Big Mouth: A Show I Wish I Watched in Middle School

by Hope Guzzle

When I discovered Big Mouth last year in my freshman dorm, I felt like I had just a time machine and was taken back to the most atrocious time in my life: middle school. Oh yes, Nick Kroll and his band of comedians created a show that reflects that time in our life we we are all awkward, insecure, confused, and horny, and America/myself fucking loved it. Given the show’s overall popularity, I knew that I wasn’t the only one who felt like they were given a window into their former lives, but that was made even more clear in the show’s fourth season. This brand new season begins by showcasing the harassment and exclusion that transgender people face in seemingly “liberal” spaces and keeps going from there. We get to see plot lines about code switching, racial identities, depression, OCD, anxiety, sexual coercion, coming out, and the very real effects that these can have on thirteen year-olds. Because of this, I believe that every middle schooler should be forced to watch this show.

Now I know that many parents would never go along with this, and that makes sense as the show is marketed towards adult audiences. I will admit that there is no shortage of strange dick jokes and toilet humor, but there is a reason for that: those are the jokes that middle schoolers make. And yes, it makes reference to eighth graders partaking in some sexual behavior but that is also because some real middle schoolers are also partaking in that same behavior. So instead of keeping them in the dark, why don’t we help middle schoolers feel less like little freaks?

I know that if I had seen a young female character have to wrestle with the unnecessary and disgusting pressure of “blue balls”, I would have been exposed to the fact that it is complete bullshit a lot earlier. As the show pointed out, why can’t he just take care of that himself? Or perhaps if I had seen Jay’s bisexuality, I would not have waited until college to even let myself think about my sexuality. I mean sure, he’s a freak, but he’s not but he’s not a freak because he’s bi, he’s bi and just happens to be a little weirdo. 

Even watching the show as a college student, I feel less alone. I have struggled with anxiety my entire life and seeing the show’s characters not only have extremely realistic encounters with anxiety, but also see them learn to live with it was a relief. I already knew how many people deal with anxiety everyday, but sometimes it is nice to be reminded that you are not special or different, and that so many people deal with this. If I saw this when I was younger I would have known how helpful therapy is much sooner than I did.

This show is gross, vulgar, and wildly innapropiate, but it taught me more than The Great Gatsby ever did; I mean all that ever showed me was unchecked racism and Anti-Semitism. If you want to make a middle schooler feel a bit less lonely and more like part of a society, maybe show them this wildly disgusting show, it could help them.

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