Friday, October 5, 2018

REVIEW: 'Big Mouth' - Nick and Andrew Grow Increasingly Angry with the World in 'Am I Normal?'

Netflix's Big Mouth - Episode 2.01 "Am I Normal?"

Andrew struggles to blend in after a growth spurt, Nick worries his hormones are out of whack, and Jessi and Jay get a taste of the teen runaway life.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Big Mouth.

"Am I Normal?" was written by Andrew Goldberg and directed by Bob Suarez

In its first season, Big Mouth proved that it could be so imaginative with the way it presents its stories with the use of fantastical elements. And yet, it always remained very grounded in its focus on this group of preteens going through the beginning of puberty. It also was able to generate some huge laughs along the way. That quality continues in the first episode of the second season. Even though Nick now has his own puberty monster and a couple of pubic hairs, he fears that he isn't developing as quickly as everyone else his age. It's the show actively exploring why he is still shorter than his friends. He sees it as there being something wrong with him. He dreads having Rick as his hormone monster especially after learning that Coach Steve still relies on him as well. Coach Steve remains absolutely oblivious to the world around him. That's what makes it so amusing when he keeps consuming dairy and immediately vomiting to the point of almost dying. It keeps things from becoming too sentimental during the end of this episode because this is still a very embarrassing and awkward world the characters live in. Of course, Nick really shouldn't have anything to worry about when it comes to his development either. Sure, he freaks out when he loses one of his pubes. That is such a pivotal moment for him. And yet, him reacting by trying to smother Rick to death also proves just how emotional and full of rage he is as well. Those are true signs of puberty. It's the same thing that is going on with Andrew. He is full of anger at the world simply because they believe he is strong and capable now that he is tall. His father is especially demanding of him because he seems to be nothing more than a freak of nature. That's not loving in the slightest. It's enough to make Andrew hate his parents. He does ultimately get an apology from his mother for waxing his lip. But it happens right in the middle of the latest basketball game where the team actually has a chance at winning. That confession is enough to create the distraction necessary for Nick to score the winning points. That's a major celebration. It also comes with the casual reveal that Jessi and Jay are back in school now. They impulsively left at the end of the first season because they thought they could be happier together than with their respective families. And yes, it's very telling how the two families react to their disappearances. Jay's family doesn't notice or care that he's gone at all. Meanwhile, Jessi's parents have called the police and are beginning to fear that she won't come back alive. It's still meaningful when it's Jessi's decision to come back. She returns because life on the road with Jay just isn't that fun. It's pretty miserable the entire time. He may not be a good boyfriend even though she enjoys having that kind of relationship in her life. He may be too weird with his obsession with magic and having sex with pillows. Even when Pam is left on the pickup truck, he still forms a new attachment with the pillows in the hotel room. He still likes Jessi as well. It's just better for them to be back home and at school so they can continue to figure out their own lives and what they actually want.