Wednesday, October 9, 2019

REVIEW: 'Big Mouth' - The School Deals with Sexual Harassment During the Musical in 'Disclosure the Movie: The Musical!'

Netflix's Big Mouth - Episode 3.10 "Disclosure the Movie: The Musical!"

A provocative school musical unleashes Missy's inner thespian - and her new Hormone Monstress. The "Queer Eye" Fab Five pay a visit to Coach Steve.

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.

"Disclosure the Movie: The Musical!" was written by Emily Altman & Victor Quinaz and directed by Bob Suarez

To Mr. Lizer, there is no such thing as sexual harassment. It’s simply a tool women use to lord their power over men - oftentimes well-intentioned and good-natured men. It’s an absolutely absurd mindset. And yet, it’s the mentality that permeates throughout the hierarchy of the school. Because he ascribes to this view of the world, he stages a musical production of Disclosure, the 1994 film starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. Of course, he doesn’t care to create some sense of plot or larger lesson. Instead, it’s a very tertiary understanding of the basic plot and who the stars are. It’s not an actual story. Instead, it’s all about how a woman plots to destroy a man’s career simply by soliciting him for sex in the office and then claiming he has been harassing her. It’s astonishing that this was a film produced once upon a time. It also highlights how it truly meant something to people who watched it closely and learned about life and human nature from it. Mr. Lizer is in a position of power in this school. He looms over the students. He has often been the teacher asked to implement some kind of new policy and understanding that helps all of the students feel accepted and seen. He has never thought highly of those programs or the effectiveness of trying to be more socially conscious to the experiences of others. He just sees it as a burden designed to take power away from himself. He demands that authority and respect even though there is no reason why he should have it beyond him identifying as a straight white male. Here, the show puts an even finer point on the conversation by having him abuse his power with Lola. She has always been a rough and scrappy character on this show who doesn’t always understand what’s going on around her. And yet, she needs allies who believe her when they plainly see the abuse happening. Sure, Andrew may be lurking in the shadows. But he understands it clearly. He gets the immediate clarification from Jessi that this is indeed terrible behavior. But again, there were characters who saw just how unfortunate and problematic this musical was from the very beginning. Jessi, Gina and Ali all spoke up about the racism and misogyny that Mr. Lizer casually incorporated into things. Meanwhile, Matthew was mostly just upset that he wasn’t cast as the lead. He certainly seems more impressive and capable than Nick. That too speaks to Mr. Lizer’s view of the world and his inability to imagine that anyone else can have power and beauty through this experience. He simply wants to reinforce certain stereotypes with the understanding that the world will never fundamentally change. It doesn’t have to. It’s just women being hysterical and making a big deal out of nothing. Sure, his punishment is severe and swift. The musical is stopped on opening night and Mr. Lizer falls through a trap door after losing his job. His injuries are significant and he describes them in graphic detail. Fortunately, the audience doesn’t have to witness that. It’s mostly just amusing that Elliot wants the videographer to simply record Nick’s reaction throughout all of this. This is an important story to tell as well. This season has struggled when it comes to talking about the varying sexual dynamics at play throughout the world. In this instance though, it is crystal clear on the abuse of power and the immediate consequences. Plus, it follows that up with the reassurance that Coach Steve will be returning to the school. Sure, he may not be a huge improvement. The Queer Eye Fab Five want to help him. They do a tremendous job with his makeover. However, it’s mostly just a way to ensure that he is right back to the same position and responsibilities he always had. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if he returned to his pre-makeover self after all of this was over. That seems like something that could reasonably happen in this narrative. But it’s also exciting to see the show challenge itself and evolve. Nick and Missy haven’t had romantic tension before. But now, they are cast as the musical leads and those emotions immediately follow. It means that Missy gets her very own hormone monster in Thandie Newton’s Mona. Again, the show never goes wrong when introducing a new monster to the proceedings. Sure, it’s slightly melodramatic that it all pivots around Andrew seeing Nick and Missy kissing for the first time. He has no claim to her. His friendship with Nick has been fraught from time to time. But it certainly makes things tense heading into the finale.