Netflix’s animated series Big Mouth is known for telling stories of puberty with humor, heart, and absolutely no filter. Other shows may be fairly frank about periods, wet dreams, and masturbation; you will probably have a hard time finding any that actually personify penises, diaphragms, and pubes. With talent like Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg behind the camera — mining their real-life experiences as childhood friends for storyline inspiration — the producers have been able to cast Big Mouth‘s recurring characters with wildly talented and beloved performers. Which are the most memorable among this remarkably stacked cast? Let’s count them down!
20. Rosa Salazar
Though she’s best known for her mo-cap role in Alita: Battle Angel and Amazon’s rotoscoped Undone, Rosa Salazar got to take a break from being realistically animated to be cartoonishly animated for her role as Ms. Benitez, patient teacher to Nick (Kroll) and Andrew (John Mulaney) at Bridgeton Middle School. The kids’ Coach Steve (Kroll) develops a pretty serious crush on Ms. Benitez after she teaches him how to read, but she politely declines his proposal of marriage, gently steering him toward a partner who is a better match for him intellectually — which is to say, someone who is not bright. Ms. Benitez is mostly a straight woman, but Salazar imbues her with a serenity and stillness that stand out amid the show’s madcap energy.
19. Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig joins the Big Mouth guest cast in the elite category of People Who Have Voiced Body Parts. (See also: Craig Robinson and Jack McBrayer as pubic hairs.) Jessi (Jessi Klein), encouraged by her Hormone Monstress Connie (Maya Rudolph), uses a mirror to get a good look at her vulva, and finds that it’s nothing to be scared of: in fact, it is very friendly and cheerful! In the just-dropped fourth season, Jessi and her vagina take their relationship to a new level when Jessi — who gets her period at camp, when she doesn’t want to miss out on time in the lake — moves on from pads and tries tampons for the first time.
18. Alia Shawkat
Nick’s old camp girlfriend Roland (Alia Shawkat) is an impossibly cool and disaffected Manhattan girl we first meet in Season 1. As suburban kids, Nick and Andrew are a little awed by everything they encounter on this visit to the city, but even a jaded New Yorker might be thrown by Roland’s exuberant friend Mint (Kroll) and his pet dolphoodle — half dolphin, half poodle. Roland returns to camp in Season 4 to intimidate Jessi with her studied confidence…and Jessi’s not the only one.
17. Zachary Quinto
Matthew (Andrew Rannells), who’s been established as gay since his character’s introduction, finally gets to pursue his own crush storyline with the introduction of Aiden (Zachary Quinto) in the Big Mouth Valentine’s Day special. By the current season, they have DTRed as boyfriends. Aiden and Matthew are keeping their physical relationship at an age-appropriate level, but Quinto — hilariously — apparently can’t help making his voice performance super-sexy even while playing a middle-schooler.
16. Julie Klausner
Cheryl Glouberman (Julie Klausner) is Andrew’s cousin from Florida. While marking time until she can properly launch her career as a competitive vaper — by the way, a real pursuit and not just a gag they made up for the show — Cheryl is apparently determined to drive Andrew insane with unfulfillable horniness. So much of what gives Big Mouth its power is in letting viewers feel less alone in even their weirdest impulses, and Cheryl’s periodic appearances on the show are pitched directly at everyone who ever experienced confusing feelings about their cute cousins.
15. Harvey Fierstein
Matthew hasn’t had a lot of access to other queer characters before he meets Jerome (Harvey Fierstein), an older gay man who lives at Guy Town, an apartment complex for single men owned by Guy Bilzerian (Jason Mantzoukas), Bridgeton’s foremost divorce lawyer/scumbag. Matthew dismisses him as a “sad old queen,” but Jerome gets him to consider where acting superior and bitchy all the time is going to get him in life. Fierstein is a legend, and while Jerome returns for a fantasy sequence in Season 4, I would like to see Matthew get a lot more mentoring from him.
14. Michaela Watkins
Anyone who’s recently gotten to know Michaela Watkins from her role as Type A pediatrician Delia in The Unicorn may marvel at the difference in her take on Cantor Dina. Initially, Jessi’s very free-spirited and nurturing guide through her bat mitzvah preparations, Cantor Dina is also, eventually, revealed to be having an affair with Jessi’s mother, Shannon (Jessica Chaffin), which becomes a contributing factor in the end of Shannon’s marriage to Jessi’s father, Greg (Seth Morris). Jessi never really comes around on Cantor Dina, but Cantor Dina is so self-actualized that she never seems to notice or care.
