Sunday, October 7, 2018

REVIEW: 'Big Mouth' - The Shame Wizard Works Extra Hard During a School Sleepover in 'Dark Side of the Boob'

Netflix's Big Mouth - Episode 2.08 "Dark Side of the Boob"

A school sleepover turns messy as Nick dishes on a make out session and the Shame Wizard works his miserable magic on the whole class.

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.

"Dark Side of the Boob" was written by Kelly Galuska and directed by Bryan Francis

A night with the entire class sleeping in the school gym has the potential to be absolutely exciting and terrifying. Everyone notes just how precarious this arrangement could become. They are barely going to be supervised by two teachers - one of whom happens to be Coach Steve. Moreover, the episode starts in a very genuine and vulnerable place with Gina talking about how it made her feel when the guys at school were only objectifying her body. Nick was a part of that. He seems sincere in the moment. But he still just wants to fit in as one of the guys. He wants to prove to his peers that he is just as horny and perverted as the rest of them. That's the barometer for success as a man. That's how he perceives he can be championed. He needs to tell people about his conquest. It's absolutely disgusting and horrifying. Moreover, it makes others feel bad. It turns them into people they don't want to be. It leads to a lot of cyber bullying against Gina. She is quickly labeled a slut because she didn't fall in line with Devin's rules about relationships at this school. That is so ridiculous and arbitrary. And yet, it still means so much to the other girls in the class. Gina feels betrayed and devastated. She let Nick in and he turned against her. He tries to keep coming across as the sweet and genuine boyfriend too. He doesn't deserve that. He should feel bad about what he did because he was placing more value on his perceived testosterone instead of caring about Gina's feelings. He succumbed to Tyler's horrific advice. The various Hormone Monsters are all cheering on the kids they are helping because this has the potential of being a fun night. Of course, it mostly amounts to Tyler pushing Nick to do something he isn't comfortable doing, Andrew still being tormented by Lola because of how he treated her, Jessi feeling self-conscious about possibly being replaced in the group and Missy filled with desire especially as she fantasizes about Nathan Fillion and her fellow classmates.

However, the true highlight of this hour once again has to be David Thewlis as the Shame Wizard. This is a busy night for him as well. In fact, it's even more valuable for him because he is striking the deepest vulnerabilities of the entire class. He's not focusing his efforts on one individual. He's bouncing back and forth from the various stories to fill everyone's heads with shame and embarrassment. He wants them all to feel bad. As his final song explains, he sees value in the work that he does. Otherwise people would just walk around this world feeling confident with every single decision that they make. They need to feel bad because they are doing things that seem to violate their core beliefs of the people they aspire to be. Jessi proclaims herself to be a feminist. But here, she contributes to Gina's slut shaming. She's the reason why that news spreads throughout the entire class. That's horrifying to her and makes her feel even more worthless. Meanwhile, Missy admits that she has always known she has been masturbating with her favorite plush toy. She just has to accept that it's her desire fueling her actions and not the temptation of an inanimate object talking to her. She must do it even though she's in a public space. That's embarrassing. It's also something that Andrew enjoys. He loves the idea of watching a woman masturbate if she has no idea that he's doing so. That's so incredibly creepy but it still takes the Shame Wizard pulling out a recording for Andrew to realize just how perverted he has become. The Shame Wizard is able to expertly pick apart everyone at this school sleepover. It's so impressive. It makes it seem like he is all-knowing and omnipresent. And yes, the animation backs that up with the final performance. He's always present. He can be in multiple places at once. He's not like the hormone monsters working with specific clients. He has set his sights on these students and is doing everything he can to make sure they are all ashamed of their actions at this event. It's so delightful despite how twisted all of it is as well.