A cartoon series centring around the pains and pitfalls of puberty, voiced by some of the biggest comedians in America, there’s no denying that ‘Big Mouth’ is one of the most bizarre original series Netflix has offered up.
Debuting last year, ‘Big Mouth’ managed to garner a cult following thanks to its offbeat sense of humour and the mix of hilarity and relatable shame that made ‘The Inbetweeners’ a huge success in the 2000s.
Admittedly, it hasn’t quite hit the cultural impact of Netflix offerings like ‘Stranger Things’, ‘The Crown’ and even ‘Bojack Horseman’, another animated show on the streaming service, but if you’re looking for a good laugh and a show with heart, we recommend swotting up on ‘Big Mouth’ before the new season drops in October, and here are six reasons why…
1. The stupid jokes
As we said, it’s a show that largely centres around a group of teenagers going through puberty, so the humour isn’t exactly ‘QI’ levels of high-brow.
However, ‘Big Mouth’ is about a lot more than dick jokes (not that there aren’t plenty of those too), with many of the show’s funnier moments coming from its silly and, at times, quite surreal sense of humour.
For example, main character Nick regular seeks advice from the ghost of jazz legend, Duke Ellington, who haunts his attic, while the regular plot will be interspersed with scenes reminiscent of ‘Seinfeld’ or ‘The Office’, for no reason other than to give the viewer a nonsequitous chuckle.
2. The unusual cast of characters
Believe it or not, the ghost of Duke Ellington (voiced by recent Oscar winner Jordan Peele, no less) is just the tip of the iceberg. In the first episode, we’re also introduced to a creature called The Hormone Monster, who follows Nick’s friend Andrew around and coerces him into behaving in a stereotypically teenage fashion (later, we meet the grotesque-but-glamorous Hormone Monstress, who guides the girls in a similar fashion).
To top it off, there’s also the camp and cutting Matthew, who delivers the biggest gossip of the day at his high school’s daily announcements; a gym teacher with no sense of social cues; Nick’s oversharing parents, and a plate of expired scallops, who taunt Andrew’s father ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ style.
3. Embarrassing moments
But yeah, as we mentioned, the central theme of ‘Big Mouth’ is the tough time we all go through during puberty, and that means some cringe-inducing horrors for all of our heroes at one point or another.
Whether we’re recoiling at Nick’s realisation that he’s yet to catch up to his friend in certain *cough* areas, empathising with Jessi as she has the worst-timed first period in history, or physically hiding our head in our hands when Andrew is left flushing his trousers down the toilet after the worst kind of “accident”, every time we watch ‘Big Mouth’ we’re extraordinarily grateful those painful days are behind us.
4. Celebrity cameos (both real and fake)
The show went briefly viral last year, thanks to a scene featuring a voice cameo from Kristen Wiig as (wait for it) Jessi’s chipper and enthusiastic genitals, who cheerfully talk her through her own body as she takes a never-before-seen look at herself in a mirror.
But she isn’t the only celebrity who’s appeared in ‘Big Mouth’, with ‘The Good Place’ star Kristen Bell lending her voice to a talking pillow who eventually becomes impregnated by one of the teen characters, Jon Hamm as the talking scallops and Nathan Fillion as… a dog who looks like him.
Meanwhile, one of our favourite scenes of series 1 comes when the show’s regular cast members voice ghost versions of Whitney Houston, Elizabeth Taylor, Prince and Pablo Picasso at a party in Duke Ellington’s attic, while nods to Tom Cruise, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Sylvester Stallone and various other stars pepper the show.
5. Musical numbers
Let’s be honest, from ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ to ‘American Dad’ and even the recent fifth season of ‘Bojack Horseman’, who doesn’t love a musical number in an animated sitcom? In fact, who doesn’t love a musical number full stop?
We’re pleased to note that ‘Big Mouth’ throws out plenty of ditties over its first 10 episodes, from a parody of R.E.M.’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ sung from the prospective of a giant tampon, to a song in which Andrew speculates that he might be gay (led by the ghost of Freddie Mercury, naturally).
Our personal favourite comes towards the end of series one, though, when the entire cast comes together to perform an uncomfortably cheerful rendition of ‘Life Is A Fucked Up Mess’ at Jessi’s bat mitzvah.
6. It’s actually surprisingly lovely
While ‘Big Mouth’ brings plenty to the table, the thing we like about it the most is that it does have a lot of heart at its centre.
The friendship between lead characters Andrew and Nick is just lovely, while the guidance the latter receives from his sister and parents is also touching at times, even when it’s being played for laughs.
Supporting characters like Missi and Matthew easily endear themselves to viewers too, so that even when the show is at its most uncomfortable, you’re still rooting for pretty much everyone.
The first 10 episodes of ‘Big Mouth’ are now available to stream on Netflix, while the second series is coming on 5 October.