Is ‘Big Mouth’ More Than What It Seems?

When the show Big Mouth first came out on Netflix in 2017, I was excited to watch it. OK, let’s be real - binge it.

I have always been a fan of adult cartoon shows like Family Guy, American Dad or Rick and Morty.

These shows are funny, mindless television that one doesn’t have to actively watch most of the time.

That is what I expected from Big Mouth, from the trailers I have seen. But after watching the first season I realized that while on the surface it was littered with crude jokes created for cheap laughs, there was an educational aspect to the show.

Big Mouth is a show that follows a group of middle school kids as they grow up and deal with puberty, crushes, parents’ divorces, sexual urges and curiosity.

Underneath all the inappropriate and jokes that, at times, seemed too much, there is a great story that captures how confusing and terrible one can feel when they grow up.

The first season has funny episodes reflecting real life.

One episode is about one of the main characters getting her period unexpectedly while on a class field trip.

Another is about how girls can be horny, too, a feeling not solely available to boys.

However, watching the last season, season three, the core of what made the show good, and more than just a crude show with cheap jokes, seems to have faded.

What’s changed?

While the first two seasons of Big Mouth are funny and relatable, the third season has a lot of cheap jokes.

It tries to wow the audience with ridiculous plotlines, like one character being attracted to his cousin and flirting back and forth with her.

The cousin makes sexual advances toward him in their dead grandmother’s bed.

This storyline is not relatable - well I hope it’s not- and it has nothing to do with painting an accurate and satirical picture of what puberty and discovering one’s sexuality is.

I talked to a UF freshman and Big Mouth watcher Solange Lizama about what initially drew her into the show.

“It’s very funny, but over the seasons it has become more and more crude and vulgar,” she said.

At the start of the show, there was an undertone of sexual education and awareness, as seen in an episode in the second season all about Planned Parenthood.

The show discussed all of Planned Parenthood’s services it offers besides abortions. Now, there are no real educational points being made in the show.

I asked Solange if she thought there was a beneficial or educational aspect to the show regarding sexual education, especially for a younger audience.

“I think there is, but not enough to justify the show in its entirety,” she said. “A lot of it is for the jokes and punch-lines with sexual education moments. I don’t think a show like Big Mouth would be beneficial for younger audiences. It’s rather inappropriate and in some instances, only communicates to the audience that there’s no self-control amongst people. I think there should be better sexual education courses that are sensible and don’t sugarcoat things and a show that sheds light on those things would be helpful, but it has to be done in a less controversial way.”

It’s hard because at its core Big Mouth is a show that sheds light on a topic usually too taboo to talk about.

It also includes women in the conversation, which is somewhat unusual. 

As the show has progressed the focus of it has shifted from reflecting real struggles people go through when dealing with puberty to cheap, crude jokes reminiscent of something a teenage boy would conjure up in his mind.

Is there anything audiences can learn from Big Mouth?

Even though Big Mouth has changed, and not all for the better, as the seasons progressed, I do still enjoy the show.

When I was growing up, I didn’t have an amazing and informative sexual education class at school.

It was more preachy and centered on abstinence rather than actual scientific information and facts.

So, when I started to watch Big Mouth one of my first thoughts was, “wow, I wish there had been something similar to this that I could have watched when I was dealing with puberty.”

Now, I admit the show is probably a bit too inappropriate to show a kid beginning puberty, but the lessons the show discusses are things I could have benefited from when I was younger. 

“Girls are Horny too,” an episode in season one, is a concept I was not super comfortable with growing up. 

After watching the episode, I realized I might have had a different view on sexuality if this show had existed, especially regarding how the women go through puberty. 

While the show has gone in a different direction in the past few seasons, Big Mouth has also stayed true to the show that it has always been.

There have always been raunchy, crude jokes, but it paired them with lessons on navigating growing up.

The show’s jokes may be more intense, but the heart of the show is still there.

This show is not for everybody, but it has moments that make it more than what it may seem at first glance.

The main characters develop and they reflect the messy, sometimes gross, and complicated reality of growing up and figuring out who you are.