Sunday, December 6, 2020

REVIEW: 'Big Mouth' - Nick's Anxiety and Andrew's Constipation Hit Their Breaking Points at Camp in 'Poop Madness'

Netflix's Big Mouth - Episode 4.03 "Poop Madness"

On the last night of camp, bowel problems, a talent show and a hookup leads to chaos - and hurt feelings. Back home, Jay and Lola throw a pool party.

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.

"Poop Madness" was written by Gil Ozeri and directed by Dave Stone

At the end of the third season, the show made the audience question whether or not Nick and Andrew are actually good as friends. It was certainly debatable because of the actions they had taken. Their personal failings amplified those conflicts as well. Andrew can make no claim to Missy. And yet, he is incredibly possessive of her. He refuses to allow anyone else to covet her in a romantic context. That is heinous behavior. But it's rational in his mind. Nick mistreating her and betraying his friendship with Andrew is all it took for this rage to boil up. Some space could absolutely have done both of them some good. And yet, the narrative put them in the same environment. They had dramatically different experiences at camp. Andrew was the bully. Nick was the victim riddled with panic attacks. Nick continues to be ridiculed here. Sure, he makes ill-advised jokes because he seemingly doesn't care to know why a fellow camper is upset all the time. However, he wants to continue being seen as charming. He views that as his best quality. He can always win people over. The fact that he can't here has sent him spiraling. Meanwhile, Andrew wants to believe that he has been a shitty friend to Nick because he has been constipated the entire summer. That presents probably the grossest thing the show has ever done. That's saying something as well. The show explains that Andrew has gone mad because he is backed up. He can't be free and vulnerable until he pushes this monster out of him. Again, it's the show going to a fairly absurd place in order to highlight the conflicting emotions that define these characters. It runs the risk of the show passing the blame off to some tangential reason instead of allowing the characters to do some real development. But it's also just insane to watch Nick and Andrew come together once more because it's the only way for them to address their issues. Sure, this one victorious moment won't prevent other issues from arising in the future. The two may still not be great friends to each other. Nick may still face panic attacks back at school. However, it's joyous and ridiculous to watch the show frame Andrew finally pooping as him giving birth to twins. It's a public display of gross affection as well. It's easy to ridicule Nick and Andrew for how close they are in this particular moment. And yet, it is strangely a sign of true friendship as well because it offers nothing but unconditional support. Andrew has been a bad friend throughout the entire time at camp. That doesn't change just because he needs help now. However, Nick is there to provide his support anyway. Andrew appreciates that. It means they will go into the eighth grade as friends once more. The world is changing. Jessi will no longer be at school with them. This may be their last time together for awhile. She hasn't had a great time at camp either. But she gets joy from encouraging Natalie to have a good time and supporting her when the kiss with Seth isn't as good as it originally seemed. These kids are still fundamentally monsters to one another. And yet, their moments of friendship can be incredibly empowering as well. Sure, no one can explain why Jay and Lola are attracted to each other. But it's still a dynamic they want to continue. It's not just a summer fling that highlights how gross they both are. They compliment each other with the fantasies of how they want to be living. It's much better than the sad realities they have been forced into accepting for a long time. Their friends attack it. That doesn't dissuade them from continuing it. That may be the only story from the summer that really lingers during the school year. However, this episode is still a victory in so many ways because the emotional beats of the absurd comedy ensure that these twisted friendships can continue despite how uncertain the future is. It's insane and gross. But that also shows who is genuine in these friendships and who is only there for when things are good and simple. Nick and Andrew have their fights and disagreements. They aren't great people. Their actions strive for them to be something better. They don't always encourage each other in the right way. And yet, they create compelling stories together that show their friendship will last despite the battles they wage and the distractions they face now that their lives have grown more complicated through puberty.