13. Natasha Lyonne
It’s rare for a boy to find one pillow with which he wants to have a serious sexual relationship; Jay (Mantzoukas) has been lucky enough to find several! After learning that his first love, Pam (Kristen Bell), betrayed him and got pregnant with his brother’s…throw pillow (?), Jay moved on to couch cushions Brad (Gil Ozeri) and Suzette (Natasha Lyonne), through which process he also discovered his bisexuality. Lyonne’s haggard voice is perfect for a couch cushion who’s been through it. And as a bonus, this season she also cameos as Nadia Vulvokov, her character from Russian Doll!
12. Nathan Fillion
A girl like Missy (Jenny Slate, at the time) — a studious only child who considers her parents her best friends — is naturally going to have more mature taste in crush objects, which is why she has a poster of Nathan Fillion on her wall and dreams about him in costume as Mal from Firefly. Fillion appears in several of Missy’s fantasy sequences, evincing an excellent sense of humor about himself and his place in pop culture.
11. Seth Rogen
While Andrew has always been Nick’s best friend at home, Seth (Seth Rogen) is his best friend at camp, which is a particular relief in Season 4, since Nick and Andrew closed out the Season 3 finale with a vicious fight. Unfortunately, Seth is a friendly goof at heart and hits it off with Andrew; before long, the two of them have inside jokes together that Nick is not a part of (largely because he is refusing to get into the group shower due to self-consciousness about his still-prepubescent body). Seth betrays his worst self on the last night of camp, but not with Andrew or Nick; we’ll get to it….
10. Lena Waithe
Missy’s Season 4 story arc involves her contemplating the ways her parents unintentionally shortchanged her by trying to raise her as though race was immaterial, and to embrace her Black identity — an evolution that culminates in Ayo Edebiri taking over the role from Slate. One of the early episodes of the season finds Missy and her parents visiting her dad’s family in Atlanta, where her cousins Quinta (Quinta Brunson) and Lena (Lena Waithe) encourage her to try a new look and retire her beloved overalls. Lena returns later in the season, inviting Missy to a party at her dorm at NYU, where Lena and DeVon (Jak Knight) clash on the matter of code-switching. Lena is staunchly opposed, until her latest girlfriend comes to the door: Lena easily slips into a less militant tone as soon as sex is on the line. Waithe brings the same natural charm to this role that she did to Denise on Master Of None.
9. Jon Hamm
By now, TV viewers well know how much Jon Hamm — who broke out in the often tragic Mad Men — loves to pop up for a tiny role in a comedy. He’d cameoed on Barry, The Last Man On Earth, and Angie Tribeca, and voiced a talking toilet on Bob’s Burgers before appearing in “I Survived Jessi’s Bat Mitzvah” as a plate of talking scallops only Andrew’s father Marty (Richard Kind) can hear, tempting him to eat them even though he knows that doing so will cause him potentially catastrophic gastric distress. But who could resist that purr? Thousands of Mercedes drivers probably didn’t.
8. Sterling K. Brown
Jessi’s Season 4 storyline sends her to New York City, where she is quickly overwhelmed by the confident overachievers at her private school. She’s in a coffee shop cutting class when she meets Michael Angelo (Sterling K. Brown), a slightly older boy whose attractiveness leads her to make even more bad decisions in order to hold his attention — like dumbing herself down, and considering giving him a handjob to relieve the pain from the erections he says she is responsible for. Like Quinto, Brown exudes sexiness even in his voice, but weaponizing it to portray this trifling fuckboi is very sly.
7. Zach Galifianakis
Big Mouth has long included mental health challenges among the crises facing its characters, and this season progresses the story to include what happens after a mental health problem has been identified: seeking professional help! Jessi, still experiencing a lot of pain stemming from her parents’ divorce, starts seeing a therapist; the first exercise she suggests is for Jessi to list the things she’s grateful for, and before long, Jessi is face to face with the Gratitoad (Zach Galifianakis), a chipper fellow who’s able to see the bright side of any situation. Galifianakis leans way into his native North Carolina accent to bring this character to life, and given the other personifications of mental illness on this show (more to come below), it’s nice to spend time with a character that offers positivity and hope for Jessi’s future.
