Big Mouth season 6 takes inspiration from Fleabag in Netflix's expert comedy

Big Mouth cast in movie theater
(Image credit: Netflix)

Big Mouth season 6 has landed on Netflix, giving the foul-mouthed, big-hearted animated comedy series yet another lease of life on the struggling TV streaming service.

These days, many Netflix shows worthy of further seasons are shut down before the time is right – but key Netflix Original franchises continue to be kept on life support for season after season. With Big Mouth, that’s a very good thing – it's long been one of the best Netflix shows, though the template for this animated series hasn’t really evolved over the years. We watched the first two episodes of the new season and are here to offer our thoughts.

The opening episodes of Big Mouth season 6 offer the usual opening musical numbers (excellent), sexually frustrated teens (present), pornographic dialogue (and how!), and pleasingly silly punchlines. It’s a formula that works, still, and anyone who’s breezed through the prior five seasons won’t be disappointed.

The opening song is a real winner, offering an ensemble chorus of teenage sexual repression and need for human touch after weeks of being snowed in with their families. (After several years of lockdowns and social distancing, this feels especially apt for many viewers, regardless of their age.)

Some of the show’s best moments continue to be in breaking the fourth wall. In episode one, an unexpressive background character is pointed out by Missy, asking who it might be. Jesse responds “Him? I think he’s an extra.” Another adds “He can’t be an extra, we’re talking about him!”

There are the usual hijinks, that veer between throwaway laughs and utterly unhinged family dynamics, capturing the extremes of interpersonal dysfunction in a loving, comedic way. Seeing Andrew’s father clutch a screwdriver and chase his son out of a make-out party perfectly captures the oppressive atmosphere of controlling parents, while beautifully undermining it at every turn (“If our kids are making out, it should be in secrecy and in shame!”, he roars). Some blink-and-miss-it visual gags, like rock-hard socks that fly like shurikens into Andrew’s bedroom wall, are worth the watch time alone.

As ever, there’s a real sincerity to exploring the painful awkwardness of teenage hormones. We veer between delusional sexual fantasies and the heartbreaking reality of introducing a same-sex partner to uncomfortable Christian parents.

There’s certainly a growing focus on religion this time around. Characters explicitly cite Fleabag, with its ‘hot priest’ storyline, as Missy pursues a religious student new to the school – while Matthew struggles with having his queer relationship openly witnessed and celebrated. 

Big Mouth season 6 on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

A key thread of this season seems to be heritage, too – picking up from Missy’s growing awareness of her racial identity in season 4, which saw voice actor Jenny Slate pass on the baton to Ayo Edebiri, who now voices the character. 

Students undertake a DNA test to find out where they come from, which sets up plenty of drama around parentage and national identity – even if some exaggerated Irish and Scottish accents, so common in American writing rooms that seem never to have met someone from these still-existing countries, are a little painful to listen to. A plot point around nipple-twisting as a Scottish tradition doesn’t quite land, but we have to be forgiving of a show that thrives on throwing out outlandish scenarios every few minutes.

It would be easy to think of Netflix’s Sex Education as an influence on some specific story points, if Big Mouth hadn’t been exploding teenage sexualities three years prior to the Gillian Anderson-starring high school drama appearing on the service. But there’s a pleasing synergy to seeing awkward and potentially shameful information discussed openly, and marks one of the better trends on Netflix’s programming over the past few years – let’s hope it keeps going.

For those unsure of whether they need to catch up on the Human Resources spin-off – which focuses on the various Hormone Monsters assigned to struggling humans at key periods of their life – have no fear. Some plot points continue (such as Maurice’s pregnancy) but the show wastes no time in acknowledging that some viewers won’t have made time for the spin-off. No Marvel level of crossover knowledge needed here. However, if you plan on watching it, you may as well do so before starting Big Mouth season 6 – if nothing else, it may provide a fresh angle on a show that hits its beats a little too well.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.