Big Mouth Season 7: A New Chapter in the Animated Comedy
“Big Mouth’s going to high school,” the animated comedy announces in a triumphant and fourth-wall-breaking gospel number at the top of its seventh season. “We’re finally moving on.” This has always been a show about awkward and painful transitions, and creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett make the most of this one by spending eight episodes building up to the first day of high school. The song goes on to acknowledge that the writers had “milked middle school dry,” and graduation provides a needed refresh while promising even bigger conflicts to come in the final season.
Exploring Mental Health and Sexuality
Over the course of seven seasons, Big Mouth has managed to grow into a surprisingly deep exploration of mental health and sexuality without losing the meta raunchiness at its core. Rich storylines abound in season 7, building toward a cliffhanger in the finale. Big Mouth has always ended its seasons with a bang, usually with a fantastical element like body-swapping or superpowers that allows everyone to resolve their problems. This season makes it clear that the solutions its characters arrive at just pave the way for future issues, making the conclusion far more realistic – even if it involves time travel.
Character Development in High School
Changing schools is a time when kids have the chance to evaluate who they are and who they want to be, and that gives Big Mouth ample opportunities to demonstrate how its characters have developed. Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney) is tired of being viewed as disgusting, but needs to figure out how to do the work of rehabilitating his reputation. A plot where an injured penis forces him to stop masturbating and leads to him excelling in school could have been stretched longer, but the payoff for an accidental groping in the season premiere is top notch.
Feeling infantilized by his parents and older siblings, Nick Birch (Nick Kroll) tries to find a way to be cool. That leads to a hilariously disastrous attempt to follow his brother Judd (Jon Daly) to a drug deal, a plot that prompts some psychedelic experimental animation. Heading off to a fancy private school without any of his old friends, Nick puts so much faith in the relationship he wants to build with future classmate Danni (Zazie Beetz) that he leaves himself lonely and vulnerable. It’s an earnest arc driven by the fickle nature of friendship.
Challenges and New Relationships
Many of the other characters agonize about where they’ll fit in. After years of misery, Jessi Glaser (Jessi Klein) is so resigned to high school being more of the same that she’s largely immune to the panic her classmates face. Instead she finds herself pulled between Nick’s sweet older sister Leah (Chloe Fineman) and her cool-but-basic clique and bad girl burnout Lulu (Stephanie Beatriz). It’s uncharted territory for Big Mouth, and the writers seem eager to take inspiration from the likes of The Breakfast Club and Freaks and Geeks.
After Missy Foreman-Greenwald (Ayo Edebiri) learned that her boyfriend Elijah (Brian Tyree Henry) is asexual last season, his steady companionship is pitted against her needs as one of the horniest kids in Bridgeton. The conflict comes to a head with the introduction of Dread (Patrick Page), a new addition to Big Mouth’s emotional menagerie and a monstrous evolution of the already terribly powerful Tito the Anxiety Mosquito (Maria Bamford). A grotesque, oozing creature who compels Missy to lie to her loved ones rather than facing her fears, Dread evokes the horror of a Stranger Things villain.
Surprising Character Development and Musical Highlights
Some of the biggest surprises of the season are the new dimensions given to Caleb (Joe Wengert), a supporting character who has largely been a stereotype of Autism Spectrum Disorder providing a contrast with his flamboyant morning show co-host Matthew MacDell (Andrew Rannells). Matthew’s gotten plenty of strong character arcs already, but discovering that Caleb views him as his best friend and a source of constancy amidst frightening change is a particularly excellent one. The episode “Panic! At the Mall” gives Caleb center stage as he battles his anxiety while working his hardest to be a good friend. It further integrates him into the core cast by depicting his relationship with Maurice the Hormone Monster (Kroll), who eagerly awaits their regularly scheduled 8:30 p.m. masturbation session. It’s the epitome of Big Mouth’s skill at marrying the serious and the ludicrous.
Musical numbers have always been one of the series’ biggest highlights, and that’s still very much true in Season 7. Megan Thee Stallion joins the cast as the Hormone Monstress Megan, building on “WAP” with an original song accompanied by a chorus of vaginas. In another episode, Kroll and Beetz croon about a bad hookup in the style of a ’70s music video.
The International Awkwardness of Puberty
But the best part of the season is the bonus episode where Big Mouth taps its international dubbing cast for a series of shorts celebrating the universal awkwardness of puberty. That includes a catchy Spanish tune about pubic hair from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Sofia Ashraf singing about menstruation while characters dance around with blatantly symbolic melons. Lupita Nyong’o reprises her role as the Shame Wizard Asha from Big Mouth’s spinoff Human Resources to devastating effect in a section centering on a Kenyan matatu and Swedish cartoon characters show that in some countries, musical genitals are the stuff of kids’ programming. It’s the most ambitious Big Mouth has been since season 2’s “The Planned Parenthood Show” and proves that as much as the writers may joke about running out of ideas, they’ve clearly got plenty of great ones left.