Netflix brings us an honest and hilarious look at puberty.
Nick Burch (Nick Kroll) is a boy just on the precipice of puberty. His best friend is Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney), who has been hit hard by hormones, represented by the Hormone Monster, Maury (Kroll). Their friends include the sarcastic and sad Jessi Glaser (Jessi Klein) and her hormone monstress Connie (Maya Rudolph), the horny Jay Bilzerian (Jason Mantzoukas), the nerdy Missy Foreman-Greenwald (Jenny Slate/Ayo Edebiri), openly-gay Matthew MacDell (Andrew Rannells), and the ghost of jazz legend Duke Ellington (Jordan Peele). Also, there’s a dog named Featuring Ludacris. Yes, he’s a pitbull. This is my favorite joke in the series.
Puberty is one of the hardest times for people. Your body is changing, your mind is changing, and most of your social circles are changing, but none of them seem to be changing in the same way. You suddenly have a lot more urges to f*ck, fight, or feed, but an entire planet of older people telling you that you have to suppress them. This show decides to represent that by a literal monster that compels children into giving into those urges, and it is probably one of the most brilliant conceits out there. Yes, Maury is often massively and inappropriately perverted, to the point that it may disturb the viewer, but that’s a part of puberty, and one that most people later forget (or suppress). The show even gives a voice to the societal stigmas associated with those urges with the Shame Wizard (David Thewlis). It’s impressive how many aspects of youth the show works into the metaphor.
In addition to being commentary on modern youth, the show is one of the funnier things on television right now. The humor ranges from gross-out humor and slapstick to clever puns and wordplay and you can never figure out where the next joke is going to come from. One episode is literally about making a musical of the film Disclosure and, if you’ve ever seen Disclosure, you are probably laughing at the thought of doing a musical about a movie in which Michael Douglas sues Demi Moore for sexual harassment. The show often uses these ridiculous premises to make a legitimate point about an issue, whether it be misogyny, birth control, or the fact that Florida is a giant waste of land that should be scoured for the good of mankind (having lived most of my life there, this is the most valid point in the show).
Overall, it’s a funny show and if you’re not watching it, give it a shot. It’s good if you’re an adult, but if you’ve got a kid approaching or dealing with puberty it’s not a bad introduction.
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