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  • Writer's pictureSusannah Powers Stengel

Big Mouth Season 4 Makes Fun of Your Childhood Trauma

The Dark Animated Puberty Comedy Slaps Anew with a Magical Mix of Masturbation, Periods, Anxiety, Depression, & Hand Stuff


Spoilers For: Season 4 of Big Mouth

A steaming pile of shit could make you laugh.

This is a precondition for Big Mouth fandom, and a hint to the novice that this show's grotesque hodgepodge of teen trauma is not for faint of stomach. Be ready to squirm in disgust, aww in convivial connection, and marvel at the metaphorical heights of lewd silliness that abound.

Sexual relations with pillows continue and are met by immensely satisfying character evolutions in a season four worth bingeing.

Let me hit a few of my favorite new series developments.

A Missy Who Can Tell Her Own Story

Source: Polygon

In a gorgeous apotheosis of her pubescent black girl magic, Missy learns to embrace her many selves this season. She abandons the limiting notions of blackness lent to her by her sheltered mixed race crunchy home's white momma matriarch. She questions the limits of the code switch. Her black and proud cousins spark a wave of self-discovery that culminates in Missy bidding her childhood overalls adieu.

The show itself has finally satisfactorily addressed its own white failure to tell Missy's story of color, replacing the immensely talented (but um, white) Jenny Slate with the rad talented comedian-writer Ayo Edebiri as Missy.

Emboldened by this frame of authenticity, the show lets Missy become herself, and serves several satisfying sassafras monologues of uncompromising realness.

Jay and Lola

Source: Meaww

Jay and Lola stir my feral horny juices with their totally putrid love story. They dabble in the horny tween dream--to find a crush who will see the dirtiest parts of you and lick them clean. Jason Mantzoukas as the volatile, trashy, creepy, loyal "40 year old" magician Jay, and Nick Kroll as Lola, the revolting, brash, emotive, vocal frying monster, engage in a toxic and sizzling mutual delusion of grandeur when they date. They dig a hole in Jay's backyard for the summer that they fill with water and dub "Stink Palace." I taste bile in my mouth as I picture this cesspool now. It reeks of desperation and yet it provokes an impossible dream. Can we learn to be truly happy together as the very worst versions of ourselves?

See failed symbiosis when Jay and Lola emerge as Bonnie and Clyde. They light a mercurial trail of screaming matches, finger bangs, and earnest displays of vulnerability.

Summer Camp

Source: Cheat Sheet

Summer camp evokes nostalgia, bullying, horniness, self-hatred, body dysmorphia, kissing in the woods, and awkward camp counselors we all want to strangle. Big Mouth serves it all. Mortifying public humiliation finds Nick in season four's first arc at camp. Nick fails to shower after a series of disgusting interludes, and thereby earns the moniker "Soup" for his stinky must. He and Andrew are powerfully divided by this, the Missy kissy baggage of season three (watch your recap), and by Andrew's increasing intimacy with camp buddy Seth Goldberg (a pitch-perfect Seth Rogen).

Balls pop. John Oliver's cameo flops. Poop angrily prairie dogs out of Andrew's asshole until Nick and he can grow together again.

Speaking of growth--a satisfying round of representational snaps for the show's depiction of a newly trans female Gabe, voiced by Josie Totah, on hormone blockers returning to camp in her new identity. All the characters must reckon with their limitations in connecting with Gabe. Like the constipation riddling Andrew's butthole, we are forced to exit camp through visceral change.

Tito, the Anxiety Mosquito

Source: Cheat Sheet

Along with the satisfying emotional antics of a summer camp setting, season four brings us the terrifyingly spot-on Maria Bamford as Tito, the Anxiety Mosquito. The ever-buzzing insistent voice of self-sabotage that slaughters your confidence with a sense of perennial paranoia and despair. Andrew is has OCD, Jessi sips a vicious cocktail of Tito's tension and with the Depression Kitty's sadistic ennui, Nick's "Soup" sadness and future self fear sucks at him always.

Like the trauma so ensnared at the heart of every season of Big Mouth, we are often stuck in our worst moments with Tito. We hope to abandon the fragile little fears that would define and freeze us in childhood. Buzz, buzz silly loser. Do you dare to be happy?

Big Mouth uses its bold and ballsy magic realism frame, with shenanigans mired in emotional exaggeration, to free you from your past-tense pain through present-tense pleasure.

Which Big Mouth puberty plot line hits your hormonal sweet spot?


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