The Boys Might Get All the Attention, But ‘Big Mouth’ Truly Shines in Exploring Girlhood
Netflix’s Big Mouth has an array of wild and wacky characters. It can be hard to focus on the true point of each episode. Andrew and Nick tend to take up most of the screen time and even though it’s hilarious, I can’t help but pay attention to the girl characters. Let’s take a look at some episodes of Big Mouth that truly celebrate and shed light on what it means to be a girl.
If you’re someone who suffers with periods then you can relate to this episode … a lot. I for one feel “Everybody Bleeds” on a whole other level. Jessi goes on a field trip with her schoolmates to the Statue of Liberty and ends up getting her period for the first time—and she is far from prepared. Periods aren’t glamorous, and Big Mouth highlights how everyone bleeds in different ways.
Jessi is becoming a woman and the transition from being young to suddenly dealing with hormonal changes and her period is a whole new struggle she has yet to come to grips with. I think many can relate to Jessi in this episode.
“What Is It About Boobs?”
Women are sexualized, sometimes regardless of age. We see this in the episode “What Is It About Boobs?” when some of the girls experience bodily changes while going through puberty and the boys take notice. Jessi and Missy haven’t yet experienced changes and go on a journey of self-discovery and embracing their beauty. Seeing young girls take control of their narrative is awe-inspiring and unexpected in an adult animated comedy. There’s a truly beautiful message behind an otherwise hilarious episode of Big Mouth, especially with insightful comments from Missy’s mom.
Shame Wizard’s mom Rita St. Swithens takes charge in “Vagina Shame” when the girls of Big Mouth are all feeling shame about their vaginas. Jessi struggles with hygiene, Lola debates whether to get rid of her pubic hair, Missy is lying to those around her about getting her period, and Jessi’s new stepmom Caitlin finds out her vaginal canal is too small to give birth. Each girl is experiencing something different, but all feel similar emotions—including shame.
While Jessi, Missy, and Lola are going through something a lot of girls experience, Caitlin’s story actually is eye-opening for those who are unfamiliar with the condition of cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD). Caitlin struggles with the idea she’s unable to have a natural birth and says she feels less like a woman because of it. Seeing one of the older characters struggling with her body in the show makes those watching feel less ashamed about not fully understanding their own, even as they become adults.
“The New Me”
In “The New Me,” the kids of Big Mouth are heading to camp, but things aren’t the same as each year before. Big Mouth also introduces a transgender girl named Natalie El-Khoury who is absolutely amazing. She manages to bring awareness to the characters around her (and those watching at home) about what it’s like for young people to transition while remaining who they are at heart. Big Mouth uses this new character in a sensitive but still hilarious way that only Big Mouth and its creators know how to do.
The boys make Natalie uncomfortable but she finds solace among the girls, including Jessi. While the boys are curious, they bombard her with invasive questions regarding her transition and aren’t considerate of her feelings. Natalie is a character who shines light on the experience of transitioning and the hardships that often come with it.
“The Department of Puberty”
This episode hits home for many reasons. I never thought I’d feel so moved by an episode of Big Mouth. Andrew may have his own things going on as he travels through a magical portal, but the main focus of “The Department of Puberty” is Jessi as she forms an unhealthy bond with Depression Kitty. After dealing with her parents’ divorce and puberty hitting her like a brick to the face, depression has reared its ugly head and taken control. It’s a haunting episode and an important one for those currently experiencing depression, as it’s so easy for the illness to take over. I adore how Big Mouth handles such a sensitive topic and how Jessi’s innermost struggles surface via the Depression Kitty character.
Girls have big mouths
We’re not used to seeing girls experiencing puberty so brazenly on our TV screens, and I am so thrilled Big Mouth is highlighting how boys and girls go through these challenging times. Obviously, the goofs and gaffes are blown way out of proportion but there is a reality behind the comedy. Girlhood is not an easy path and Netflix’s Big Mouth shows the reality of being a girl while also making us howl with laughter. We even get to see girls discuss their vaginas openly and without judgment, which again makes for amazing TV moments.
I never thought I’d speak so highly of a comedy from Netflix, but honestly, Big Mouth deserves praise. Missy is also an incredible character, as she shows it’s okay to be open about your sexual urges while maintaining certain childlike sensibilities; she’s not trying to fit in but embracing what makes her different.
Andrew and Nick are typical young boys who are also exaggerated, but suffer issues relating to puberty which many boys watching can empathize with. Whether you’re a girl, a boy, or non-binary, Big Mouth finds some way to relate to you with hilarious jokes and sensitive discussions. I just wish we all had a hormone monster to vent to when things get overwhelming.
Overall, if you want a TV show that delivers humor, advice, and relatable content, then you should add Netflix’s Big Mouth to your watchlist. Being a girl is never easy, and I often find myself taking comfort in Big Mouth’s cringey but insightful episodes—and I’m sure you will, too.
(featured image: Netflix)
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