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Understanding the crude presentation of ‘Big Mouth’

by Dakota Gordon

Raunchy comedies seem to be more prevalent now-a-days than ever before, especially with the rise in popularity of celebrities like Seth Green or Adam DeVine. With this surge in popularity, it becomes easier for major studios and streaming services to fund projects that are not presently family-friendly, at least not in their surface content.

What this also creates is opportunity to turn said raunchiness into a lesson of humanity and the experiences nearly every person goes through within a certain period in their life. So, we introduce Big Mouth, the latest Netflix-exclusive series to gross out many viewers within the first two minutes of its first episode.

Its shtick, or perhaps its moral lesson, is the use of over-exaggerating the sexual awakening of kids and the way society reacts to it. Many different interpretations of this are explored, including the conservative outlook, which doesn’t dare even bring it up, as well as the liberal perspective, which seems far too open about it for the children’s comfort. Most of all, the kids’ perspectives are the forefront of the content within, giving reason and an adult-oriented platform of mockery for the embarrassing details of their maturation long, long ago.

Despite the somewhat innocent premise, the execution of the comedy and the narrative of each episode is filled to the brim with things kids wouldn’t even consider to understand. Much like Family Guy or The Simpsons, Big Mouth is an animation suited for those who have already grown into their matured states, both for the opportunity of empathy and in understanding the humor outside of the spectrum of sexual progression, which this show will throw in every once in a while.

Despite the manner in which the premise is explored and the points it receives for being so frank about things almost never explored in mainstream television, as a form of entertainment in a general sense, the humor and plot situations are rather forced. Awkward is a prime component of Big Mouth’s humor, but it lays it on so thoroughly thick that the crudeness of its topic material becomes cruder as a result. Off-putting is something that has been a label this show has produced, and I’m willing to agree only for the sake of how rampantly overplayed a lot of the comedy is produced. It’s not even how uncontrollable these kids find their developing selves, but the way the writers try to make everything so low-brow.

Even outside of the sexual tendencies, the humor is full of running gags that are rarely funny or make no sense within the context of the situation present. Randomness on its own is almost never funny. There should be a point, or a reason to make the randomness make sense. This, among other forced principals, is what makes Big Mouth an unflatteringly entertaining watch. At least, with all this said, it remains a perfectly watchable series. Its essence of memorability may be negatively-tinged, nonetheless.

Topics of menstruation and masturbation are very prominent throughout, along with the way these kids view each other’s lives, behavior, gender, and sexuality. That in and of itself shouldn’t be gross or looked down upon, though I don’t think this is the proper way to convey it. Society’s current fascination with laughing off everything to make it not serious anymore may be backfiring here, with as serious as these topics are to some, including those experiencing it, perhaps it would be wiser to have a more somber tone.

That isn’t to say Big Mouth isn’t ever serious, but it plays itself too adamantly in a comedic light, and a raunchy one, to come across as particularly heartwarming or optimistic.

Should walking representations of male genitalia be your thing, however, this may become your new favorite series.

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