Sunday, December 6, 2020

REVIEW: 'Big Mouth' - Jessi and Nick Fear the Ridicule of Their Peers When They Actually Need Help in 'The Hugest Period Ever'

Netflix's Big Mouth - Episode 4.02 "The Hugest Period Ever"

While Jessi deals with menstrual mayhem, Nick tries to avoid showering with the guys and Missy gets a makeover from her cousins in Atlanta.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 Hugest Period Ever" was written by Kelly Galuska and directed by Bryan Francis

Nick and Jessi fear reaching out to their peers when they need compassion because they know that they will only receive ridicule. They are full of anxiety. Camp isn't going great for either of them. It only becomes more and more of a disaster. They feel alienated from the people they should be bonding with. Andrew took Nick's friendship with Seth away. Meanwhile, Jessi is embarrassed to ask anyone for a tampon because she feels the judgment of what they'll say about her huge menstrual flow. Jessi's story is the most specific and endearing of this episode. It never loses sight of the absurd either. It's completely ridiculous to imagine an enter lake getting sucked up into a pad. That seemed liked a viable solution for Jessi so that she wouldn't have to ask for something different than what she already understands about her period. She is terrified waking up in a pool of blood. Natalie presents herself as a friend. It's a genuine bond as well that is defined by what Jessi needs in this situation. Jessi wants to handle all of this in secret. She needs help finding a tampon. It has to be the right size for her as well. Going through the bags of the other girls, she sees a variety of sizes. That basically confirms that everyone has different needs in this situation. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. Jessi just fears the unknown because it has already turned into a public spectacle. She saw how the girls reacted to that. As such, she knows she can't rely on them for sympathy and understanding. They will only mock her ignorance of how to use a tampon. And yes, it is a journey for her. However, she eventually figures it out. It's fundamentally a celebration too. Sure, she laments the fact that she will have to do this every month for the next four decades of her life. That's a terrifying prospect. One that seems unfair. But she knows exactly what to do now. She better understands her body and want it needs at any given moment. That means she can surf with confidence. She no longer has to fear the blood. That stands in contrast to what Nick fears throughout the day. He has always been self-conscious about the size of his penis. He has shown it in public before. Showering with the guys is a new situation though. One where he is continually made to feel like an outsider. He hopes he can get away without showering. That isn't a viable solution for him either. It has to happen. Him trying to avoid it only leads to more ridicule. He can't go to anyone hoping for any kind of compassion either. Maury wants to present it as a choice for Andrew whether or not he should call attention to his friend smelling horribly. Andrew instinctively ridicules his former best friend. It's a choice out of animosity and a need to belittle. He is torturing him. That continues long after Nick finally takes a shower too. That may amplify his anxiety and make it that much harder for him to accept kindness and friendship from his peers. That too is a terrifying prospect. Elsewhere, Missy is visiting her cousins in Atlanta who introduce her to Black culture. This story is absolutely important. She deserves to have some cultural understanding of her identity. Her parents can't deflect her from that reality for her entire life. Because they have done so up to this point, she lashes out at them for her denying her what is so accepted elsewhere. She too is ridiculed for how she behaves. She is growing up. She says goodbye to her overalls. That's a huge development. It's an important first step. She enters into a new identity. It's one she is fully willing to embrace. Her cousins are being truthful to her. It's also creating tension with her parents as she no longer views their lives as valid given the expected norms of their cultural identities. It's a complicated subject. One that deserves much more time to analyze and explore. The show is worthy of having that conversation. But it also makes it even more meaningful that Ayo Edebiri is taking over the voice role of Missy later this season. Having that authentic actor in the role will help the conversation resonant in a more meaningful way. Right now, Missy knows she can't use the N-word. She recognizes that but that could very well change in the future if the show is committed to that kind of journey in her puberty.