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Netflix show in review: “Big Mouth”

The+Winonan%E2%80%99s+film+reporter+rates+this+film+4.5%2F5+stars
The Winonan’s film reporter rates this film 4.5/5 stars

The Winonan’s film reporter rates this film 4.5/5 stars

The Winonan’s film reporter rates this film 4.5/5 stars

Nate Nelson, Features Reporter

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We’re sitting in the middle of an adult animation renaissance and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. From the depressing and poignant “Bojack Horseman,” to the manic narcissism of “Rick and Morty,” to the goofy heart of Tyler, the Creator’s “The Jellies,” it seems like animators have finally gotten the hang of making cartoons that are both hilarious and deeply affecting. Even so, it’s still a bit surprising that for Netflix’s newest animated series, “Big Mouth,” showrunners Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg decided to take the subject back to puberty. What’s even more surprising is how delightfully mature and relatable the show really is.

“Big Mouth” is a show about the monsters that come out during those uncomfortable middle years, both literally and figuratively. Based on Kroll and Goldberg’s own childhood, the 10-episode season focuses on the changes kids endure through middle school and how that effects their lives. Now, that statement sounds very serious and at times, the show is. While “Big Mouth” is absolutely a wacky show complete with talking vaginas and puberty monsters that come out to pester horny preteens, the depictions of the problems are disturbingly accurate and, for adults, allows a humorous way to look back on their younger years with a mixed dose of cringe and empathy.

Kroll voices the main character Nick Birch, with the eponymous ‘big mouth,’ who is a 12-year-old kid with the usual worries of that age: why is he smaller than his best friend, why is dating so difficult, why do his parents weird him

out, when will he start puberty himself, etc.

With his best friends Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney), a masturbation addict and overall awkward goon, and Jessi Glaser (Jessi Klein), a girl dealing with her first period and how to effectively scream at her mom, the group navigates their way through the tempest that is adolescence while dealing with their biggest obstacles: the Hormone Monsters.

The Hormone Monsters are probably the biggest hook of “Big Mouth.” By portraying the anxieties and problems of puberty as physical monsters, the show is capable of some truly bizarre visual comedy while also shedding light on the moments of weirdness that define what it’s like to be a teenager: relationships start and end within weeks, leading to depression and thoughts of never being loved by anyone again ever, because that’s how life works. Fleeing to the bathroom after jizzing in a pair of slacks from being just a little too close. Accidentally seeing your friend’s junk and suddenly feeling wildly incompetent. Small moments like these, which most of us have experienced in one form or another, are what puberty is all about, and “Big Mouth” understands that more than any other show on television.

But the reason you’re going to want to watch “Big Mouth” is for the comedy and on that side, the show absolutely kills it. It’s hysterical. I mean, this is a show where Jordan Peele plays the ghost of Duke Ellington. From the aforementioned visual comedy and hypersexuality, to the off-kilter characters and wacky situations, the show is a complete onslaught of laughs. There are moments in the show where you’ll cringe a little, and some sour quips, but for every low note there’s a beat that’s so utterly genius that you completely forget about it. This is also the first time a Netflix show has been so openly meta about it being a Netflix show, and how they play with that concept is an utter delight.

To be frank, “Big Mouth” is a blast of a show that will send your sides into space while also making you feel really uncomfortable about that one day in gym class. It’s sincere, mature, nostalgic and just a real easy watch. To be honest, I always feel like I’ll get tired about writing reviews of so many works from a single streaming site, but they keep reeling me back in with series like this. “Big Mouth” could never happen on TV. It’s too risqué, too obtuse and too straight up ‘not safe for work’ for any network to pick it up. But thankfully, Netflix did and now we’ve got another inimitable comedy to binge on a Saturday night. 4.5/5

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Netflix show in review: “Big Mouth”