Friday, October 5, 2018

REVIEW: 'Big Mouth' - A New Monster Arrives to Torture Andrew for His Recent Behavior in 'The Shame Wizard'

Netflix's Big Mouth - Episode 2.03 "The Shame Wizard"

As Nick tries to figure out whether he has a shot with Gina, a mortifying encounter with Leah sends Andrew into a spiral of shame.

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.

"The Shame Wizard" was written by Victor Quinaz and directed by Joel Moser

David Thewlis is such a fantastic addition as the Shame Wizard. This episode introduces him in such an extreme way for Andrew. He lives in constant fear that his perversions are proof that he is a horrible human being. He believes he is a nice guy. He wants to believe that he is capable of stepping up and filling that role in society. But he also sees things breaking down in a black and white way as well. There are good and bad guys in the world. He wants to be good but fears that he is bad. He attributes this to all of the masturbation he is doing and the many ways Maury is able to coerce him into doing things. That temptation from the various Hormone Monsters is very real. Rick is trying to get Nick to kiss Gina even though he is ruining a very strong friendship because of those feelings. And Connie is convincing Jessi that it's a better idea to start stealing from pharmacies instead of hanging out with her friends or family. These are decisions that these monsters have spent a lifetime forcing kids through puberty to do. They are these extreme examples of rebellion that everyone can seemingly relate to. And yet, the kids in the throws of these moments don't feel like they can express themselves genuinely to anyone else. All they have are their feelings of shame or rebellion. Jessi is chasing that high of stealing this lip gloss without getting caught. She sees it as the way that men walk through life all the time. It's absolutely invigorating and only makes her lash out at her parents even more. Meanwhile, Andrew only has shame of masturbating to Leah's bathing suit in the bathroom of the Birch family pool house. He is just so tempted to please himself in that public setting. He doesn't care to lock the door. Nor does he know how Leah reacted to seeing that. He just lives in the fear that she was disgusted and horrified by his out-of-shape body doing despicable things to her piece of clothing. He fears that she tells the rest of her family and he will never be invited back over there. All he has are these fears. He doesn't confide in anyone. He doesn't have the opportunity to do so. The Shame Wizard has taken ahold of Andrew. It's not long before he is in a court being tried as a perverted individual who deserves to feel bad. Andrew is looking throughout the world for a way to avoid feeling this kind of shame. Religion doesn't offer any kind of clarity for him. Instead, it's mostly just an excuse to avoid any kind of real conversation about these life-changing issues for a teenager. Andrew wants to feel understood. He wants to know that he's not disgusting because of this one incident. But the Shame Wizard is able to call on a number of witnesses who can testify that this is a pattern of Andrew's that proves he's incapable of being a decent guy. Despite his attempts to do that, he only spirals further out of control. These aren't fears that will be going away any time soon either. Plus, he's still masturbating after this trial is over. He is even aroused by the entire event too. That's shocking and ridiculous. But the Shame Wizard has come into Andrew's life and Maury seems incapable of helping at all. He presents as a lawyer but he has no idea what he's doing because he is actually encouraging a lot of these emotional impulses. As such, Andrew only feels worse than he did before.