The second season of Netflix’s Big Mouth is as strong as its first in depicting the embarrassing side of growing up.
Ahh, adolescence. Things are getting hairier, emotions are flooding through you, and you feud with your parents about the dumbest things imaginable. The worst part about puberty is that you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel, but then you still have to wade belly deep through crap for years before you reach adulthood. It never ends. That sad realization and continued embarrassment is echoed hilariously in the second season of Netflix’s Big Mouth.
Nick and Andrew (voiced by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, respectively) are going through the gentler pangs of puberty in the season premiere of Season 2. Nick is frustrated that he hasn’t experienced a true growth spurt yet while Andrew is shy about how much he’s grown. Andrew’s father constantly refers to his son as “big man,” but Andrew doesn’t understand why everyone has to point out how much taller he’s gotten (“He’s like Andre the Giant with none of the charisma!” his dad barks over dinner).
One of the strongest aspects of the first few episodes of the new season is how it centers on how young girls are constantly anxious about their own bodies. Jessi (voiced by Jessi Klein) is still coming to terms with her mother being in a relationship with another woman, but Missy starts to have a mean-girl version of herself floating around her at all times. Jenny Slate does an admirable job of infusing the bully version of Missy with her soft cadence. Missy’s mother takes Jessi and Missy to a spa to learn to celebrate their bodies, and it culminates with a disco-inspired musical number sung by Maya Rudolph’s Hormone Monstrous, complete with naked women of all shapes and sizes. If “I Love My Body” doesn’t snag an Emmy nomination, I will go full Hormone Monster and destroy something myself.
There are two major additions to this sophomore season. Gina Rodriguez plays Gina, a girl whose breasts blossom so much over the summer that she becomes the object of lust of every prepubescent boy at school. Jessi has to remind Nick, Andrew, and Jay that Gina has been classmates with them for years when they constantly refer to her as “the new girl.” It’s a nice reminder that while both Nick and Andrew both want to be upstanding young men, they have a lot to learn about being respectful. David Thewlis voices the sinister Shame Wizard, a vampire-like spirit that taunts Andrew after he gets caught masturbating to the thought of Nick’s sister…by Nick’s sister. It’s so jarring to hear Thewlis saying naughty things in his upper-crust British accent. Beware Harry Potter fans!
The adults do get to butt in on the kids’ screen time a bit more this season, but Coach Steve is given too much focus. The kids discover that their sex-ed instructor is a virgin and they have to step in to help him, but it’s mostly one joke about his sexual ineptitude over and over again.
Puberty is hell, and it sucks for everyone. The least thing we can do to soften the ugliness is add a little humor to make it a little more bearable.