Big Mouth has always bordered on uncomfortable, but look hard enough and this season shows its worth.
I genuinely can’t decide if Big Mouth is the best or worst show to ever come to Netflix, but either way it has become one of the biggest figures in the growing genre of adult animated sitcoms. This cartoon follows the lives of a group of 7th graders, based on creators Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg’s adolescent selves, dealing with the general chaos of puberty and teenage life.
Although season 3 carries on the show’s notoriously crude sense of humour, the new installment also looks at some of the more serious challenges associated with growing up – sexuality, mental illness and personal identity are just some of the themes that it deals within the new season. It has proven to be one of Netflix’s most popular new ventures, although the announcement that it has been renewed for a further three seasons was met with mixed opinions.
In the cast, we have regulars Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, and Jason Mantzoukas, who once again shine in the many roles they take on in Big Mouth. What I enjoyed most about casting in the latest episodes is that Andrew Rannells’ Matthew gets a much bigger role in this season. The guest stars are also an indication of the show’s rocketing success. Carol Kane and Chelsea Peretti join the cast as the Menopause Banshee and Nick’s cell phone respectively. But the true highlight of this season is The Fab Five (Queer Eye’s Antoni, Karamo, Jonathan, Bobby and Tan) as themselves, as they make over the enigmatic Coach Steve. For all the show’s issues, the Queer Eye segment in episode ten is utterly iconic.
Big Mouth has always been controversial in its subject matter and over-the-top execution – jokes can be pushed to the point of discomfort (particularly a certain storyline involving a roast turkey), but among these jokes you can find real-life lessons. Episode eight was widely, and rightfully, criticised for its inaccurate representations and definitions of pan- and bisexuality. However, this episode ends with a stark depiction of double standards of coming out as bisexual and gives the audience a valuable lesson.
Season 3 doesn’t have quite as many highlights as the previous two; some of the storylines struggle to engage the audience in a way that the series has successfully done before. In particular, the Duke Ellington-centred episode felt uninteresting and out of place within the season. However, the finale – in which we see Jessi moving away and the end of Nick and Andrew’s friendship – is more than enough to keep us intrigued for another season (or three). Yes, the show has a tendency to push boundaries just a little too far, but if you look past the questionable sense of humour, Big Mouth really shows its value.
All episodes of Big Mouth season 3 are out now on Netflix.