Big Mouth’s sixth season came out, and so did some of its characters.
The show continues to use the same jokes as the first five seasons, and this writer at least is a little tired of the same short dick joke and the fourth wall breaks. However, as the show has progressed, the characters have grown older and maybe even wiser. Season six deals with coming out, family dynamics, body image, asexuality, and religion. All in all, the new season has some interesting things to say, even if this comedy is not funny anymore. This is your official spoiler warning!
There are three episodes that highlight the good of the show and what it has to say about coming out, body acceptance, and sexual milestones.
Episode two “Twenty-Two and You” explores coming out. Jay wants to bring his new boyfriend, Matthew, to meet his family, but they are all incapacitated in some way or another. In the past few seasons, Jay’s exploration of his sexuality happened through plenty of masturbation and sex with inanimate objects, and he was fine doing all that on his own. Jay then embarks on a journey to find his half-siblings from his father’s numerous affairs to come out to them. Aside from the outlandish number of half-siblings and the tragic circumstances that surround Jay’s home life, the need to come out and truly be seen comes through throughout the episode.
Jay is comfortable coming out at school and wants to share this part of himself with his two older brothers and mom, but can’t because they do not make the time for him. This episode deals with coming out as a very personal and intimate thing that you do because you love the people around you, and want to share yourself and who you are with them. It shows that just because you are ready to share might not mean that others are ready or able to listen, but that does not take away from who you are. This reflects an experience that resonates with many viewers: being comfortable internally but not being able to share outwardly. Coming out is complicated and difficult, and Big Mouth does a good job showing its nuances.
Later in the season, asexuality is explored through new character Elijah. He and Missy start dating and even though he really likes her, he does not want to kiss her; when they eventually kiss, he doesn’t enjoy it or feel what he has been told he is supposed to feel. At first, Elijah assumes that something is wrong with him, and he turns to Jesus, who takes the place of the Hormone Monsters for Elijah, for help. His exploration of sexuality differs from the other characters, partly because he is exploring uncharted territory for the show with asexuality, and partly because he comes from a very religious background.
The church portrayed in this season was a generally very positive, warm, welcoming, and caring community. But the characters still carry issues with religion in other contexts; at one point, Missy and her parents get into an argument about whether it was okay for Missy to be going to church and the messages she was receiving there.
Elijah spends time with himself and realizes that he is asexual, partly from a conversation with his aunt, who is also asexual. His aunt coming out to him makes him see that asexuals exist and that asexuality is not something to be ashamed of. Throughout this story arc, Elijah was treated with love and care from those around him, which allowed him to be himself. In contrast, with Jay’s coming out, Elijah is not ready to share with everyone and only tells Missy at the end of the season. Elijah was heard and met with compassion whereas Jay was ignored and pushed aside. Both show real stories of coming out and the varied struggles surrounding that experience.
Episode three “Vagina Shame” deals with feelings around vaginas, and how just having one can bring shame. The episode follows four stories of four characters. First, Jessi gets a yeast infection, and with her mother away, she does not know what to do. Next, Missy deals with whether masturbation is okay or not. Third, Lola deals with the expectation that women do not have pubic hair from porn. Finally, Caitlin “Cheese Girl” learns she cannot have a natural birth and feels that her body is failing her. She meets Jessi in the bathroom and the two are able to support each other and take the shame out of their issues. The episode gives an air of hope and camaraderie to people with vaginas.
The episode is very visually vulgar but talks about vaginas in a very real way that feels like a conversation between friends. One of the main themes of “Vagina Shame” is that as a society, we are uncomfortable talking about our genitalia and the only way to change that is to talk about it openly with compassion and acceptance.
Episode four “Rice Purity Test” takes the characters through taking the Rice Purity Test, a real online quiz that counts the number of “impure” acts someone has done to score their “purity.” The cast learns about the test and then takes it and compares scores. Deviant Jay has a score of three, while Nick has a 92. Most of the kids range between 75 and 85. This causes Nick to spiral about how he is behind the rest of his peers. Everyone tells him that he needs to do more to lower his score. Nick enlists Jay to help him check some things off the list. Jay agrees to help and check some more things off his list, which includes incest.
Incest has been a recurring topic in Big Mouth, and took on a main plot point in season three. Most of the characters are disgusted by the incest plots, but they also tolerate them. This is an incredibly uncomfortable and upsetting theme of the show that is unnecessary and takes away from what could be good stories.
Jay says that he and Nick are essentially brothers, which would make the two of them committing sexual acts incest. In the end, they do not go through with it, but the intention and the show’s obsession with incest is apparent. The show repeatedly brings in incest plots and brings up past plots. This season consistently mentioned Andrew kissing his cousin, and it is upsetting. Big Mouth tries to laugh it off, but it is just not funny.
This episode had a good opportunity to share the message that everyone develops at different points and it does not matter what you have or have not done sexually, but it was too focused on trying to be funny and following to many different plots.
The rest of the season also deals with family trauma, capitalism, and being comfortable with yourself and your family. These themes are more surface-level and at the forefront of the plot. The jokes mostly fall flat and are a little too on the nose, but the show explores identity and growing up in a nuanced and truthful way that I have not seen other shows do. These topics are important and should be portrayed more in media so we talk about them and move society forward.
Image Source: WhatToWatch