Always the Child Bridesmaid, Never the Child Bride: Big Mouth’s “My Furry Valentine”
by Julia Ford
The critically acclaimed cartoon Big Mouth has released a Valentine’s Day special episode. The show, created by Jennifer Flackett, Andrew Goldberg, and Nick Kroll, has gotten a lot of attention on the online community for its raunchiness and the accurate depiction of the horrors of puberty in middle school. The two stars of the show, Nick Birch (Nick Kroll) and Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney) are partners in crime trying to get a grip on their changing bodies and the world around them. Sometimes, the cringiness of the show gets so bad that you have to pause it, take a break, and remember your middle school days are over. Nevertheless, they hit the nail on the head with their portrayal of a middle school Valentine’s day.
“My Furry Valentine” is a sex-and-music-filled episode that shows everyone trying to get through another Valentine’s Day: Andrew is trying to keep it cool, Jessi is having herself an anti-Valentine’s date with her new gay best friend Matthew, and Nick is trying to understand love boundaries. It picks up from the end of season two, where everyone is in their own personal battles with their familial and romantic relationships.
The plot centers around Nick and Andrew, with features of Jessi Glaser, the boys’ spunky friend, Matthew, the only openly gay kid in Bridgeton Middle School, Jay, the overly-horny boy who is exploring his bisexuality, and Coach Steve, the naive man-child who wants everyone to be his friend.
Nick is trying to grapple with his newly developed body while trying to get his parents to stop smothering him with love. The show portrays the battle between wanting to be close to your parents and wanting to be your own person very well. Nick is realizing he needs more boundaries within his family, especially when his dad brags about his breath smelling like pussy.
Andrew is trying to play it cool to win over Missy, so he channels his inner jazzman with his Kangol hat. He knows that Missy still likes him, so he tries his hardest to court her, and it goes downhill quickly. Often times when someone tries to be mysterious and casual to impress someone, it’s worse than they could ever imagine. This is the story of Andrew’s life. Missy isn’t reciprocating the aggressive affection that Andrew shows, which leads Andrew to assert his toxic masculinity in an attempt to control her. His jealousy gets in the way of his love when he sees Missy having a good time at Lola and Gina’s lit Valentine’s Day party, and all hell breaks loose.
Jessi and Andrew go out for an anti-Valentines Day date, where they discuss their struggles with their own sexualities and the sexualities of their family members. Due to their awkward situations with love, the two break into a catchy musical number that explains that neither of them need a boyfriend.
Jay is overwhelmed with his two lovers-- a pillow and a couch cushion. He is exploring his bisexuality and how to execute his relationships switching between being a passionate lover and a macho bro within literal seconds. Like many middle school boys, Jay feels a lot of pressure to be dominate and secure in his sexuality. He clearly is attracted to men and women, but he doesn’t see that as an option for himself since he has this internalized idea of what it means to be a man. He is trying to split his desires to fit into different stereotypes of people, but it all goes up in smoke.
This episode is everything a Big Mouth fan could hope for on the holiday. It’s full of ridiculous situations for all of the characters, and it shows the well-known cringiness of Valentine’s Day for middle schoolers. Valentine’s Day may be over, but it’s never to late to spread the love. So, grab your boo, snuggle up and have the Hormone Monsters set the mood for you. Happy Valen-time’s Day, baby! ;)