Season 3 of Big Mouth continues with the series’ shameless references and shots at other streaming services, actors, films, and shows, even those that are also part of Netflix’s originals – like 13 Reasons Why, which they subtly mocked through a comment about suicide as part of a series’ content. Big Mouth has never been afraid to address controversial topics, whether through their stories or by name dropping other properties.
Big Mouth’s main focus is sexuality and puberty, with the characters being followed by hormone monsters and getting involved in all types of trouble related to these topics. The series has also touched on other topics like feminism and self-love, with many others still waiting to be addressed. Big Mouth is also very self-aware, with constant references at its animated format and the fact that it is a Netflix property, and it recently mocked one of the streaming platforms’ most controversial shows, 13 Reasons Why, though not as you might think.
In the episode “How To Have An Orgasm”, Maury convinces Andrew to send a nude pic to his cousin, Cherry, after making out with her in the previous episode. Unbeknownst to Andrew, the photos were uploaded to the cloud he shares with his parents, who take away his laptop and cellphone after learning he intended to send the pics to his cousin. Andrew then writes a (very dramatic) letter to Cherry, and Maury presents him with a dagger, as he thought the letter was a suicide note. Andrew tells him he doesn’t want to kill himself, with Maury referring to “Netflix legal” and telling the viewer that “no teenager should kill themselves, even though it makes for captivating programming.” It’s a subtle but direct reference to the controversy around 13 Reasons Why’s suicide scene in its first season.
13 Reasons Why was heavily criticized for its graphic depiction of Hannah’s suicide, and after the showrunner and cast defended it multiple times, Netflix finally opted for removing the scene, two years after the series was released. The controversy around that particular scene ended up overshadowing the series’ overall message, and now that Netflix edited out, many viewers (and even one cast member) are not ok with the decision. There are many ways a show like Big Mouth could have addressed this, many of which could have been disrespectful and in poor taste, but they managed to do it in a way that stayed true to the series and was still quite direct.
The episode quickly goes back to its story, so this brief 13 Reasons Why mock can go unnoticed very easily. With Big Mouth renewed through a sixth season, this most likely won’t be the first or last time it addresses this topic – unless a bigger controversy (not necessarily about 13 Reasons Why) pops up.