6. Josie Totah
On the first day of camp, the boys are all wondering why one of their friends still hasn’t arrived when counselor Harry (John Oliver) brings in Natalie (Josie Totah) and explains that she is the same kid they formerly knew by a different name, and as a boy. They immediately barrage her with intrusive and inappropriate questions about her transition before Harry hustles her into the girls’ cabin where she will be staying; the girls — including Roland — are accepting but pushy…except Jessi, who thought Natalie was a jerk before her transition and is reluctant to embrace her now. Eventually the two bond, and Jessi is there to explain to Natalie that when Seth asks her to come with him into the woods to look at a dead bird, he probably has something else in mind. Sadly, Natalie’s exhilaration at her first kiss is followed by disappointment when she realizes that Seth doesn’t want anyone to know it happened. She stands up for herself and storms off, leaving him to get covered in guts when the aforementioned dead bird succumbs to its accumulated gases and explodes all over him. With her roles here and in Peacock’s Saved By The Bell revival, Totah is having a spectacular winter; she’s going to be a star.
5. Julie White
To play Matthew’s parents, the show cast Gary Cole and Tony winner Julie White, and established that while Matthew is out to his friends, his sexuality is kind of an open secret at home. Not until Season 4 has it forced Kimberly, Matthew’s mother, to acknowledge what she’s been trying to ignore, by having her chance upon a moderately racy text exchange between Matthew and Aiden when Matthew is out of the room. She responds by kicking him off her team for the annual church bake-off — a cherished tradition for both of them, stretching back to his very early childhood — whereupon Aiden offers to enter the contest as Matthew’s teammate instead. Matthew forces Kimberly to confront the truth, and while it’s painful and not entirely resolved by the end of the season, White shows us where Kimberly is coming from without letting her off the hook for her retrograde ideas about Matthew’s “choices” and “sinfulness.”
4. Paul Giamatti
Paul Giamatti is not the first Oscar-nominated actor to lend his voice to a character on Big Mouth; Judd Hirsch and Carol Kane, who both débuted in the Season 3 episode “Florida,” are both Giamatti’s peers in that respect. Giamatti is, however, the first Oscar-nominated actor to appear on Big Mouth as anthropomorphized poo. Some people find that their bowels lock up on vacation, or whenever they’re away from their home base; so it is for Andrew, except he’s been at camp all summer, he hasn’t pooped once, and the stool that has accumulated is extremely irascible. Can you honestly think of a better actor to bring this character to life — I mean, now that Daniel Day-Lewis has retired?
3. Jean Smart
From the first episode, we have seen the characters’ pubertal chaos personified by their Hormone Monsters. But in the Season 2 finale, when Jessi was really suffering, we saw that in this reality, mental health disorders can be characters too: enter the Depression Kitty (Jean Smart). A very large, very fluffy purple cat who works at the Department of Puberty in the Monster World, she encourages Jessi to give in to torpor and let the Depression Kitty smother her; they can just take a nap in the Kitty’s padded room, maybe forever. Jon Hamm’s purr is pretty good, but he’s really got nothing on Jean Smart; who wouldn’t want to curl up with her for a very, very, very long sleep?
2. Thandie Newton
After introducing Andrew’s Hormone Monster Maury (Kroll) in the series premiere, we get to meet many different takes on the species: the aforementioned Connie; the badly battered Rick (Kroll again), whose speech is barely comprehensible and who is missing several body parts; Tyler (John Gemberling), who’s too young to know what he’s doing; Gavin (Bobby Cannavale), an ultra high-T monster who’s way too aggro for a pre-transition Natalie. Late in Season 3, Missy is assigned a sassy, confident new monster named Mona (Thandie Newton), who pushes Missy to be more assertive in her sexuality. In the latest season, she also urges Missy through her dawning racial awareness; generally, it is Mona’s influence that keeps Missy from backsliding into the doormat tendencies that defined her earlier in the series. Newton’s Mona voice is like amber honey and I choose to believe Newton’s inspiration for Mona’s attitude is Victoria Beckham.
1. Maria Bamford
In her standup comedy, Maria Bamford has been honest about her own mental health journey, so it’s easy to guess what may have appealed to her about portraying Tito the Anxiety Mosquito in Big Mouth‘s fourth season. Much like anxiety itself, Tito is sometimes a singular bug buzzing worries into a character’s ear; sometimes a cloud suggesting worst-case scenarios in unison; once, thousands of Titos arranging themselves into one gigantic Tito to loom with dread. Bamford has more experience than most of the show’s cast in doing animation voice-over, and it shows in the humanity she gives this literal pest of a character; the season wouldn’t work if she weren’t this good.
What will Ryan Coogler’s follow-up focus on instead?
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