Big Mouth may be an extremely bizarre and outlandish show, but it teaches a lot about all the uncomfortable and disturbing things our bodies go through during puberty. Read on to learn more about all the important lessons Big Mouth teaches us about becoming an adult.
The Netflix original series Big Mouth is one of the most impactful shows of our generation. It started in 2017 and has been a hit on Netflix ever since. It discusses taboo topics such as toxic masculinity, periods, depression, masturbating and sex. It is one of the most ridiculous and relatable shows for young adults experiencing the changes of puberty. Here are some of the most important takeaways from Big Mouth that teach us all a little something about growing up.
Friends can help with anxiety and depression
One of the biggest things that Jessi’s journey teaches us is that growing up is not so easy. Depression Kitty was first introduced in season two as the large purple cat who mostly circles Jessi. As the seasons went by, we have seen that Jessi hasn’t felt like herself in quite some time. Season four shines a light on the concerns of mental health by showing the return of Depression Kitty, who is twice as powerful with Tito the Anxiety Mosquito by her side. Depression Kitty and Tito the Anxiety Mosquito work together like best friends, inserting themselves into Jessi’s life and bringing her down at every chance they get. At the end of season four, Big Mouth teaches an important lesson about showing your vulnerability to your friends and using them as a support system to get out of a depressive state. When Jessi learns that Tito the Anxiety Mosquito also bothering Nick, she discovers that she is not alone and uses the help of her friends to improve her mental health.
Don’t be ashamed of your sexuality
Big Mouth does an incredible job in normalizing queer identities and a healthy childhood exploration of sexual orientation. Multiple LGBTQ+ characters are portrayed as also “going through changes,” just like straight characters. Jay is the bisexual icon the world needs. Throughout the show, Jay has developed his attraction towards boys (and boy pillows), bringing his bisexuality to light. In season two, we witness Jay’s exchange with his girl pillow, Suzette, where he explains his nature of attraction to her in comparison to Brad, his boy pillow. When she asks Jay if it was better than with Brad, he responds by saying that it was great with both of them, but in a different way. Suzette is not happy with this response and throws a bit of biphobia at Jay by stating, “That’s bullshit. If you say you like boy pillows and girl pillows, it means you really just like boy pillows” (“The Department of Puberty”). However, Jay is unphased by this and continues to explore his own attractions to people of different genders. Jay’s self-confidence is a major step forward for bi representation for young adults, reminding individuals that it’s ok to be who you are.
Everyone is insecure about something
One of the biggest things we learn from watching this show is that every single character has something they are insecure about. Whether it’s about small genitalia, hormonal urges or simply girlish qualities. Season two and four shine a light on Missy’s journey towards self-acceptance and finally owning her Blackness. Missy was ashamed of her lack of curves when she saw that Gina Alvarez had boobs, something quite ironic as Gina was insecure about her own growth spurt. Missy deals with the concerns of body insecurity and self-esteem just like every young girl. She starts off by not knowing something was “wrong” with her body, and then as soon as she feels it, she deeply internalizes it. It eats her up and makes her completely vulnerable to who she is. However, the storyline ends on a high note when her mom takes her and Jessi to a Korean spa, where they see naked women with completely different body types. After her mother tells her that her body is beautiful just like every other woman’s, she starts to gain self-confidence and accept her body unconditionally.
Big Mouth brings awareness of gaslighting through Lola’s experience in the show. In season three’s “Disclosure the Movie: The Musical,” Lola is a victim of gaslighting by her teacher, Mr. Lizer. Lola is enticed into giving Mr. Lizer a foot massage and then is gaslighted when word gets out. It wasn’t the first time that Lola had been gaslighted, either. In season one during the sleepover episode, we see Devin, Lola’s apparent best friend, gaslight Lola and convince her that she’s the problem in a toxic relationship. She gets rather upset with this statement and starts to idealize her partners.
You never really figure it out, even when you’re an adult
If there’s only one thing you take away from this show, it should be that even adults are still trying to figure it all out. Big Mouth proves that adults are still going through struggles with sex, sexuality and life changes just like teenagers are. Season one displays Shannon Glaser’s (Jessi’s mom) exploration of her sexuality and how she embraces her attraction to Cantor Nina. It is a prime example of adults still navigating questions about their sexual identity and relationships long after puberty has ended.
Big Mouth brings attention to critical topics that are frequently swept under the carpet by society. It is important for young adults to be comfortable in their development and consider the various facets of puberty. Big Mouth does a fantastic job of doing just that. It holds hundreds of tiny messages combined with sheer adult humour. The biggest lesson it teaches, however, is that everybody is struggling. We are all uncertain of what to do next or where to turn. At least if we’re all struggling, we should do it together.
“The Department of Puberty.” Big Mouth, season 2, episode 10. Netflix, 2020. Netflix.