Big Mouth Season Two demonstrates how raunchy comedy and progressive television can go hand-in-hand to create an unpretentious masterpiece. Created by Nick Kroll, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin, and Andrew Goldberg, this riveting sex-comedy follows the journey of a group of pubescent kids through the ugliest phases of puberty. From masturbation to depression, every phase of adolescence is explored and made fun of at the same time, while maintaining the integrity of the main themes.
Compared to season one, this season has developed both plot and themes masterfully. While the first season focused mainly on stereotypical pubescent behaviour, this season explores its consequences, particularly relating to social constructs and how boys and girls experience it differently. The main player in this development is the Shame Wizard, a creepy being whose biggest role is to contrast the Hormone Monster by shaming the kids for their hormonal impulses: while it might help keep civility in place, when ungoverned, shame does more harm than good, by tainting the already fragile self-esteem of young kids.
Through this added dimension, the writers are able to deconstruct and comment on stereotypical representations of puberty. For example, the exploration of double standards stands out, by being honest and self-reflective: in fact, while in the first episode we are found laughing at the boys slobbering over Gina’s body, by the end we are exploring the negative effects of this behaviour on Missy and Jessi. Jessi is found blaming others and slut-shaming, while Missy destroys her self-image. And yet, the writers don’t stop here. By the last episode, we are left with the empowering message that ultimately points to self-respect and love, while still leaving space for shame to play a role in our lives.
Less thrilling was the revelation of Jay’s bisexuality. In fact, the characterisation of Jay as a hypersexual psychopath is unfortunately a common trope of bisexuality in TV. A similar revelation can be seen in the character of Todd in Scrubs (2001-2010) who, having acted as the hospital’s pervert for most seasons, is revealed to be bisexual. This draws the dangerous connection between promiscuity and bisexuality, which is troubling. However, this story-line has room for improvement, as it will probably be explored in season three.
Lastly, animation is the perfect medium for this show. Not only it allows writers to get away with jokes that might have come out as distasteful in other manners, but also allows it to expand on the mythology of the show. However, the main strength of the show is its duality. While never taking itself too seriously, it takes a decisive stance on several controversial topics. Charismatic, innovative and most of all fun, it is only in a show like Big Mouth that the viewer will find hilarity in an abortion scene set to the tunes of “Groove is in the heart”.