Photo By: Noah Nickel via Netflix

Big Mouth is a Netflix cartoon about puberty produced by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. The characters are in middle school, but the target audience is older, with intense raunchy jokes, animated gore, and highly-specific pop-culture references. 

It allows the audience to look back on their own horribly awkward coming-of-age moments and laugh. Despite the show taking a light tone, adults can still relate to the kinds of complicated feelings the characters are dealing with.

There’s a certain self-awareness that really makes the show work and that’s probably the reason it’s been able to run successfully for five seasons. The humour becomes horribly cringe-worthy at times, but for fans of that kind of thing it works and for a show about the tribulations of puberty, it makes sense.

This season emphasizes the importance of platonic love and of learning from one’s mistakes. The characters do messed up stuff and they learn from it, and the audience gets to learn too. It has moments of genuinely poignant commentary on people’s tendency towards self hatred.

The characters have silly voices, and the voices really make the show work, embracing the animated medium. While yes, the animation is ugly, it’s for a reason. As a show about young people exploring their sexuality, it’s important that the animation be thoroughly un-sexy because the goal of the show is not to sexualize the characters.

One may think that the premise would be getting old by now, which is fair to an extent, it’s probably not a good idea to watch all the seasons in one sitting, but watching a season every time it comes out is fun. The writing keeps introducing new themes, characters, and dynamics that keep the world of the story interesting while still feeling as though everything belongs.

There’s a Shakespeare episode and a Christmas special this season. The Shakespeare episode is one of the best ones yet, it effectively mobilizes themes and imagery from Othello to create parallels with the interpersonal conflict of the characters. The Christmas special compiles a series of stories in an anthology style which makes the episode a bit hit-or-miss. It doesn’t fit super well in the arc of the rest of the season, but it does have puppets which is fun.

This is a weird show, no one can deny that, but at its heart it’s pretty good. There’s a real sense of honesty and a willingness to take risks that makes it into a very fun guilty pleasure show to put on with friends and snacks. The laugh out loud moments are fun and the parts that don’t deliver as much comedy are certainly tolerable.

Fans of the show will not be disappointed with the new season, but people who don’t like it will not be won over. The creators have found their niche and the formula that works for that niche. Despite figuring out the formula, the writers were still able to deliver an at times unpredictable and generally pretty weird season.