9:00 am EDT, October 5, 2018

Netflix’s ‘Big Mouth’ season 2 review: Bigger, better, and bolder

Big Mouth season 2 is now live on Netflix, and it has a lot to live up to. Luckily, it has no problem surpassing its freshman season in every way.

Big Mouth immediately captured my attention from the very first episode of season 1. It was hilarious, smart, and surprisingly relatable for a show about a bunch of middle schoolers going through puberty.

And not just relatable for a male audience. The second episode of season 1, “Everybody Bleeds,” solidified my fan status. Not only was I watching a sex-positive show, but one that was willing to share a girl’s point of view, too. You don’t know how much you need something like that until you finally get your hands on it.

If you’re worried that Big Mouth season 2 wouldn’t live up to season 1’s brilliance, you can rest easy. The second installment of the show is bigger, better, and bolder than anything that has come before it. I don’t doubt it’ll lose some fans (it’s very female friendly this season), but it will undoubtedly gain even more along the way.

It didn’t feel it at the time, but in hindsight, season 1 probably pulled some of its punches. The shock of a show like this landed well critically, but having seen season 2, it’s obvious the creative team didn’t go as far as they could’ve during their freshman run. They really, really pushed the envelope this year.

All of the season 1 staples are still there in season 2. Andrew, Nick, and Jessi are dealing with puberty in their own way, and each episode continues to bring us a new theme, a new problem, and a new lesson. Some of my all-time favorite episodes of Big Mouth can be found in season 2.

What always impresses me about this show is that they rarely go for the cheap jokes, and even when they do, someone is there to tell them it’s a cheap joke. Usually that’s Jessi or Missy, but Andrew and Nick are typically quick to check themselves — if they even need to in the first place. It often falls on Jay’s shoulders to make the gross jokes, but it’s obvious the show doesn’t condone his attitude. In fact, it often makes him the butt of the joke in the end.

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Surprisingly, Big Mouth season 2 didn’t just put effort into broadening its story and picking even more varied and important topics to explore; it also took a deeper dive into character development for some of the side characters.

We get a few more stories for Missy this year that show she’s not always the happy-go-lucky person she appears to be. She struggles with body image and hormones just like the rest of the characters. And Gina, a new character this season, feels fully formed and important despite the fact that she’s mostly there as a part of Nick’s journey.

My two least favorite characters are Coach Steve and Jay. I think they’re the kind of characters you’re supposed to dislike — they’re stupid, gross, and wildly inappropriate. But Big Mouth season 2 still finds a way to make you empathize with them. Both deal with their sexuality this year in different ways, and while I’ll never like either of these characters, it’s nice to know each one is a little more three-dimensional than they were first presented to be.

But Big Mouth is nothing if not deceptively nuanced. I’m often delightfully shocked at how smart this show is, and how it’s not afraid to call out toxic behavior left and right. It’s the kind of series that shows how messy puberty really is without compromising its message. One of the best ways it does this is by breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the audience. It isn’t subtle, but it’s incredible effective.

Speaking of deeper dives, we also get a greater look at the colorful universe inside of Big Mouth. Not only do we get to meet some new Hormone Monsters this year, we also get a look at a few of the other creatures who inhabit this world.

I don’t want to give away some of those new characters, but one of the bigger ones already announced was the Shame Wizard, voiced by David Thewlis (aka Remus Lupin from Harry Potter). Most of us have felt shame in our lives, and I’ll give you fair warning now that the Shame Wizard is very good at his job. I wonder if chocolate cures that, too?

It’s hard to wax poetic about Big Mouth without dissecting every moment of every episode. There are so many great throwaway lines, pop culture references, and brilliant one-off characters. But at the end of the day, you should probably just watch (or rewatch) the show instead of reading about how amazing it is.

That said, there will be some people who don’t think season 2 is better than season 1. But I’m not one of them.

What did you think of ‘Big Mouth’ season 2?

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