Big Mouth S5 reminds us that shame is universal
Has there ever been a show hornier than this?
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This week, I’ve been mourning the death of Tumblr more than ever. Between the years of 2012 and 2016, Tumblr played an enormous role in my life. I’d spend hours on the site every night, reblogging tacky quotes and photos of cityscapes, high fashion looks and half-naked bodies. My page was a perfectly curated visual archive, complete with falling-snowflake effects and a music embed that played The Script whenever someone ventured upon it.
For myself, and many of my friends, Tumblr was a formative experience. While there are a few things I can attribute my sexual awakening to, this site would undoubtedly be the first on the list. Over the years, my dashboard steadily morphed from Teen Wolf content (mainly just Colton Haynes and Tyler Hoechlin thirst traps) to straight-up softcore porn – although, to be honest, there’s an argument to be made that Teen Wolf already falls into this category.
Whilst I don’t miss that period of my life, there are still moments when I’ll grieve its loss. The same can be said for my adolescence — I’ll feel reminiscent, even though I’m glad it’s far behind me. Fortunately, when that happens, I can turn to Big Mouth, a show rife with teenage horniness and images you can literally smell, a combination that takes me right back to five years ago.
Big Mouth S5
There’s no way to describe Big Mouth other than as a hormonal cesspool. It’s a show filled with horniness for horniness’ sake, the pinnacle of the pubescent experience. Based on Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg’s own upbringing in New York City, the animated series is a pure explosion of hypersexual chaos, which, between No-Nut November references, newfound crushes, incessant dry-humping, edging, exhibitionism, and a LOT of ejaculation, leaves you no time to think. You’re overloaded with stimulation at all times — there’s hormone monsters, love bugs, and pillow sex — which, all in all, perfectly encapsulates the teenage experience in all its unadulterated humptastic glory.
But as most of us know all too well, puberty is just as awkward as it is sexual. We see this represented early on in the new season 5, in an episode where the eighth graders of Bridgeton Middle School attend swim class. What starts as an exciting experience quickly transforms into a torrid and insecurity-loaden horror story. Missy’s man-of-her-wet-dreams backs away in disgust after seeing her bacne, Lola gets teased about her camel toe, Jessi’s leg hair earns her a lesson in female beauty standards, Nick starts questioning whether girls care about penis size, and Andrew becomes self-conscious about his overflowing pubic hair, which, tuck as he might, he can’t hide inside his bathers.
Emotions are a hyperbolic affair in Big Mouth – they take the form of tangible creatures, internal monologues brought to life. There are the hate worms that sliver into the characters’ souls, love bugs that capture the contagion of that’s-amore bliss, and the hormone monsters we’ve come to know and love. Then there’s shame, which manifests itself as a grotesque apparition, a blue and red-eyed wizard who appears in and out of the tweens’ lives, haunting them with a perpetual array of sources for embarrassment. It’s this shame that drives the characters into an anxiety-driven daze, as they try to rid themselves of his icky grasp. Nick sticks his junk into a vacuum cleaner to help his penis grow, Jessi goes to town on her legs with an old rusty razor, Andrew heads for the hair removal cream, Missy takes a needle to her bacne, and, in true Gwyneth Paltrow-inspired fashion, Lola inserts an egg into her vagina to tighten her labia, only instead of a yoni egg, she uses a real one.
Big Mouth is a comedic clusterfuck that bares all, a mishmash of Sex Education and Never Have I Ever, only 10 times, raunchier, hornier, and with way more bodily fluids. The characters are ones everyone can see themselves in, and their struggles are as universally relatable as they are irreverently funny, serving as proof that animations aren’t just for kids anymore. But while Big Mouth’s cartoonish nature allows it to lean even further into taboo topics, pushing the boundaries of sexuality on screen, it doesn’t shy away from deeper themes either. It’s a balancing act that the showrunners and writers do well, ugly embarrassing experiences making way for important life lessons. Each episode is an earnestly constructed allegory for puberty — there’s the awkwardness, the isolation, and, finally, the realisation that shame is an experience that’s best shared.
Big Mouth S5 is streaming tonight.
Watch these too:
Sex Education if you haven’t had the chance to yet. A teenage boy sets up an underground clinic at his school, redispensing the advice of his sex-therapist mother. Raunchy, funny, and just as horny.
Rick and Morty for more proof that cartoons aren’t just for kids. Follow Morty and his kooky scientist grandfather, Rick, on zany adventures through the universe, causing mayhem wherever they go.
Nothing will capture that coming of age experience as perfectly as Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, Eighth Grade, a moving account of the adolescent struggle. Exploring self-doubt, popularity, and anxiety, this film is sure to hit close to home.
Never Have I Ever, Mindy Kaling’s coming-of-age drama. It’s a show that tears down stereotypes about South-East Asians, but don’t worry, there’s just as much saliva and just as many love triangles involved too.
I can’t stop thinking about:
Queer icon Kristen Stewart got engaged to Dylan Meyer over the weekend. Sorry Edward Cullen, you missed your chance babes.
AACTA nominations, for obvious reasons. A huge shoutout to Clickbait which was nominated for Best Drama Series, Dive Club for Best Children’s Program, and Hannah Gadbsy: Douglas and Rhys Nicholson: Live At The Athenaeum for Best Stand-Up Special.
Not one to stay in her sister’s shadow, Kim Kardashian has been making waves after being spotted holding hands and having a private dinner with the epitome of BDE Pete Davidson. Yes, I would die for them!
The queen is back. That is all.