By Meghan Rogers
Going through puberty was hard for everyone, but now that you have comfortably metamorphosed into a beautiful butterfly, hopefully you can now laugh along at one of Netflix’s newest shows, “Big Mouth.” “Big Mouth” is an animated show created by Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. The show is based on Kroll’s and Goldberg’s childhood growing up in New York. The show focuses primarily on the characters, all in early middle school, as they go through puberty and their relationship to their respective “hormone monsters.” Maurice the Hormone Monster (voiced by Kroll) and Connie the Hormone Monstress (voiced by Maya Rudolph), are shown as hypersexual extremes.Though they are both often the funniest characters, a lot of their material can be considered gross. Nevertheless, you’ll be sure to laugh awkwardly at their disturbing and unfortunately relatable jokes. They are most closely shown as the Freudian “id,” spouting obscene advice at their pubescent “clients” that the pre-teen must then filter into a more socially acceptable statement. In this way, the hormone monsters live up to their name as monsters that the young characters must learn to deal and live with harmoniously.
As a whole, having a TV show that talks about puberty in such a candid, accessible and funny way is an important step towards sex positivity. However, I don’t think that the way the show is approached would be something that would be very educational or beneficial to the people actually going through puberty. I think most of the humor coming from it is more of a laugh of shared embarrassment due to having gone through the process already.
Even though the show is educational about puberty, I think that it would make most people going through puberty very uncomfortable. For instance, many of the characters express wanting to masturbate frequently and it is shown often. For people that are going through puberty, this has not been normalized enough on a cultural level for them to be able to comfortably watch the program, especially around other people. While it may reflect the experience of puberty with gut-wrenching accuracy, they seem intended to pull from viewers’ deep memories, rather than their current experiences. Also, many of the jokes are geared towards a more mature audience, with references to pop culture or older shows like “Seinfeld” that could go over the head of a younger audience.
Maurice the Hormone Monster describes it best in the last episode: “Look, I know this all seems embarrassing now, boys, but maybe one day you’ll look back on this fondly, and perhaps even make something beautiful out of it.” In the ways that the creators were able to reflect on their embarrassing moments going through puberty, they create a show that allows its audience to see puberty as an experience of shared growth and humor.