Opinion: Big Mouth uses irreverent humor to deconstruct serious social issues

The Netflix cartoon is known for its crude humor, but the show has proven that it can also be educational and constructive.



"Big Mouth" (Netflix)

Krystin Langer, Columnist

The third season of “Big Mouth” was released Oct. 4 on Netflix and has proven to be even more shocking and promiscuous than the preceding seasons.

The show features the voices of actors such as Nick Kroll (who voices several of the characters), John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, and Jordan Peele. The plot revolves around pubescent teenagers that are “going through changes,” as narrated by the show’s catchy opening tune.

The show about middle school may masquerade as a children’s cartoon, but this season of “Big Mouth” discusses issues that are meant for a much more mature audience.

The show does a thorough job of touching on certain relevant issues in an impudent and humorous manner, even though a portion of each episode’s content is baseless humor.

In particular, this season of “Big Mouth” has specifically focused on some controversially obscene topics. With episodes that revolve around subjects such as sending risqué pictures and masturbation — it seems that the writers of the season have left no boundaries uncrossed.

A Vulture review praised the show for its portrayal of the growing pains that come with the early teenage years.

“This is a show that understands and depicts puberty in all its uncomfortable shades and colors, it gets how awkward it is that your body constantly plays practical jokes on you,” the culture site said.

One episode from this season broadly discussed different sexual orientations. A leading character, Jay, decides to come out to his friends as bisexual after he is inspired by the new girl at school who has recently come out as pansexual.

The episode goes into further detail about the difference of gender and sexuality, using an array of the shows animated gags to illustrate the complexities of identity.

Another episode touches on a pertinent issue regarding the over-sexualization of girls by using the storyline of a dress code meant only for girls imposed upon the school by a misogynistic character, Mr. Lizer.

One of the main characters, Jessi, starts an uproar in response to the new code and gathers her fellow female peers to participate in a “slut walk” to protest the discrimination.

The use of crude humor throughout the show gives it a much more flippant tone; however, the underlying message of the episode shows how body shaming and rape culture is still evident.

While the use of talking genitals, such as the one voiced by Kristen Wig, may seem to be meant for an immature audience, the open discussion throughout the show regarding sexuality and discrimination is surprisingly informational.

Although I am hesitant to promote something as vulgar as a coming-of-age story, this season of “Big Mouth” has proven that maybe nonsensical humor and sexual education can come together to form a successful TV show.

The crude jokes may at first seem like simple, gross-out humor, but the underlying messages take social conversations to a much deeper level than they otherwise could.


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