For all of its crassness, this feels like it has the makings to be an important piece of television. Hell, if it wasn’t so unabashedly vulgar, it would be a great substitute for whatever passes as “sex ed” nowadays. But maybe the target audience is supposed to be adults for no other reason than that we’ve already been through the pains of puberty and can watch these episodes with a sigh of relief. There’s a surprising amount of heart and sympathy put into this show when it comes to portraying the struggles that teenage boys and girls go through. I love that their hormonal desires are represented by an imaginary monster who knows no boundaries, even as the kids themselves try to remain as wholesome as possible.
Granted, the hormone monster is often overused in an attempt to squeeze more jokes into each episode. The humor is pretty hit and miss, actually. There are some funny, self-referential gags about Netflix and TV, and anything that directly relates to the overall theme of growing up is grossly charming (and I do mean grossly). But there’s also a lot of filler that bogs down everything else the show is trying to accomplish. The constant shoehorning of secondary characters, for example, can be grating. The show really wants to make Coach Steve a thing, much like Coach McGuirk in Home Movies, but Coach Steve is seriously the worst.
It doesn’t help that Coach Steve is voiced by Nick Kroll in his go-to “this is my funny voice” voice. Kroll plays several characters, and while I love his work as the hormone monster (so much so that I didn’t even know it was Kroll at first), I hate Coach Steve and Lola. Big Mouth has so much respect for its other female characters that I don’t know why Lola had to be voiced by a man. I’m also not a fan of Jason Mantzoukas’s Jay. Mantzoukas is just never funny as a cartoon character. The real standout, however, is John Mulaney as Andrew. He so perfectly captures teenage awkwardness and that relatable pit of wanting to be a good, straight-A student while having dirty thoughts about everything. We’ve all been there, right? … Right?