How Big Mouth Changed My Opinion of Adult Cartoons

I am not a fan of anything funny. I know that makes me sound like I’m dead inside, but I swear that’s not the case. It’s just that when I’m watching something that is purposefully designed to make people laugh, my brain decides that it’s above it all and won’t find it funny. I don’t like comedies or stand-up, and always thought that shows like Family Guy¸ Futurama¸ and American Dad were frivolous and designed to waste time and shred brain cells. But, when one of the hosts of My Favorite Murder, Georgia Hardstark, recommended Big Mouth, I had to give it a try. I went in thinking I would watch one episode and decide that it was stupid and move on to another crime show and call it a day. Unfortunately for my coveted eight hours of sleep per night, this was not the case.

Big Mouth is equal parts charming, awkward, funny, and reminiscent of the growing pains of the teenage years. It follows a small, but diverse group of friends in middle school—Andrew, Nick, Jessi, and Jay—as they stutter step through the Twister game of puberty. But, in a mere 10 episodes, the show manages to create what seems like a whole town’s worth of characters: kooky parents, inanimate objects that become impregnated, teachers that allow their students to do book reports on softcore pornography, and the ghosts of Duke Ellington, and Freddie Mercury. Most importantly are the Hormone Monster and Monstress who attach themselves primarily to Andrew and Jessi respectively. These two bring the show onto another level by being unabashedly open about sexual impulses, and the general insanity that punctuates the lives of teenagers. Though it is a fun show, it also addresses some formative issues like sexual orientation, underage drinking, and how rumors beget false reputations.

If all of that isn’t enough to sell you, there are musical numbers! In typical musical fashion, these fun diddies pop up in response to moments of crisis in the characters’ lives, and are so much fun that I have returned to listen to them a few times since finishing the show over a week ago. A final awesome tactic that the show employs is the occasional fourth-wall break, which I always find immensely satisfying. Oh, and a last shot of genius comes from whoever decided to name Jay’s pitbull Featuring Ludacris. That being said, the show does engage in crude, and sometimes slightly offensive humor and light stereotypes. If these are not up your alley, then don’t try to break down those walls with this one show. More than anything, this show taught me to give other shows of this ilk a chance. It knocked me off my pedestal of pretension, and convinced me that cartoons are not necessarily low art even if they are silly and unproductive. If you haven’t given Big Mouth a shot, I really recommend that you do because it brought me quite a substantial amount of joy, which I really need seeing as we’re halfway through the semester. Plus, laughter is the best medicine, right?