Big Mouth Season 3 (2019)
creator: nick kroll | runtime: 30mins – 10 episodes | comedy, animation
In Season 1 of Netflix’s biggest gem Big Mouth, Nick Kroll hilariously vignetted all of the hormonal struggles that we are stricken with in puberty and despite the TV shows heavy influence of fantasy and absurdity, there was always an element that rings very true with you. In Season 2, there was a strong focus on what made the first season so applauded while giving the show it’s own voice in expanded genres (the sex ed episode is probably the highlight) and also telling the audience that along with the characters, the show is also going through rigorous changes. A year later though in Season 3, we get to see a much more fleshed out show, and unlike it’s characters who are still deep into the self discovery of adolescence, Big Mouth can proudly say it knows who it is and in process finds much more room to expand and even improve.
One of the inherent struggles of the first two seasons was the fact that, despite being a hilarious commentary on the struggles we once had, a lot of it’s characters were only there for the laughs. Character focuses barely left the realms of the shows four main characters, Nick, Jesse, Andrew and Jay, which unfortunately left the others riding on their laughs and stereotypes. But one of the strongest parts of this new season is that we finally get to see all the characters given attention, with particular standouts being Matthew’s (Andrew Rannells) transition from one dimensional gay best friend to a character fighting his feelings with the introduction of his love interest Aiden (Zachary Quinto). Other standouts include a Duke Ellington (Jordan Peele) backstory, and Lola’s inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Even Caleb manages to get an episode that takes place in his mind. Kroll is definitely tuning his show to have depth and a wide variety of characters to work with, and it leaves the future beaming with possibilities.
The show has always had a focus on universal truths (albeit exaggerated ones) about growing up and the timeless struggles we all had in our younger days with our bodies, but what the new season does differently is tweak it’s focus to a more contemporary selection of problems while never losing sight of it’s unique approach to adolescence. Not only that but it joins modern conversations like ‘rape culture’ in an episode that tackles misogyny in the form of a mandatory dress code, which subjects the female characters to wearing Hamburglar costumes if they don’t meet the new regulations. This episode is actually the most interesting, because it makes it’s opinions very clear but also keeps within the confines of it’s own world. As Nick is torn between fighting for the girls or siding with the animalistic boys, between being a good person or being called a ‘p***y’, this seems a strange argument to make but what the show realises so well is that in a locker room atmosphere, being called names is a child’s biggest fear. It’s about the so-called ‘child politics’ that Nick talks about. For that the show gets it’s praise, challenging the views of the world but also keeping within the confines of the show’s child-like logic.
Another great nod too today’s culture is the episode titled Cellsea, in which Nick becomes obsessed with clickbait content and turns the idea of screen attachment into a forbidden love between Nick and his talking phone. The talking phone, named Cellsea, is voiced by Chelsea Peretti who continues the shows running theme of genius casting. Along with Peretti is Thandie Newton as Missy’s new Hormone Monstrous and Ali Wong as a pansexual new student, these are all great additions to already talented cast that continue to give the show more depth, more laughs and an even more promising future.
For all this shows progression and expansion the reason it really is so popular is because it’s so funny. Maurie’s obscene sexual scenarios are still ripe with vulgarity, as well as the shows continuous digs at popular culture and Netflix itself. Kroll has built his show around kids who are just trying to discover who they are and in many ways the show mirrors that same discovery. However, with multiple genres, original songs and jokes that land nearly every time (except for a few that are a bit too throwaway), Big Mouth has found it’s voice, and in turn found a level of maturity in it’s own barbaric way.