In a unique marriage of honesty and the outrageous, “Big Mouth” (2017–) has returned. The hit adult cartoon dropped its fifth season to Netflix on Nov. 5, and it is quite possibly one of its best. A show that has followed the story of the horny, pubescent students of Bridgeton Middle School seems to have recovered its footing this season after a rocky fourth season. The coming-of-age style of the series became popular for its raunchy humor and ability to tackle many of the issues faced by preteens as they go through puberty, mental health struggles and social and familial conflicts. This particular season is as uncomfortable and weird as the rest, sometimes taking jokes and shock value moments too far, but it also demonstrates what is so special about the show.
As self-aware as ever, the season begins on the episode “No Nut November,” which recaps Andrew’s addiction to masturbation, Jay’s broken heart over Lola and Nick’s fragile mental state after the anxiety he started to experience in the previous season. This first episode also has a rather bizarre but oddly entertaining cameo from Kumail Nanjiani, and it really reimmerses the audience into the weird, sometimes upsetting, fictional world of “Big Mouth.”
This season covers everything from body insecurity in the second episode, “The Shane Lizard Rises,” to a Christmas special hosted by live-action puppets of Connie and Maury. But this season seems to have finally gotten a grip on the balance between its mostly sexual, sometimes drawn out, jokes and the actual seriousness of some of the issues it discusses. There are still moments when the show goes further than it needs to, like the scenes from “The Green-Eyed Monster” where Jessi and Samira turn into large Hulk-like monsters because of their jealousy over the other’s connection with Ali, but once you become attached enough to the show, these moments feel almost commonplace and endearing.
This season, Jay’s character receives a lot more attention. The show delves deeper into his romantic interests and mental state while his narrative moves past the more rudimentary focus of the past seasons on the dysfunction of his family and on his resulting issues with fitting into society. At the same time, Jay is arguably one of the funniest characters in the show. The scene where he drives with Matthew in his car full of jeans would be stupid on any other series, but because of his character and the general atmosphere created by the “Big Mouth” producers, it works.
Additionally, this season sees the addition of new creatures from Human Resources, including love bugs and hate worms. Though the idea of the hate worms was a little cheesy and overdone, the result was rather effective, and it created a focus for this season that was noticeably distinct from the previous.
As always, the Hormone Monsters, Lola and Coach Steve were some of the best parts of this season, and, as always, the musical scenes were some of the worst. Though they’re not poorly written, the musical scenes seem to be made to be skipped through — their jokes just don’t land and they often feel like distractions from the content of the show which viewers enjoy most.
All that being said, it does seem like the show has finally realized how to manage its unreal, outrageous moments with the reality of adolescence. This season is one of the few that fully embraced the fart jokes in conjunction with the social struggles of middle schoolers, and the show as a whole benefits from it. For fans of the show, “Big Mouth” Season 5 is worth the watch. It’s funny, clever and self-aware in the way only this show seems to be capable of. It also reaffirms that there is certainly more content for the Netflix series to cover — comforting news for fans in light of the promise of a sixth season to come out in 2022. From a rather long scene showing Santa’s penis to Missy’s character arch overcoming her hateful state of mind, “Big Mouth” has something for everyone. If you’re not already a fan, watch the show; even if you don’t enjoy it, it’ll certainly be an unforgettable experience.