Sunday, October 7, 2018

REVIEW: 'Big Mouth' - Nick, Andrew, Jay and Matthew Learn More About Toxic Masculinity in 'Guy Town'

Netflix's Big Mouth - Episode 2.07 "Guy Town"

While helping Greg move into a seedy bachelor complex, the boys and their dads debate what women want - and what it means to be a man.

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.

"Guy Town" was written by Joe Wengert and directed by Bob Suarez

This is such a confusing time in the life of the young characters. Their bodies and minds are changing. They believe they have clarity over their lives. And then, something new happens that completely mystifies them. The adults have strong definitions in their lives. They have made the choices regarding who they want to be. For Elliot, that just happens to be a man who would rather pretend to be a cat for an entire day. For Marty, that's being a perpetually angry man furious at the world for not meeting his incredibly high standards. Of course, not every adult has their life together. This episode is set almost entirely at Guy Town, a place for divorced dads to go to have their freedom once more. It's no surprise that Guy Bilzerian is the horrendous human being running this apartment complex. He believes in just taking whatever he deems to be his. He is such a toxic individual. And yet, Jay still admires him and aspires to get his approval. He continues to chase after it even though Nick and Andrew are the ones who get his attention here. It's so fascinating to watch as Andrew is called out for his horrendous behavior towards Lola. He did fear about how he would come across if he dumped her after dry humping with her. But he still did it. He couldn't control himself during any part of the process. And now, he is rightfully called out as a bad guy. He can't offer any sensible explanation for it either. When Matthew is making an exposé, Andrew just keeps digging himself into a bigger hole. He only really gets clarity once he sees just how proud this community of disasters embrace him for his actions. It's only through saying out loud what he did that he understands that he absolutely should feel bad about what he has done. But that doesn't mean he should receive forgiveness. Self-acceptance is the first step to admitting wrong behavior. It just has to remain difficult for him to be forgiven and accepted back in his community of friends. Jessi turns on him. Nick questions their friendship because it could compromise his budding relationship with Gina. That's Nick's sole focus at the moment. He is asking everyone around him how to win Gina. That's the wrong way to phrase that subject. Women aren't objects that can be won. They are human beings with their own personal feelings. He has to do what's right by her. On this journey, Nick gets a new hormone monster. It's amusing that Tyler gets Nick for his very first assignment. Maury and Connie have always been billed as the old pros of this line of work. They know how to get the job done. They are legends. Tyler is just getting started and has absolutely no clue how to do this job. And so, Nick is still completely confused and has no idea what he's doing. He's lashing out at his father once more. He believes being mean like Guy will get him the girl. But in the end, Marty is the one with the right advice of simply taking her to an activity they can both enjoy. He doesn't say it in the nicest way. He could never benefit Andrew's life like this. But it's still appreciated. It's Nick actually making a smart decision in his life even though he is very single-minded at the moment. All of the young characters are like that. They believe they are multi-dimensional people with clearcut identities. But it's so fascinating watching the show call them out for that not being true - especially when it extends to some supporting characters like Matthew. It's so important for the show to do more with him and how puberty is different for people who don't fit into the heteronormative narrative of society.