Tuesday, December 8, 2020

REVIEW: 'Big Mouth' - Matthew Yearns for a Closer Connection with His Mother While Andrew Is Publicly Humiliated in 'The Funeral'

Netflix's Big Mouth - Episode 4.08 "The Funeral"

Wracked with guilt, Andrew tries to keep his urges in check. Matthew's mom ices him out of the church bake-off after reading his texts.

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 Funeral" was written by Joe Wengert and directed by Bryan Francis

So much went unsaid in Matthew's relationship with his mother. He believed he never had to come out to her because it was always clear he was gay. Everyone always understood that about him. He is accepted at school and has a boyfriend. However, his mother thought if they never addressed it then she could continue living in the hope that he would grow up to have the typical "Christian" life she wants for him. She never wanted to think about it. A point came where they could no longer ignore this conversation. It's something that needed to happen. And yes, his life should become more rewarding and enriching the more authentic he is with everyone in it. But his mother still rejects him. She still views being gay as a choice. She is disappointed in her son for making that choice and wanting to live a life of sin. It's horrifying. It's depressing too. Nothing about their dynamic needed to change. He enjoys their bond just as much as she has. But now, she has moved on to sharing that affection with his younger sister. She can be the new partner to enjoy all of these activities. Matthew wants to bake a cake with his mother. Him making one with Aidan promises to still provide him the opportunity to live in this space and embrace what he loves doing. In reality, it's never about the competition though. It's about wanting acceptance at home. Without that, he is left mourning what he used to have. His life is rocked because of this confrontation. They can no longer have an honest and genuine conversation with each other because of this rift. That's disappointing and bound to shape his worldview. Now, he doesn't feel close with either of his parents. He can't talk with them about any of this. He is left all alone to sing his feelings and cry in his bed. The parents of this show are sometimes trying their best. And yet, they are often failing as well because they too are struggling with the realities of the world. Jessi's parents have been going through an ugly divorce. It meant Shannon thought she could escape to the city and leave all her problems behind. That's what she wanted for her daughter too. A fresh start was what they needed. In actuality, Jessi needs a therapist. She feels betrayed by her friends. Their lives have continued without her. Missy seems to be thriving. Meanwhile, Nick is kind for a moment before he tries to take advantage of Jessi while she is vulnerable. She is crying. And yet, he wants to play into the fantasy of what he wants this dynamic to be. He expects her to embrace him in this way. He is a foolish and stupid guy though. He never genuinely cares about her feelings. He only cares about his personal satisfaction. He doesn't want to make the same mistakes his anxiety dreams imagined he would in the future. He doesn't want to let her go. But he's still a jerk who doesn't lead with compassion and sympathy. Jessi is finally getting the love and acceptance she needs at home. Shannon and Greg realize they need to do better by her because of the turmoil her life has gone through over the last year. They need to put her needs first. That is the sacrifice they are making as parents. They too are emotional and uncertain about it. But it's also clear that this is the first moment of true connection between them in awhile. Sure, living with her dad may not be great in the long run. It may offer Jessi some stability though. That's what she needs right now in order to confront the depression and anxiety that attack her all the time. Meanwhile, Andrew's plot is the more outrageous story of the episode. It's fascinating how the show can be gross with every storytelling beat but can also earn genuine emotional beats for a lot of character journeys as well. With Andrew, it seems like he is always perpetually stuck in the same spot. He is once again embarrassed with a public display of humiliation. He feels compelled to masturbate to alleviate the stress he is under. He fears lethal consequences if he does. He can't control himself either. He wants to embrace some discipline. He is too easily tempted though. As such, he continues to make so many bad decisions. And now, he may spiral with the constant fear of death that his parents impose on him. That will rock his world too. One that will possibly make him more obsessive in trying to control things out of fear that everything is completely random in the end. He'll fear the worst which is crippling in its own way.