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Critics Review
Big Mouth Season 5 review: Netflix coming-of-age comedy balances raunch with sex education once again

Big Mouth only encourages you to be your best, authentic self without being preachy.

Devki Nehra
Nov 11, 2021
cover image

Image via Netflix

Another year, another season of Big Mouth. Here’s a brief recap of what happened last - Missy embraces her Black identity; Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) and Lola have a bitter break up; Jessi (Jessi Klien) dates a college guy Michelangelo to a disastrous end; she also goes to therapy for depression and anxiety; Jay discovers he’s bisexual; and Matthew (Andrew Rannells) comes out to his father whom he’d considered quite close minded before.

The new instalment deals with another set of growing pains - there’s talk of pubic hair, masturbation, first love and sexual encounters, jealousy, and hate. Honestly, these aren’t issues intrinsic to teendom , sometimes you carry them with you right into adulthood. That’s where Big Mouth steps in, taking you under it’s sagely (yet raunchy) wing.

The humour hits the right notes and pushes the boundaries as always. At the outset, the show may seem like a bawdy comedy but creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett have tackled taboo topics with nuance and refreshing sensitivity. For some it might toe the line of what fits and what doesn’t for it’s abusrdist graphic detailing - the talking genitals, and the hormone monsters unfiltered thought process - but that’s the point of the show isn’t it?

Though the show talks about sex all the time, it never sexualises the kids or put thems in all too uncomfortable to watch situations. Except for last season when Jessi's then boyfriend Michelangelo coerced her into giving him a handjob. It was only a reminder of how women (of all ages) are often pressured into having sex: we have all been there, whether it's a casual encounter or with a steady partner. Yet, watching a young Jessi go through this ordeal, this sexual assault, albeit very real, did not leave a very pleasant impression. Portraying sex can be funny, but the same does not apply to sexual assault. 

But this season, Big Mouth, which has circled around the idea of intercourse since it’s first season and finally tackled it with an age-appropriate teenage experience between Nick’s older sister Leah and Jay’s brother Val. For many people “losing their virginity” is a big deal, but more often than not ends up being quite anti-climactic (pun not intended). No surprises there, the same goes for Leah and Val. 

Leah, Val, and Diane | Netflix

It's invigorating to see Leah's parents speak candidly about sex (they have always been a sex positive bunch), a topic most are awkward or shy to approach with their children. The talk about the birds and bees was an especially painful one for me. It vividly remember it — I was ready to spontaneously combust and my mother seemed miserable than ever for having to undertake this "duty" of educating me. But here, Leah's mother tells her that she wants her daughter to have an enjoyable and enriching sexual experience, something that can only be achieved if she is honest about her likes and dislikes with her partner. Val has a similar open talk with Dr Birch, who is not at all the stereotypical guard dog of a dad, obsessed with protecting his daughter's "innocence". For him, Leah is a fully formed individual and so is Val, who have the free will to decide what's best for them.  

Another highlight of the show was the topic of insecurity about one's body. Jessi fixates over her leg hair after Nick's off-hand comment, while Missy is hyper-aware of her bacne, Nick tries to increase the size of his penis by pulling a dangerous stunt with a vacuum cleaner, and Andrew rubs expired hair removal cream on his pubes. This episode draws out the emotions of loneliness and believing that you're the only one with a physical flaw. It's so relatable to see how quickly Jessi, Nick, Andrew, and Missy are upset and hell-bent on undoing what they feel is inherently wrong with them. I have always been self-conscious of my body and generally view myself negatively. It's an attitude that I have worked on shifting and unlearning, even as an adult. This entire sequence — the entire season, really — only made me feel that Big Mouth should have been around when I was younger. 

Jessi and Connie | Netflix

Whether you're a teenager or an adult, Big Mouth only encourages you to be your best, authentic self without being preachy. 

Watch the trailer here:

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