“Big Mouth’s” Valentine’s Day special is much more than edgy romantic humor


(Screenshotted by Meghan Carney)

Meghan Carney, Writer

“It’s Valentine’s Day at Bridgeton Middle. Who’s your valentine? If you don’t have one you’re probably ugly and don’t know it” announces Mathew, the gossip guru and king of snarky comments. Since its release in 2017, “Big Mouth” has been pushing the envelope on how edgy they make jokes about topics normally considered to be taboo, such as sex and puberty.

After two seasons of 24-minute episodes, creator Nick Kroll released a 46-minute Valentine’s Day special, titled “My Furry Valentine.” Like the two previous seasons, this special follows Nick, Andrew, Jessie and Jay as they navigate the changes in their lives including relationships, parents and the amalgamations of these changes formed by their imaginations: hormone monsters Maurice and Connie.

“Big Mouth” draws mass appeal from it’s all star cast. An animated comedy about puberty sounds like a difficult show to sell to viewers; however, Kroll teamed up with John Mulaney, Jason Mantzoukas, Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph Jordan Peele and many other A-list comedians.

In this special, the plot is driven by the stress that comes with Valentine’s Day. All the characters are focused on the social pressures of not wanting to look weird in front of their peers. Everyone has their own struggles, whether it is Andrew trying to look cool in front of the girl he likes, Jessie living through with her parents divorce or Mathew dealing with being the only openly gay student at their middle school.

The jokes made in “Big Mouth” often shock viewers by being obscene and direct as they discuss issues that are normally considered taboo. These jokes are crucial to the show, because laughing eases the tension and cringe-worthy moments that everyone went through in middle school, especially these fictional characters. The addition of the crude and sexually liberated hormone monsters, display how hectic each of the teenagers’ thoughts are in their pursuit to survive these difficult years of their lives.

Kroll includes musical numbers and frequent pop culture references to keep the animated series entertaining aside from the inappropriate jokes and outright discussion of uncomfortable subjects. Each of the characters is a caricature of extreme teenage emotion, in this case dreading Valentine’s Day because each of the characters feel alone. When they talk to their hormone monsters, they are well aware that they are figments of their imagination, however they continue to attempt to reason with them, so that the audience is able to see their internal struggles.

Parents are also a subject that “Big Mouth” satirizes. There is an interesting comparison between Nick’s parents who are often too open with their children in a disturbing way, and Andrew’s parents who are on the opposite end of the spectrum, regularly acting closed off and treating teenage issues as though they don’t exist. Fred Armisen delivers a standout performance as Nick’s dad, who has absolutely no boundaries as to what he will discuss with his children. Jessie is struggling with her parents divorce, and holds contempt towards her mother’s new partner Dina. A variety of family types are presented and each are satirized to display the various struggles of parents and teenagers connecting.

Maya Rudolph as the hormone monstress, serves as a brilliant representation of female feelings of inadequacy. She acts as the driving force that causes Jessie’s teenage angst to overcome her as she fights with her mother and runs from home. The show manages to tackle feelings of inferiority without portraying women as crazy, which is cliche and boring. Connie, the monstress is unreasonable and hilarious, and Jessie, the actual female character, weighs the value of her comments.

“Big Mouth” is more than just a Netflix original with vulgar jokes about puberty. Yes, there are plenty of vulgar jokes about puberty, however the actual show is about important events in a young person’s life and growing up. Even though it is animated, the characters seem as though they could be real, and audience members connect with them and want things to work out in their favor. The jokes are genuinely worthy of laughing out loud, but the message is one that everyone can relate to looking back on their teenage years.

Email Meghan at [email protected] or Follow her on Twitter @meghan_carney_.

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