If you haven’t seen Netflix’s new cartoon Big Mouth, then what have you been doing for the last six weeks? The eleven episodes in the first series could be binge-watched in a day if you wanted, and you’ll probably find yourself shouting at the TV, “WHY DIDN’T I SEE THIS WHEN I WAS THIRTEEN?!”. Big Mouth offers lessons learned, zany comedy and incredible characters in an animation which after season one proves to rival that of South Park and Family Guy.
There is something about cartoons for those over the age of ten which have great appeal. It could be the nostalgia and innocence related with a cartoon drawing, crossed with the suspension of reality which leads to a loveable and memorable television show. Adventure begins to have more possibility and there is something about cartoon which seems to lend an allowance to the writers to be more outrageous than they might normally have been. Shows such as South Park and Family Guy have shown that cartoon can stand the test of time, and even though early South Park episodes might be beginning to look outdated, the comedy is still razor sharp, and many of the plot lines still relevant thanks to well rounded characterisation and timeless writing.
In 2017, South Park’s highly anticipated video game, Fractured But Whole, has been released to rave reviews, 20 years after it first aired. Family Guy has also shown to have mass appeal, and the franchise with its own mobile game and slot games which include many of the characters. With Big Mouth’s feeling of timelessness, and the richness of the characters, it might be possible that there is similar mass appeal.
Big Mouth follows Andrew and Nick as they navigate growing up amid a world of confusion. Parents aren’t on their level, girls are difficult to understand, and to top it off, Andrew is followed by Maurice, the Hormone Monster, who promises to unleash all kinds of trouble. Their friend Jessi is navigating the difficult world of becoming a woman, and having to deal with her parents’ constant arguing at the same time as planning her Batmitzvah. The surreal comedy features the ghost of Jazz legend Duke Ellington (voiced by Jordan Peel) as an agony aunt living in Nick’s attic, and some showstopping musical comedy numbers.
Creators Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg have both made a name for themselves as comedy stalwarts on television and in film. Kroll has featured in films such as “I Love You, Man” and “Get Him To The Greek”, and has also played cameo roles in shows such as Parks and Recreation. Goldberg was a writer on Family Guy, and has also worked on the television success, Broads. You can’t help but wonder how much of the show is real, and how much is imagined as Andrew and Nick head out for a day trip to New York City without either of their parents knowing, before getting mugged and bumping into their gym teacher pouring pints at a local bar.
Big Mouth is lucky to have been voiced by some big names in Hollywood. Scrolling down the cast list before you have watched the show is likely to cause confusion, when you see that John Hamm is stars as a plate of scallops and Kristen Bell plays a talking pillow. Nick Kroll lends his voice to many of the characters including Maurice the Hormone Monster and Nick Birch, and the female Hormone Monster is played by Maya Rudolph of Bridesmaids fame. Coupled with the writing, the star studded cast of cameos will have you crying with laughter and at times covering your eyes in embarrassment as Nick and Andrew make some classic teenage mistakes, when egged on by the Hormone Monster and their own naivete.
Fans of Family Guy will be delighted and at times disgusted-in-a-good-way by Big Mouth, and those who liked meta-comedy such as Community will also be clapping with glee when they get to binge watch another episode of Netflix latest offering. Whilst Netflix has only released one season so far, we wait with bated breath for an announcement of a second season, and can only wonder how different life might have been if someone had shown us Big Mouth when we were thirteen.