Puberty absolutely ravages most young adults. Rapidly developing bodies, an excess of hormones and a series of troubling changes ranging from the menstrual cycle to body odor creates nothing but turmoil for just about everyone.
Puberty is always extremely relevant, but rarely expressed outside of an awkward health class taken place in a gym. However, Netflix’s adult-centric animated comedy, "Big Mouth," dives into the topic full-force. The second season of this series, centered on awkward middle-school students, features a brazen approach toward puberty and adolescence.
"Big Mouth" allows these sex-crazed characters’ free range to explore the difficult aspects of growing up, all while building sincerity and often-educational messages. Hormone Monsters and Shame Wizards spark chaos within the character's young minds, leading to hilarious montages of uncomfortable actions, fantasies and the occasional musical number.
Co-created by Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, "Big Mouth" features Kroll as Nick with John Mulaney as his best friend Andrew. Other notable members of the voice cast include Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele, Fred Armisen, Jenny Slate, Gina Rodriguez and Jessi Klein.
Guest stars like Nathan Fillion, who plays himself, and the outstandingly complex Shame Wizard, portrayed by previous Hogwarts wizard David Thewlis, give this show a gravitas the guests enjoy working with.
Even one-off characters lead to this season's best comedy bits, featuring a smoking sock, a sensitive pitbull named Featuring Ludacris, and a disturbing oven mitt named Bad-Mitten.
The show feels like one of the smartest series available. Most of the characters' flaws are not created by their hormones, but aggravated by them. Ironically, the only level-headed character is Nick, who still does not have a fully-developed hormone monster impacting his every decision.
Andrew's struggle to control his raging hormones leads him to the most depraved actions of the season. Jessie's parents on the verge of divorce causes emotional turmoil, ultimately veering toward a dark path.
Meanwhile, Nick is just trying to understand why he is not developing like his peers.
This barely scratches the surface, and its an impressive feat given this season's short length of roughly five hours.
The writers know exactly what they are doing. Going into this season, there is a newfound comfort in how they approach their material. Being an unrated animated series, the show is unafraid to use graphic or unsettling imagery to convey their message.
Had this series been live-action, most of the humor would have been dialed down to fit the cookie-cutter-safe drama of a CW or FreeForm series. Instead, the series embraces going too far with its subjects to wring out additional meaning and emotional connectivity. Confidently juggling humor with empathy, the show masterfully brings together something special that is sure to please fans of both Mulaney and Kroll.
The second season is not easy to recommend. The humor can go into some dark and disturbing places when juggling the awkward subject matter. Thankfully, the experiences many people share with the characters keep viewers watching.
While the subject of depression felt tacked on to the final episode, there was enough ground covered to keep the story progressing. Mixed with some absurd humor and moderate character development, everything lends a helping hand to a complete story-arc.
If you have a keen interest to confuse and embarrass your roommate, while also laughing until you cry, "Big Mouth" is currently available to stream on Netflix.