After the somber end of Season Three, the kids of Bridgeton Middle School continue with their struggles with puberty.
Season Four picks up where Season Three had left off: Andrew and Nick’s friendship has broken down. Unfortunately, Andrew and Nick have to spend the summer together at camp and Nick starts to suffer from anxiety. Jessi has to move to New York City, and she suffers a relapse into depression. Missi has an identity crisis due to her mixed-race heritage. And Jay and Lola start a relationship.
Despite Big Mouth being an animated show filled with surreal sequences, dirty jokes, and monsters, it’s one of the most relatable shows currently on TV, especially for teenagers. Many people would have suffered from the same issues the Big Mouth characters have suffered from.
Nick and Jessi were the characters who had the biggest arcs in the season. Nick was one of the most confident members of the group. He has already had some relationships with girls and his biggest concern was he was the most underdeveloped out of all the teens. However, in this season Nick suffers from anxiety – the new monster in the series was Tito the Anxiety Mosquito and she acted as the voice of self-doubt. She amplifies what the characters were already feeling.
Nick had the worst summer possible because he was lonely and bullied which led to him suffering from panic attacks. Even after the summer Nick, Tito still comes back to make Nick’s life difficult. Nick also sees a future version of himself that has all his worst attributes and shows his worst fear: being alone.
Jessi’s story was poignant. Tito comes and ruins Jessi’s life during her first day at a new school, and this led to the return of the Depression Kitty. Together they work against Jessi, making her feel terrible which led to Jessi making decisions. Even her hormone monster, Connie, helped Jessi make bad decisions. In the series Connie, Depression Kitty, and Tito encourage Jessi into a relationship with a pretentious arty kid – Connie encouraged Jessi’s attraction to Michael, whilst Depression Kitty and Tito tell Jessi he’s the only way she can have any sense of self-worth. All this leads to Jessi being pressured into doing something she was reluctant to do. I was thinking ‘don’t do it Jessi’ which shows how invested I was into the arc.
Jessi’s story was like the teenage version of Inside Out. The Depression Kitty, Tito, and Connie amplify all of Jessi’s emotions. There was even a reference to Inside Out when Jessi breaks down in tears during her first day at school.
Andrew, Missi, and Matthew have arcs and important moments. Andrew had two major storylines – the first was the storyline at camp where he participated in the bullying against Nick, the second was developing a fear of death. Andrew suffered from constipation when at camp, leading to metaphorically act like a piece of shit. Yet this leads to Andrew and Nick restoring their friendship and calling back to the first episode where the pair were willing to embarrass each other to help each other out.
Missi’s revolved around her identity. She has lived a sheltered life to the point she doesn’t realize why her dad gets stopped at the airport. It’s only when Missi meets her cousins where they encourage her to embrace her heritage. Missi gets a new look and in “A Very Special 9/11 Episode” she speaks with DeVon, the only black student in her grade. DeVon states Missi should be confident in her identity, but he has a troubling revelation that he changes the way he speaks depending on his surroundings. Both Missi and DeVon were kids from a middle-class suburb, so their experience was going to be different from other African Americans.
The show lampshades that Missi was voiced by a 37-year-old white woman and with the current political climate many animated shows have recast with voice actors of color. Big Mouth was no expectation, but they simply didn’t change Missi’s voice. Partly this was due to Jenny Slate already much of her dialogue for the fourth season, but the main reason was to highlight Missi’s metamorphosis during the series and the voice change was a major plot point. Ayo Edebiri’s voice was slightly deeper than Jenny Slate’s, but the difference was minor and the change could be argued that Missi’s maturing so her voice would get deeper.
Matthew’s storyline involved his sexual identity and coming out. This was difficult for him because his mother was a religious conservative, and his dad was a Navy veteran. The family home was covered in patriotic American symbols. Many gay viewers could relate to Matthew’s plight.
My favorite episode of the season was “Horrority House,” the ninth episode. In that episode the teens have a bad trip and experience their worst fears. It made for a powerful episode as Nick, Jessi, Andrew, Missi, and Matthew have surreal experiences and come to important realizations. The season finale followed a similar pattern to the finales in Season One and Two because the characters have to save one of their friends.
Season Four introduces a new character for the first three episodes, Natalie. Natalie was the first major transgender character. The previous summer she arrived as Gabe but suffered hardships when puberty struck. Natalie was anxious because she didn’t know where she fitted in because everyone knew her as a boy the previous summer. I hope that Big Mouth explores asexuality in a future season.
Season Four was a more dramatic season of Big Mouth but it was not without comedy. Maurice the Hormone Monster was his usual crude self and there plenty of gross-out humor. Missi’s hormone monster, Mona was entertaining, but I admit it might be because she used a lot of Britishisms.
This was an excellent season of Big Mouth filled with lots of character growth and self-realization. Big Mouth shows it’s more than sex jokes and gross-out humor.