The animated Netflix series Big Mouth is a raucous, delightfully vulgar exploration of puberty. Created by Nick Kroll, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin, and Andrew Goldberg, the show has never shied away from the grotesque banalities of adolescence. It’s a putrid circus of fluttering stomachs, tonsil hockey, and masturbation.
In Season 1, Big Mouth’s bumbling young protagonists stumbled through the awkward changes of their early teen years with crude, cringeworthy humor. But the second season, out last Friday, brings with it a set of slightly more grown-up concerns. As their bodies continue to shift, the eighth-graders Nick (Kroll), Andrew (John Mulaney), Missy (Jenny Slate), Jessi (Jessi Klein), and Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) gain some measure of clarity about what their corporeal changes mean for how they relate to one another—and about the major decisions they’ll need to make as a result. As they grapple with a new, nearly incapacitating sense of puberty-related shame, the teens also find they have some helpful tools at their disposal.
WE FUX WITH SAFE SEX, reads the sign outside Bridgeton Middle School at the start of the second season’s fifth episode. Titled “The Planned Parenthood Show,” the episode begins with Coach Steve (also Kroll) telling the students, in extremely colorful language, that he’s now qualified to teach them sex education because he recently lost his virginity. “I hope you at least wore a condom,” Jessi notes, beginning an exchange in which the teens warn their adult coach about the pitfalls of unprotected sex.
The girls, ever the voices of reason, also school the boys on the host of services offered at Planned Parenthood, which the always misguided Jay derides as an “abortion factory.” After Missy rebuts that characterization by mentioning the cancer screenings Planned Parenthood offers its low-income clients, Coach Steve’s confusion serves as an entry point into the premise of the sketch that takes up much of the episode: “I don’t understand,” he says. “Do you have some sort of skit that we can watch that would be entertaining and informative but also not too preachy?”