Big Mouth’s first season covered everything about puberty, from the onset of weird urges to the mind-blowing fact that “girls are horny too” (literally, several characters’ heads exploded when they found out). Big Mouth Season 2 has arrived on Netflix, and it’s just as bonkers as Season 1, with musical numbers about the beauty of all–all–female bodies, a new character called the Shame Wizard, and more awkward insanity. It’s all in good fun, and often in lovably bad taste. Is there a line the show won’t cross? As co-creator and star Nick Kroll confirmed at New York Comic Con, nothing is off limits in Big Mouth.
“No, I think the whole idea of this show is that we take what seems to be things that seem to be off limits and find our way of telling the funniest, most truthful version of that,” Kroll said during a press conference that also included actors Jason Mantzoukas, Jenny Slate, Jessi Klein, and Fred Armisen. “I mean, there have been certain jokes, or visuals that you see, and you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I need to see a thermometer taken out of Coach Hormone Monster’s penis. Maybe we don’t need to put that in the show.'”
“I do. I need to see that. I would love to see that footage,” Mantzoukas added.
“I need to get the thermometer taken out of my penis,” Slate chimed in.
“Did you figure it out? Do you have a fever?” Mantzoukas replied.
“I think it’s really hot, yeah,” Slate added.
“She calls her penis Nick Lachey because it’s always 98 degrees,” Kroll finished.
Yes, the whole press conference was like that.
Ironically–considering the big new addition of the Shame Wizard, who hounds John Mulaney’s character Andrew throughout Season 2–Big Mouth is a show without shame. It revels equally in educating us about reproductive health and the importance of Planned Parenthood (there’s literally a whole episode about it), and grossing us out with Coach Steve’s endless terrible descriptions of sex (I’ll rest easier if I never hear the phase “make the thick in the warm” again).
“I think that’s what we’re always trying to do in the show, which is take some big swings, do some kind of raunchy, dirty stuff…but also be saying these larger things about trying to get people to fall in love with their own bodies and who they are and what’s happening to them, and demystify a lot of that stuff,” Kroll said.
Early in Big Mouth Season 2, Andrew gets caught grinding his pepper mill by Nick’s sister Leah (Kat Dennings), and he spends much of the season coping with the embarrassment and shame. But beyond his storyline, Season 2 also tackles female shame, which is a whole other entity (or so I’m told).
“Shame, especially in the female experience, the way that I think it’s usually done is like, ‘Here, hold this, it’s yours, keep it private,’ whatever, it’s a secret,” Slate, who voices Missy (and a ton of other characters), explained. “That is really sad to me, because teen shame and personal shame is very specific, and women are usually encouraged to not talk about it, or only talk about it in ways that are kind of pre-approved. So for me, it feels really good that we are expressing it and showing many different types of the ways that women react to becoming themselves.”
“It’s so easy, your whole life, but especially when you’re that age, to feel like you’re the only one going through a thing,” added Klein, who voices her namesake on the show. “And I think especially for girls, living in the culture that we live in, the images you’re surrounded by, it feels like there’s such a small way to acceptably be a girl, and that if you’re not that, ‘Oh, I’m somehow on the outside.’ And I think that dissipates when you can just talk about it. For me that feels great, if the show can make someone feel less alone.”
Kroll agreed. Big Mouth can seem crass–and it undoubtedly is. But it works so well, not just because it’s hilarious, but because it has heart.
“In general, puberty and everything that happens to you at that point makes you feel so alone,” Kroll said. “I think the idea of the show, whatever we’re saying, is like, showing kids now–and also to adults who are still dealing with the stuff that happened to them in middle school and through their adolescence and puberty–that you’re not alone going through it. And that shame plays a big part in Season 2, and a lot of the things that make you feel shameful sort of grew out of that time in middle school and adolescence, and hopefully this kind of stuff will make you feel less ashamed.”
Big Mouth Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.