I caught up on season one of Netflix’s Big Mouth a few weeks ago and now that I have seen the first seven episodes of season two I can honestly say that you are getting more of what you got in season one, for better and for worse.
This animated show about children going through puberty gets weird in some of the best ways but also in some not so great ways. Season two continues to have some brilliant moments of relating the experience of growing up via crude animation and dick jokes. This season introduces some new elements and characters that continue to capture the adolescent experience.
The “Shame Wizard” in particular really captures that intense feeling of self-hatred one only experiences during their most formative years. Our personal shame wizard may not be voiced by the amazing David Thewlis, but we have all had one whisper in our ear from time to time. The show is really at the best in these moments where it not just being funny but truly trying to say something. There is a segment of a contraception reality show that depicts all of a females options for protected sex better than any health class video or PSA I have ever seen.
Unfortunately, for every spa disco about body positivity there is a decision that feels out of place if not outright wrong headed. The rules of the universe seem to be broken at the drop of a hat for the sake of a joke. It is never really explained who can see the puberty monsters at what times or if they can actually affect the world around them. This may seem small, but it’s important to know what on screen is actually affecting the story overall in order to establish stakes in the plot. Also their are some decisions made this season in regards to Coach Steve’s character that I found kind of upsetting.
Coach Steve has always been my least favorite part of the show. His character seems to only be there for so he can be the punchline of a bunch of “Look! Isn’t it funny this grown man doesn’t know what sex is?” jokes. The problem here is that they depict Coach Steve in such a way that he seems to be towing the line between developmentally delayed and developmentally disabled.
Put into this context, his scenes feel distinctly mean spirited in a “punching down” kind of way. Not to go too much into it, but this season goes the extra mile by having Coach Steve lose his virginity while still being disturbingly confused on the concept of sex. A character later jokes “I think whoever had sex with you committed a crime”. The joke here being that Coach Steve is so ignorant of sex and everything the act implies, that he can not truly give consent for the act of sex. The disturbing thing about this line of dialogue is that it doesn’t really come off as a joke but more just a statement of fact. So even the show seems to recognize this is weird and decides to play it off as a joke. I realize that comedy is about pushing boundaries but scenes like these just feels wrong and tonally inconsistent with the rest of the show.
In summary, Big Mouth still seems to be trying to find it’s voice in season two. I hope it finds it season three because this show has some real potential. With the right shift in focus, it could rise to the likes of South Park or BoJack Horseman. But it is not there yet.