The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



‘Big Mouth’ season three tackles social issues but loses creativity and wit

| Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Joseph Han

I think we can all agree that puberty is weird and gross. Middle school, land of pubescent boys with spotty mustaches and self-absorbed developing girls, is an atmosphere filled with self-discovery. But this is not self-discovery in the classic sense; it is the discovery of their own personal changes and the changes of others.

No one wants to talk about puberty because they feel uncomfortable and/or it’s too personal, but it’s something that every individual goes through. It’s a phase of life that is inevitable and everyone has to experience, so why shouldn’t we talk about it? Comedians Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg did just that.

Loosely based on Kroll and Goldberg’s childhoods, “Big Mouth” is an animated sitcom on Netflix about middle-schoolers going through puberty. The show features a star-studded cast, including Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph and Jordan Peele. Unfortunately, after two amazing seasons full of raunchy and uncensored dialog and scenarios, the producers seem to have run out of ideas.

Season three premiered Oct. 3, not including the Valentine’s Day special (which first aired in February). Although it begins with the same catchy theme song and the story picks up directly after “My Furry Valentine,” the rest of the season feels disconnected from the ones that came before it, like the creators ran out of ideas and scrambled to find “progressive” and current topics to address.

Beware, there may be some upcoming spoilers.

Critique #1: Unnecessary Storyline

The third episode is the beginning of Nick Birch’s love affair with his cell phone. Like the hormone monsters and Jay’s pillows, the phone is given human qualities and is commonly seen seducing Nick into using “her” and posting inappropriate videos of his father online. Even though ‘phone addiction’ is a very relevant issue in our society, the narrative becomes very repetitive in following episodes. As a result of this, it often feels flat and a bit pointless.

Critique #2: Wasted Episodes

The seventh episode is pure filler. The backstory of Duke Ellington, the ghost which lives in Nick’s house, was entertaining and interesting, considering we haven’t been told anything about him previously, but it was awkwardly placed in the episode sequence and disrupted the flow of the season. Duke’s narrative was placed between episodes exploring sexual exploration and unkind social dynamics, and it felt as if Duke’s backstory was trying to be the bridge between episodes, but it failed to do so effectively.

Critique #3: Episode 10

It was a musical. I think that’s enough said.

Finally, the season finale left the viewer unsatisfied. Somehow, a storm gave everyone superpowers, which is unrealistic in the first place, and the episode ended with all the friends angry at each other. As in the two preceding episodes, it felt like the creators attempted to tackle current issues. In doing so, they strayed from some of the numerous sexual references made in the two previous seasons, thereby sacrificing the very raunchiness for which the series was known. Overall, you will still laugh and giggle, but season three lacked creativity and wit.


Title: Big Mouth

Starring: Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessie Klein, Jenny Slate

Produced by: Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg

Where to Watch: Netflix

Shamrocks: 3 out of 5

Tags: , , , ,

About Willoughby Thom

i am the associate scene editor. if you didn't know already, my favorite band is Oingo Boingo.

Contact Willoughby