I’m going through changes. So goes the theme song for Big Mouth, an animated comedy series on Netflix that follows a group of Long Island seventh graders navigating the hellscape of puberty. Based on the memories of Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, we follow and cringe as the characters bloom — or don’t bloom — into their adult bodies, filling up with testosterone and estrogen.
Periods. Boners. Boobs. Lack of boobs. Pre-algebra.
Armpit hair. Braces. Pubes. Hormones. Lord of the Flies. Figuring out your sexuality.
Friendships. Embarrassing parents. Popularity. Acne.
It’s a lot.
Ugh, Mom. Stop Talking
My daughter is a tween, and she is also going through changes. She has ditched her American Girl doll collection and is embracing a new collection called “none of your business.” She has braces and wears flannel shirts and UGGS like armor. She loves tennis because she gets to hit something without consequence, but she plays in distressed black jeans “BECAUSE I CAN WEAR WHAT I WANT!”
We have had “the talk,” and thanks to The Good Place, she is aware of porn and cocaine. #MindyStClaire
She knows all about periods — her own having started with the quarantine — , and it’s been a learning experience for Mom, too. I have an IUD and have not had a period since March 2008. So let me tell you, I was shocked at the leaps menstrual pad technology has made in the last 12 years. When I was growing up, “It’s got wings!” was the only advance I got to experience. Did you know there is now a NASA x Kotex collab? It’s wild on that aisle of CVS.
The biggest lesson I want to impart to my daughter is that puberty sucks for everyone. If there is one universal topic that every therapist hears about while handing you a box of Kleenex, it’s middle school is awful for all of humanity.
A little less . . .
Every time I watch Big Mouth, I think, This would be a great show for my daughter. It’s educational, and it’s empathetic. It’s kind to its awkward characters, and their experiences are normal. I could watch it with her and talk about navigating the school bus hierarchy or the dangers of white shorts. And then someone mentions face fucking.
Big Mouth is filthy, like most seventh grade boys. The show is on-point, but it’s like the realism took a Dexedrine. The filth is . . . heightened.
I want my daughter to have a relatable show like Big Mouth, but with a little less come. (No, I will never spell it with the u.)
Maybe a little less curb stomping, and a little less “I’ve got the cream.”
A little less “dicks going into other guys’ dicks,” not that gay sex actually works that way.
I don’t think she is ready for circle jerks around a Triscuit cracker. Fucking a tomato might truly feel like fucking a sneeze, but my baby isn’t quite ready for that level of James Joyce realism.
Basically, I want the regular version of Big Mouth for me and a Big Mouth Lite for her.
Big Mouth Lite would be educational and not require me to explain what makes me horny. (It’s Derek Craven.) I’m not a prude; I just know my daughter judged me when I was watching Booksmart, yelling, “SEX INAPPROPRIATE!” at me. And her father would request a change in our custody agreement if I exposed her to an unfiltered version of the Hormone Monster and Monstress.
I love Big Mouth — and anything with Jason Mantzoukas — and I would not change a thing about the show. Big Mouth Lite would be a new show for young Zoomers, and after what that generation pulled on the Trump’s Tulsa rally, they totally deserve it.
Big Mouth Lite would even give us a chance to talk about white privilege and making room for other voices and talent, when she notices the voice of Missy has changed from Jenny Slate to a Black actor in the upcoming season 5.
But if my daughter just happens to find Big Mouth High Octane all on her own when she’s looking for the latest Total Drama episode, so be it. I’ll turn a blind eye to it, like my own Mother did for me when I would lock my door every Friday night at 9 PM so I could watch Miami Vice in private. With my privates.
Big Mouth Seasons 1-4 are currently streaming on Netflix
Amy takes pride in being a grumpy optimist. Want to talk sports ball? Amy is your girl. Her favorite New York Times crossword puzzle day is Tuesday. If your book is set in the former Soviet Union or World War 2, Amy will read it. As a recovered Southern Baptist, she is raising her daughter to be happy.