If you’ve seen Big Mouth, then its appeal isn’t a mystery, but actress Jenny Slate pretty much hit the nail on the head when I spoke with her, series co-creator Nick Kroll, and actress Jessi Klein about the just-released second season of the show. “A lot of us, I think, have really direct connections to what these experiences are,” Slate said, adding, “for me, going into season two, it was nice to know that I could be as earnest as I was wild.”
That relatability and that mix are all supercharged going into this new season, and in the interview that follows, Slate, Kroll, and Klein go into detail on the show’s evolution, one of the season’s most unique episodes, and pushing both their own and the audience’s boundaries.
The Planned Parenthood episode could be shown in schools. Letters would come, but did you set out to make a show that had a kind of extra value? I don’t want to say it’s educational, but it’s definitely informative for kids. Even though it’s not a kid’s show.
Jessi Klein: The number of people, strangers, who gush about this show to me, but specifically tell me that they’re watching it with their kids, is remarkable. That they’re watching it with their 12-year-old or 13-year-old or upward. I couldn’t have watched this show with my parents, but it’s a different time. The facts seem to be speaking for themselves to me, in terms of how people say they’re watching it. I think it’s really useful to have something funny that can make everybody laugh, and that’s [also] the entry point for everyone into topics that can be really difficult. I think any time you can lighten them up, as the way in for people, it helps the conversation.
Nick Kroll: I think our intention, first and foremost, is to be funny. And if there are messages that come out of the stories that we tell, then that’s like a huge bonus. And we’re very aware of the messages that we could be sending if there are kids or younger folks watching the show. As far as the Planned Parenthood episode goes, to be honest, this woman, Sue Dunlap, who works for the Planned Parenthood Los Angeles — I believe she’s the CEO — she basically came to a bunch of different writers and producers and said, “It’s wonderful that you guys give money to Planned Parenthood, but it would be really amazing if you guys could tell some stories involving Planned Parenthood.” And we took that as the opportunity to tell stories and figure out what those stories would be around Planned Parenthood, eventually settling on a real kind of, a change in narrative structure from what we normally do with the show in that it’s these five vignettes. And we realized that it would be super fun and exciting to tell a different kind of story and tell five different versions of stories of the different services that Planned Parenthood offered. So, for any number of reasons, it was a real fun departure for us.