Big Mouth mocked 13 Reasons Why this season in one of its most explicit episodes of the year. The Netflix animated series took a shot at its fellow streaming show for its controversial take on teen suicide, and fans are still trying to determine where the joke falls.
Big Mouth Season 3 may be the series' most controversial entry yet. The show set out to tackle puberty through a highly personal lens, yet it has delved into topical content more and more often. In Season 3, Episode 6, "How to Have an Orgasm," it takes on fellow Netflix series 13 Reasons Why as well.
This is an odd episode for Big Mouth to call out another series for being "inappropriate" in any way. This installment finds Andrew (John Mulaney) agonizing over a text conversation with his cousin, Cherry, whom he kissed a few episodes earlier. After Cherry sends him a slightly suggestive selfie, Andrew decides to send a nude photo back. He and his Hormone Monster, Maury (Nick Kroll) take a photo montage, leaving little to the imagination for viewers.
Little do the two of them know that Andrew's phone is connected to his family's cloud account, and his parents see all of the photos. They then take away his phone and his laptop, and Andrew is left humiliated, writing a heartfelt letter to Cherry. In the throes of his self-pity, Maury presents Andrew with a dagger.
"What are you doing?" Andrew asks.
"You're not going to kill yourself?" Maury says. "That wasn't a suicide note? You're just going to go on living after your parents caught you sending your cousin a d— pic?!"
"Yes!" Andrew replies. "Because no teenagers should kill themselves!"
After marveling at Andrew's "resilience" for a moment, Maury acts as though he is catching on to a subtle secret in the dialogue.
"Yes, right, right, right, Netflix legal," he says, looking at the camera. "No teenager should kill themselves. Even though it makes for captivating programming."
The bit was widely understood as a dig on 13 Reasons Why, a series that centers around the suicide of a high school student and the intrigue that stems from it in her school. The show has been criticized by some for apparently romanticizing or even normalizing suicide, creating the danger that other teens will emulate it.
Although Big Mouth comes from the same streaming giant as 13 Reason Why, it gets away with much more suggestive content. The series includes depictions of genitalia and in-depth discussion of sexuality as it pertains to young people. It ranges from the comically explicit to being educational in some moments, but it certainly crosses a line few people could have imagined before the advent of streaming.