Nick Kroll has done it again with season three of Big Mouth. The newest season of the beloved Netflix original knocked it out of the park. Each of the 11 new episodes is more outrageous than the last. Various storylines are brought to the forefront that were previously in the shadows, like Matthew’s (Andrew Rannells) love life and a deeper look into Missy’s (Jenny Slate) dark side. The episodes had a healthy range of one-off randoms and others that contributed to the actual storyline of the show.
Season three developed a lot of previously existing storylines but also seamlessly integrated completely new characters and explored uncharted bumps in the road of puberty. The new character that seemed to stand out the most and offered a new layer to Big Mouth was Ali (Ali Wong). Ali introduces herself to the class as pansexual, sending the grade into a frenzy. Many do not understand what pansexual means, while others oversexualize her based on her sexual preference. Pansexuality was a previously untouched topic on Big Mouth, but in my opinion, they did a good job of explaining it. Big Mouth went the extra mile and addressed the hierarchy often created among sexualities by discrediting Jay’s (Jason Mantzoukas) bisexuality based on the fact that he is a man. Bisexuality is explored by Jay’s rollercoaster journey, coming to a head when he bursts into Matthew’s broadcast and announces to the school he is bisexual. Unfortunately, the reality for many men exploring their sexuality is that they are dubbed strictly gay or attention-seeking, as seen in the uncomfortable scenes that unfold after Jay’s coming out. Although there has been a backlash about the definition of bisexuality provided by Big Mouth, I think their effort to bring different sexualities into the mainstream conversation is admirable. This is just one example of how Big Mouth tackles serious issues while maintaining the signature goofy, raunchy comedy that really sells the show.
Another relevant topic tackled by this season was slut-shaming. In “Girls Are Angry Too” the girls band together to fight back against the newly-enforced dress code that only targets females. The musical number in this episode features the girls in provocative outfits, reclaiming their bodies and the right to wear what they are comfortable in, which seemed mild at first until the boys joined in. The boys are depicted as predatorial, giving the girls unwanted attention and at that point, the girls turn it back on the boys claiming that the slut-walk is for them and intended to empower girls. Another layer to this episode was added when Missy explains that she is uncomfortable wearing revealing clothes, but that she is still an ally for free expression. Missy’s inner struggle between being assertive and submissive is subtle but definitely hints at the ever-present dynamic in the real world, as assertive girls are usually met with opposition.
Both Jay’s coming out story and Missy’s growth speaks to Big Mouth’s selling feature: the combination of humour and real-life issues. In addition to the balance of low-blow jokes and progressive subject matter, Big Mouth leans into its taboo nature.
In “How To Have an Orgasm”, Jessi learns all about the big O with the help of her hormone monstress Connie (Maya Rudolph). Nothing is left to the imagination; from start to finish this episode normalizes female pleasure in a relatable and hilarious way. Jessi’s fantasy is an elaborate jungle adventure, complete with a scandalous love interest. Big Mouth seamlessly pokes fun at issues while making a valiant effort to bring previously unmentioned topics into mainstream media.
As progressive as the show is, there is still a sufficient amount of solely comedic content. “Florida” is a prime example of how far Big Mouth is willing to go to get laughs out of their viewers. This episode really is a one-off, as it is random and has little relevance to the rest of the season. However, it is definitely one of the funniest ones out of season three. Nick Birch (Nick Kroll) and Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney) go to Florida to visit Andrew’s grandpa. The episode spirals into chaos, resulting in an incestuous relationship between Andrew and his cousin until a gaping sinkhole swallows up everything in sight. The shots made at Florida’s less than pristine reputation were plentiful: hick jokes, alligator jokes and incest jokes made for a truly hilarious episode.
Another stand out one-off was “Duke”, that seemed completely random but had enough cracks in it that it was worth the watch. The ghost of Duke Ellington (Jordan Peele) recalls how he lost his virginity in 1913 while also explaining his rise to fame. This episode enriched Duke’s character and was a good switch up from the normal middle school setting.
All-in-all, Big Mouth is comedic gold. On top of the hilarity, I was thoroughly impressed by the integration of real-life issues into the series. It is all about the balance of honesty and punchlines in comedy and Nick Kroll pulled it off perfectly.