Warning: The following contains spoilers for Season 5 of Big mouth, streaming now on Netflix.

Fat Mouth has always had a casual relationship with breaking the Fourth Wall. From the start, the characters casually mentioned that they were all part of a Netflix animated series – although it was scorching, rude, and totally inappropriate for real teens to watch. However, with the Season 5 finale, Fat Mouth took their meta-text to a whole new level and redefined the rules of the show in the process.

The core of Fat MouthThe story of has always been the various monsters, creatures, and other surreal figures who guide students at Bridgetown Middle School through the dangers of being a teenager – for better or for worse. Hormonal Monsters remain the signature of the series, but over 51 TV episodes, Fat Mouth has filled his roster with characters like the Depression Kitty, the Anxiety Mosquito, the Shame Wizard, and other diverse characters, each representing different facets of the main character’s psyche.

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Season 5 adds another ray to the wheel with the Love Bugs, which represent feelings of infatuation and nostalgia. One of them, Walter (voiced by Brandon Kyle Goodman) is sent by Human Resources to help lead character Nick Birch (Nick Kroll) woo his longtime friend and occasionally crush Jessi Glaser (Jessi Klein). However, Nick’s attempts fail as Jessi rejects him, with the resulting grief so deep that he turns Walter into a hateful worm, which instead amplifies Nick’s bitterness and resentment.

During the season, Nick takes Walter’s advice and it almost ruins his life. He alienates his friends, lashes out at his family and, in the penultimate episode, seriously injures himself in a fit of childish malice. In the last episode, “Re-New Year’s Eve”, Nick is lonely and miserable, and he puts the blame on Walter’s shoulders (or any other worm that has to carry things). Walter dismisses his argument and points out that everything Nick has done, from admitting his feelings to Jessi to breaking his leg trying to prove he’s an adult, was done on his own. Walter leaves and returns to human resources, with Nick next.

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Human resources have been in the context of Fat Mouth since its second season: an otherworldly bureaucracy where monsters of all kinds are assigned to help the main characters. Over the course of the show, they tasked Walter with not only helping Nick with his life, but a succession of hormonal monsters as well – none of them suited Nick well or helped him move forward. in a significative way. By “Re-New Years Eve”, Nick is fed up with the inefficiency of the department and demands to see the man in charge of the whole operation.

He gets his wish. Nick takes the elevator to the top floor of HR, a creepy and disturbing place filled with posters for old shows he’s never heard of like The League and Oh, Hi! om Broadway. Finally, he reaches headquarters and finds out who is responsible for everything in his life: live-action Nick Kroll, actor, screenwriter and co-creator of the hit adult animated series Netflix, Fat Mouth.

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Kroll explains that Nick and his friends act as vehicles for Kroll and the others Fat Mouth writers to work on their own traumas and mental scars of being teenagers. Nick blames Kroll for systematically ruining his life, but Kroll retorts the same as Walter. Nick controls his own actions. Everything that has happened to her that is wrong is the result of her own hatred, resentment, and inability to step back and analyze her own behavior. When Nick tries to blame his actions on leading the monsters, Kroll hits back at him with this:

“I don’t want to hear from Walter and I don’t want to hear from Rick, okay, man? We all have our own monsters, hormones, anxiety, depression, hate. It all depends on how you treat them. Your monsters are YOU … You wanted to know who’s in charge? Well, it’s you. “

However, Kroll also reminds Nick that he is not alone. Regardless, he still has his family and he still has his friends, including Andrew (John Mulaney), who followed Nick to HR to save him. Nick reconciles with Andrew, which turns Walter into Love Bug and allows Nick to redeem himself and move on with his life.

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It’s clear why Fat Mouth took a huge swing in its Season 5 finale. Over the course of the show, viewers had become comfortable with the idea that monsters and all other HR characters were separate entities from children. However, “Re-New Year’s Eve” reminds both characters and audiences that monsters are meant to be metaphors, elaborate representations of the physical and emotional changes that all human beings go through. They reflect the feelings of children on them, but it is up to children what decisions they make in the world. Ultimately, Nick and his friends are their own monsters, but they don’t. have to be.

Under all its surreal jokes and wacky side characters, Fat Mouth is not a show about otherworldly monsters or their eccentricities. As the series expanded its cast and lore, it seems the writers felt the need to refocus the series on where it started. At the end, Big mouth is about a motley team of college teens going through life and facing the weird, embarrassing, and brutal changes they go through together… with a little help and guidance from the other side.

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