Tuesday, October 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'Big Mouth' - A Major Standardized Test Has Everyone Stressed Out and Wanting to Cheat in 'The ASSes'

Netflix's Big Mouth - Episode 3.09 "The ASSes"

A big standardized test sends everyone into a panic - except for the smart kids, who are smart, and Jay, who just scored an Adderall prescription.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Big Mouth.

"The ASSes" was written by Joe Wengert & Max Silvestri and directed by Kim Arndt

Standardized tests are incredibly stressful. They come with the perception that they will determine one's entire future. That is a big burden to put on young minds. This show is a little rational in that regard by stating that most of these kids have talents that can't be quantified by how well they perform on this specific test. And yet, they still put a ton of pressure on themselves. They want to be perceived as normal. They want to be just as good as everyone else in their grade. For Missy, that has never been a problem because she is smart. She has that confidence. Upon learning that everyone is cheating by taking drugs from Jay, she becomes terrified that she is no longer good enough. That's the thought that scares her. It's all about the peer pressure. That's the burden placed on her. The kids are hardly the only ones stressing out over how this will determine their futures either. The school itself understands that how well the grade collectively performs will determine how much funding they receive. That's a horrible way to value how a school is performing. It again doesn't take into account the numerous ways that a school can have an impact on a young mind. It makes it seem like these tests are all that matters. A student can slack off during the entire year but come in and perform well on this exam. That's all the school essentially needs from them. In Jay's case, they purposefully send him away to the zoo for these three days knowing that he would only drag the average down. That's horrifying and cynical. The administration is trying to game the system by leaving one of their children behind. Diane and Elliot are the first to notice just how wrong that is. Sure, medication may not be the right way to address his ADHD. Prescribing pills to a still developing child can have unforeseen consequences. It's a huge responsibility. The person taking the medication needs to be mature enough to use them appropriately. Jay doesn't have that. He is given this confidence boost by seeming as if he too is capable of performing well at school. Diane and Elliot give that to him. However, they also give him the means to make money for himself. He becomes a drug dealer here. He makes it seem as if the adderall is the only way his peers can score well enough on the test to be seen as impressive throughout the rest of their lives. That's startling. He deals with the consequences of that action as well. It's a choice that may actually send him straight back to his family because his father does show up as his lawyer. He cares what happens to his son when it comes to him facing the legal system. Guy is the type of man who always enjoys an opportunity to take on the judicial process of this community. Jay appreciates his father showing up to take care of him in that way. It is an action based around love for him. However, Jay also does a lot of damage to his friends. They trust him with these drugs. He doesn't care about the side effects and how the crashes they experience afterwards send them spiraling towards depression. Jessi may be more susceptible than others but that's a genuine fear everyone should have. Right now, it is all very perilous. One false move can lead to so much damage. Nick wants the reassurance that no matter what he may end up well off in life because he is charming and funny. Yes, he can always rely on those skills. Everyone shouldn't worry as much. And yet, the cycle is going to repeat. That's the way the world has conditioned people to value their worth. It also means that Missy and Andrew are more than willing to confess to cheating and using drugs the moment the police barge into the room. The detectives want Jay and no one else but the rest of the class may not have that perspective at the moment. Instead, they feel incapable of doing anything else because their minds have been warped.