There’s been a real boom in adult animation over the last few years. No longer are we stuck with the average adventures of Seth McFarlane’s suburban series, instead streamers everywhere are engaged in a fierce competition to see who can host the lewdest cartoon.
As it stands, Netflix are winning. Their hugely popular Big Mouth follows the huge headed and little legged pre-teens of Bridgeton Middle School, who have started noticing some changes…Yep, puberty has hit, and it ain’t pretty. Hormones are appearing in the form of hairy, hooved sex-obsessed beasts, and they’re trying (and failing) to guide their mini protégés through the perils of puberty.
It’s cringeworthily crude – there’s talking genitalia – and watching it you are guaranteed to find yourself grimacing. But you’ll also be laughing. Because despite all the spit-your-tea-out vulgarity, and the jokes too gross for granny, the show is somehow still witty, intelligent, and (dare we say it), tender. Yes, there are entire episodes dedicated to obsessive self-pleasure, poo-fright and shagging pillows, but whilst being about all these things, they’re also about emerging sexuality, and trying to somehow build a healthy relationship with your body and its desires despite there being no clear way to do that. In this way, the critically acclaimed series is incredibly emotionally intelligent – we watch these painfully awkward kids learn about consent, the implications of objectification, same-sex desires, toxic masculinity, race identity and mental health. It’s the definition of ‘woke’, but without any of the preaching.
Arielle Bernstein in The Guardian can clearly see past the crude, saying, “Big Mouth’s insistence that young people can grapple with morality and kindness, even when trying to keep their unruly hormone monsters at bay, is as affecting as it is hopeful.” And she’s not the only one taking the show seriously, in The New York Times Molly Young calls creator Nick Kroll the “Picasso of puberty.” Now there’s a compliment. Hank Stuever of The Washington Post says: “there’s a frankness and honesty beneath the show’s raunchiness that sometimes echo the best work of Judy Blume and other great chroniclers of adolescent angst.”
First shown September 2017. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here: