The Big Mouth Valentine’s Day Special: Is Nick Trans?

Prem Posted by Prem at February 14, 2019 17:54:06 February 14, 2019 17:54:06

If you’re looking to watch something other than predictable and cliched rom-coms this Valentine’s day, try Big Mouth’s Valentine’s Day Special which was released on Netflix last week. If you haven’t heard of Big Mouth, it’s an underrated show that gets lumped into the same category as other raunchy, adult, animated shows. To some extent, Big Mouth is for people with a certain type of humour, but the show is refreshingly open about its subject matter: all the weird, gross, funny, and difficult parts of puberty and growing up. Taking advantage of the medium they’ve chosen, the creators of Big Mouth – Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett – create colourful and creative characters to talk about the common problems faced by kids. For example, hormones and those random weird thoughts that you have during puberty are personified as “Hormone Monsters,” monster-like characters that induct you into the world of adulthood. They are crazy, insane, constantly thinking about sex, and make the characters run the gamut of emotions. It’s basically the most accurate portrayal of puberty that I have ever scene. Plus, one of the Hormone Monsters, Connie, is played by Maya Rudolph so you already know it’s amazing. 

The show’s appeal comes from the fact that so many people find many of the characters, themes, and stories relatable and accurate to how they felt growing up. Personally, I can’t remember anything earlier than five years, a mechanism in my brain that I think helps shield me from the numerous embarrassing moments in my past. Nevertheless, I can find some common ground with Matthew, the openly gay character, who struggles with his inexperience and loneliness at school. If you haven’t seen the show, I suggest you binge it now, and then come back to this article. It’s only 21 episodes, and what else are we going to do tonight, right? 

The Valentine’s Day Special was an example of Big Mouth at its finest: a musical episode consisting of honest and real stories of how sh-tty Valentine’s day can be, interspersed with pointlessly stupid but hilarious jokes. There’s a gag about incestuous conjoined twins that is a little funny but becomes uproarious after a few repetitions. There’s also a lot to unpack about the episode, especially since it picked up after the cliffhangers from the end of Season 2. Andrew becomes a huge dick, a great commentary on toxic masculinity. Jay explores his bisexuality in his usual, hypersexualized way. Jessi comes to terms with her mom’s relationship. And Matthew even flirts with a cute boy named Aiden. I squealed at that part, and my little gay heart exploded. 

For me, the real interest of the episode was Nick and his battle with Connie, his new hormone monstress. In the past, Nick has struggled with his lack of development in comparison to his friends. The problem is partially solved right at the end of last season when Connie shows up in Nick’s room and announces that she will be his hormone monster. When I first saw that scene, I was ecstatic because I immediately thought that Nick was trans. Now, after the Valentine’s Day Special, I’m a little conflicted. On one hand, I think making Nick trans is a fantastic choice because it adds depth to his character, expands the audience, and represents a community of people who are often missing from our television screens. Plus, this would mean that the show would feature an openly gay character, a bisexual character, and a trans character. That has to be some sort of record. 

On the other hand, the Valentine’s day episode is all about toxic masculinity. While Andrew goes to the extreme end of misogyny, Nick deals with his own toxic masculinity because he is incredibly insecure about his emotions, his female hormone monster, and his sensitive nipples. He pushes these all away in an attempt to reassert his manliness. At the end of the episode, he eventually learns to accept these important parts of himself, a message that isn’t told enough to young people and adults alike. Does revealing that Nick is trans take away from the power of that message? Would it reinforce stereotypes about the trans community?

I think the show’s creators are intentionally remaining ambiguous. For example, at the end when Nick and Connie sit down for their When Harry Met Sally style interview, Connie ends it on a serious note with, “We having a good time…But it’s hard,” to which Nick looks up at her, concerned. Is this a hint about Nick’s struggle with his identity? I don’t know. We saw some significant character development, a satirical and nuanced treatment of important issues, and jokes and musical numbers abound. Big Mouth knows what it’s doing so even though I’m not sure what is in store for Nick, I’m proceeding with confidence that the show will deliver. 



YouTube/ Netflix

Tags: TV Smut
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