FERB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (6)
January 17, 2021
One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of our favorite animated TV series.
BIG MOUTH | ANDREW GOLDBERG, NICK KROLL, MARK LEVIN, JENNIFER FLACKETT | 2017 – PRESENT
We have all been visited by the Shame Wizard at some point. When I was in middle school — a period of grey skinny jeans, below-desk-leg-brushing, and Passenger fandom — the Shame Wizard frequently reminded me of my voice cracks, bad hair days, and pimples. He particularly thrived at dances, “teaching” me how to dougie and over-analyze side-glances from crushes. He was also a big fan of LFMAO.
The Shame Wizard (voiced by David Thewlis) appears in the second season of the brilliant show Big Mouth. He hails from the same dimension as Maury and Connie — Hormone Monsters who guide the show’s Bridgeton Middle School kids through puberty — but instead of reassuring the kids that what they’re feeling is OK, he sows doubt. In that season’s penultimate episode, during an overnight lock-in supervised by Coach Steve, the Shame Wizard explains to Maury that shame protects adolescents from
Their humiliating inadequacies, self-destructive proclivities, stupid magic tricks, their fundamental otherness, and of course, the uncontrollable urge to squirm on a glow-ed worm. For you see, shame is the cone you place around the head of your dim-witted dog to prevent him from gnawing at his own genitals, because they will become infected.
He’s on to something, but he goes too far. Under his influence, Andrew is so full of self-pity that he makes out with Lola, the only character more pitiful than himself. Missy discovers that her “worm dance” is really self-pleasure, and begins to view herself as perverted and immoral. But the Shame Wizard meets his match in the shameless Coach Steve, who has no problem teaching Sex Ed despite the fact that he has no concept of human anatomy. The Shame Wizard himself, we discover, is lonely and friendless — his attempt to befriend his fellow Hormone Monsters by showing off his collection of Nazi dildos suggests that he himself could benefit from shame.
Focusing all his efforts on Coach Steve during the overnight lock-in, the Shame Wizard ignores the students… who, free of his influence, run riot. Kids are making out, setting fires, and worm dancing; eventually, they burn the gym down. It’s a lesson for the Shame Wizard, who henceforth will help keep the kids in check, for their own good, without making their lives quite so incredibly challenging.
Another valuable lesson that this ex-adolescent has learned from Big Mouth.
FERB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: SERIES INTRODUCTION by Josh Glenn | Miranda Mellis on STEVEN UNIVERSE | Luc Sante on TOP CAT | Peggy Nelson on PINK PANTHER | Charlie Mitchell on COWBOY BEBOP | Mimi Lipson on THE FLINTSTONES | Sam Glenn on BIG MOUTH | Mandy Keifetz on ROAD RUNNER | Ramona Lyons on SHE-RA | Holly Interlandi on DRAGON BALL Z | Max Glenn on ADVENTURE TIME | Joe Alterio on REN & STIMPY | Josh Glenn on SPEED RACER | Adam McGovern on KIMBA THE WHITE LION | Jonathan Pinchera on SAMURAI JACK | Lynn Peril on JONNY QUEST | Stephanie Burt on X-MEN THE ANIMATED SERIES and X-MEN: EVOLUTION | Elizabeth Foy Larsen on THE JETSONS | Adam Netburn on NARUTO | Madeline Ashby on AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER | Tom Nealon on TRANSFORMERS | Sara Ryan on BOJACK HORSEMAN | Michael Grasso on COSMIC CLOCK | Erin M. Routson on BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD | Deborah Wassertzug on DARIA | Lydia Millet on BOB’S BURGERS.
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