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Big Mouth: How The Show Is Starting a Dialogue About Sex

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Netflix’s raunchy animated comedy Big Mouth has followers young and old. Not long after season one released last year, co-creator and star Nick Kroll says he was at his nephew’s bar mitzvah and overheard both the kids and adults separately talking about their favorite characters and puberty-themed episodes.

“The show is giving kids and parents a vocabulary to talk about these things. It was really gratifying to me,” Kroll tells Den of Geek.

Big Mouth pushes through the awkwardness of being a teen with refreshing candor. In season one, middle schoolers Nick (voiced by Kroll) and Andrew (voiced by John Mulaney) navigate their growing bodies and first sexual experiences while pushing back on their “hormone monsters,” which is essentially the dirty voice in their heads. In season two, which is now available on Netflix, the Hormone Monster meets its mortal enemy, the Shame Wizard. Though these two ends of the puberty spectrum are equally embarrassing and difficult to talk about (and sometimes work in tandem), Big Mouth works hard to show that these feelings and emotions are not only normal, but everyone goes through them together.

“One of the goals of the show was making kids feel like they weren’t alone,” Kroll says. “What’s hard about puberty is you feel so alone going through it. To have a show that talks very frankly about this stuff takes that feeling of solitude off of people.”

Season two goes far beyond just sex. Jessi, voiced by comedian Jessi Klein, faces problems at home and at school as the series tackles questions about how parenting affects a child’s behavior.

“I’ve been thrilled and amazed at how many people have told me that they’re watching it with their pre-teen and teen kids together,” Klein says. “The fact that families are actually watching it and discussing it together is amazing.” 

Jenny Slate, who voices Missy, says the show has helped her access and better understand embarrassing experiences from her past. “What’s interesting is that the adults come up to me say they can’t believe you all remember those things so clearly,” Slate says. “It actually turns out we’re all waiting to access this and process it out” 

The series doesn’t just act as the most entertaining sex ed class teens will ever get (see season two’s episode about planned parenthood and STIs). It’s second season is effective because the ying-yang of hormones and shame carry well into adult life.

“There are decisions and patterns that are still playing out that were established at puberty, both good and bad, that are apart of who we are,” Kroll says. “Puberty is such an important time period foundationally for the rest of our lives and how we behave.” 

For more insight from Big Mouth stars Nick Kroll, Jenny Slate, and Jessi Klein, and to learn who their personal hormone monsters would be, watch the video below!

Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

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