrew becomes attracted to her. This cringe-worthy incest storyline gets even weirder when Andrew decides to send his cousin a pantsless picture. 

During the episode “Rankings,” we meet a new character, Ali. She is the new student that identifies as pansexual. While her identity inspires Jay to come out as bisexual (for the wrong reasons), her lengthy class introduction felt almost like preaching. 

Her explanation of the differences between pansexuality and bisexuality has come under scrutiny for inadvertently pitting the LGBTQ+ community against each other while also unsuccessfully dumbing down a very complex topic using a metaphor about Mexican food. The co-creator of the show, Andrew Glouberman, has apologized and said this scene “missed the mark.”

Musically, “Big Mouth was lacking this season, with the exception of Maurice the Hormone Monster (Kroll)’s heavy metal performance of “Anything Goes In Florida.” 

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But the episode, “Disclosure the Movie: the Musical,” helped make up for the lack of musical numbers. This episode was also the season’s best, plot-wise. The episode moves from the protests against the very inappropriate musical to Missy and Nick’s budding romance to Lizer gaslighting the very naive Lola. 

There is also a hilarious subplot that tries to steer away from the other serious topics — the jobless and homeless Coach Steve (Kroll) gets a make over from the “Queer Eye” Fab Five. And, after Mr. Lizer gets fired for taking advantage of Lola, Coach Steve finally gets his job as a gym teacher back. 

Season three of “Big Mouth” is obviously trying to keep up with “woke culture.” It is important to discuss, but it has steered away from the awkward experiences real teenagers go through during puberty. 

This show should make us think and then laugh, but it felt like there was more thinking than laughing. Netflix has renewed Big Mouth for three more seasons and also a spin-off show, “Human Resources.”

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

miskem@miamioh.edu

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