Big Mouth Season 4 Review
When Big Mouth first hit Netflix back in 2017, it was met with positive reception from audiences and critics alike. The show, which follows a group of students at Bridgeton Middle School as they navigate puberty, their families, and their relationships with each other. The series received much of its praise for their personification of puberty, with each student getting a Hormone Monster throughout the series, as well as depression and shame. Given the praise the first three seasons of the show received, it’s no surprise that audiences were excited for the fourth installment of the show.
And with good reason, too. Although there are a few hiccups along the way, season four of Big Mouth manages to tackle some pretty large topics.
Season four of Big Mouth picks up where season three stopped: Nick (Nick Kroll) and Andrew (John Mulaney) are both at the same summer camp but have stopped being friends in light of Nick kissing Missy (Jenny Slate/Ayo Edebiri) during a school play, but then admitting he wasn’t interested in her at the end of season three. Jessi (Jessi Klein) is also at summer camp, where she has her period for the first time and befriends Natalie (Josie Totah), the first openly trans teen on the show. Missy is on vacation with her parents, where she gets an opportunity to explore Black culture, and what it means to her identity. Meanwhile, Lola (Nick Kroll) and Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) stay home from summer camp and begin dating.
Season four does a great job of expanding on their personifications of the emotions and challenges faced throughout adolescence (and if we’re being honest, much of adulthood). The season introduces us to Tito the Anxiety Mosquito (Maria Bramford), as well as the Gratitoad (Zach Galifianakis), and brings back one of the best iterations of depression yet: the Depression Kitty (Jean Smart). Jessi’s narrative is one of the best this season, as she navigates her relationship with her divorced parents, her first period, relocating to New York City, overcoming depression and anxiety, trying therapy, and getting herself involved with an older student who tries to pressure her into sexual acts she’s not ready for as well as the emotional fallout that results from the failed relationship.
Big Mouth also gives audiences a unique take on what it means to lose your true self. While Nick battles anxiety over the course of the season, he finds himself increasingly shutting his loved ones out by the end of the season, and it’s up to his friends to help him rediscover who he is. He, in an interesting twist, becomes a ghost who’s unable to get back in his body. It’s a visually striking way to show us how easy it is to feel at odds with who you want to be, and who you really are, and how it’s only at our most vulnerable that we’re at our most sincere.
Missy’s character is also given a new look, as well as an especially poignant character arc. This season explores what it means for Missy to reconnect with Black culture, and what it means to her as a mixed-raced teen. The show also explores Code Switching, identity, and what it means to feel othered. Big Mouth, following the BLM protests that broke out across the world in protest of police brutality and racism, made the long-overdue decision to recast the voice actress for Missy, with Jenny Slate stepping down and giving the opportunity to comedian and writer Ayo Edebiri.
While the show certainly accomplishes much of what it sets out to do, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that there are a few scenes that miss the mark (though none as bad as their attempt to define pansexuality in season three). Although the show forces audiences to frequently suspend their disbelief, this season asks that of audiences a bit more than usual. One such example is when Jessi tries to wear a pad to the beach. It absorbs so much water and becomes so massive in size, that boats and aircrafts are sucked into it, and the lake dries up. While the show often has these over-the-top moments, they’re usually limited to the experiences had by the (pre)teens and are often revealed to be fantastical daydreams or isolated adventures. In this season, some of these moments feel so over-the-top and disconnected from the point of the episode that it takes you out of the show.
Although the newest season isn’t its strongest one to date, it tackles some genuinely profound issues with a surprising amount of heart. So if you don’t mind overlooking some stretches of the imagination, and want a show that’s relatable, funny, and clever in its execution, be sure to check out Big Mouth available now on Netflix.