Hear us out: Big Mouth is actually the perfect TV show for Halloween. What’s scarier than being a teen going through puberty, with nary an idea of how to deal with sudden body and emotional changes? The new episodes of Netflix’s adult animated comedy arrive at an opportune time during spooky season, with the show continuing to deliver on the tragicomedy of pubescence as the middle school kids of Bridgeton High deal with relationships, shifting familial dynamics, coming-of-age issues, and most importantly, being horny as hell.
Big Mouth’s sixth season keeps the show raunchy, hilarious, and often emotional. The 10 half-hour episodes feel familiar as the series has carved a successful, distinctive voice for itself over the years. This isn’t necessarily a problem, though, but it does pose the question: How long can Nick, Andrew, and their fellow classmates/hormone monsters keep going without the storylines getting repetitive?
For now, season six sits in a comfortable spot: It plays with similar themes without compromising on the laugh-out-loud humor, extraordinary voice performances (especially from series co-creator Nick Kroll and his co-star, John Mulaney), meta satire, or ability to be unapologetically provocative. Take episode three’s opening scenes—or the entire installment, actually—as a shining illustration of Big Mouth’s triumph. “Vagina Shame” kicks off with animated images of the vagina, and follows four female characters dealing with intimate, highly specific problems. Jessi (Jessi Klein) freaks out about a yeast infection, Missy (Ayo Edebiri) gets her first period, Lola (Kroll) succumbs to peer pressure about pubic hair, and Jessi’s pregnant stepmom, Kaitlyn (Jenny Slate), is forced to change her delivery plans due to health concerns.
Big Mouth refuses to hold back while exploring those topics. The writing is layered and resonant, but it’s also funnily dramatized. And that’s really the show’s comedic sweet spot. Lola chopping off her hair is depicted as an old-school beheading, with her pubic hair begging her not to kill them. At one point, Nick is asked to draw a vagina, and he shows off the lame triangle he sketched, seriously wondering if it’s too graphic for Netflix to display it. It allows Big Mouth to dig into how little most men are taught to care about female pleasure.
The remaining episodes explore the teens pursuing various relationships. Andrew’s jealousy impacts his long-distance bond with Bernadette “Bernie” Sanders (Kristen Schaal). Mulaney is exceptional as his character becomes more unhinged and perverted, or as Andrew’s dad accurately phrases it, transforms into a “depraved little heathen.” However, the actor finds unexpected vulnerability in voicing Andrew, especially once season six digs into the reasons for his obsessive behavior. Missy connects with a new student, Elijah (Brian Tyree Henry), who becomes Big Mouth’s first asexual character. Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) and Matthew (Andrew Rannells) are a full-fledged couple now, much to Lola’s chagrin. Lola remains the MVP, and Big Mouth acknowledges that with an original song that dubs her as a breakout star. Of the many (many, many) characters he voices, Kroll’s work as Lola Ugfuglio Skumpy is his best.
While all these storylines are entertaining if not formulaic, Big Mouth thrives in this new season by focusing on the parental relationships. There are hardly any scenes set in the school, and even the kids’ friendships take a narrative backseat. Instead, season six acknowledges how Nick, Andrew, Jessi, Missy, Lola, and Jay’s upbringings—or, in some cases, lack thereof—have shaped them into the teens they are today. By dwelling on this aspect, the show morphs beyond being a raunchy comedy, to its benefit. Still, staying true to its funky nature in the end, it converges these parent-child arcs in a finale that pays homage to Freaky Friday.
There are gaps this time around, though. Maya Rudolph’s Connie isn’t as present (although Rudolph gets to flex her muscles as Diane, Nick’s loving mom who is at the end of her rope). Supporting characters like Jordan Peele’s Duke Ellington, David Thewlis’ Shame Monster, and Ali Wong’s Ali don’t get sufficient screen time. Which we get. It’s just an unavoidable after-effect of juggling multiple storylines to accurately depict the kids growing up.
Despite these minor flaws, Big Mouth remains one of Netflix’s superior creative comedies. It’s visceral and uncomfortable because the show understands the horror of puberty and capitalizes on the animation to brutally depict it, whether it’s Jay “fucking” his pillows or a turkey, or Missy constantly fantasizing about Nathan Fillion. Big Mouth is a frantic, incisive, nostalgic journey about the difficulties of maturing—and shows no signs of slowing down.
Big Mouth season six premieres October 28 on Netflix.