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Tear Jerker / Big Mouth

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"It was too good to be true"
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Puberty is not only an awkward age, it's also an age full of heartbreak.


Season 1

  • Jessi crying to her mom that she got her first period on her school trip (after her mom made her wear white shorts). While her Inelegant Blubbering is played somewhat as a joke, her all-too-familiar feeling of humiliation is definitely not.
  • Jay snapping at his older brothers after they ruin his sleepover, who continue to casually bully him until he runs off in tears. It's the first time we see Jay's more humble side and realize exactly why he can be so insufferable.
  • Jessi receiving unwanted attention after wearing a new bra under a tank top to school. A particularly uncomfortable compliment from Mr. Lizer sends her running into the bathroom in tears.
  • Andrew and Missy breaking up after Jessi's bat mitzvah. Even Maurice is heartbroken and the two cry in each other's arms as Amason's cover of "I Wanna Know What Love Is" plays the episode out.
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  • Jessi's flashbacks of her parents' marriage. It progresses from starting out very happy and affectionate when she was a baby, to showing signs of falling apart when she's a little kid, to the present day where it is now visibly unhappy and strained. The saddest part is that both of them clearly love her, but their own relationship makes it hard for them to show it.

Season 2

  • Missy has hit a new low in self esteem, and wears a hoodie desperate to hide what she considers to be her shameful, ugly body. Her reflection constantly shows up reminding her to hate herself.
    • Jessie's body-positive self esteem is deflated when she runs into Cantor Dina at the spa and is furious to find that of all women, the one she had nothing but contempt for has a flawless naked figure. She hates Dina so much that she's resentful of something that's literally nobody's fault.
  • Greg breaking down in front of Jessi, tearfully confessing that he still loves Shannon and is well-aware of his own failures as a husband.
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  • Following that, Greg being kicked out of the house when Jessi uses his drugs. Even worse, the Shame Wizard finally takes control over her and makes her feel even worse about breaking up the otherwise beautiful relationship of her parents and even finds a way for her to blame herself for Trump's election.
  • Gina being slut-shamed and harassed for her developing body. It comes to a head in "Dark Side of the Boob" when word leaks out that Nick touched one of her boobs, and it utterly ruins their relationship.
  • Matthew discovering that even though his classmates seem accepting of him, they still view him as an outsider. Devin emasculates him by saying he isn't a 'real boy' and the other boys get in his face and tell him not to rape them. It quickly becomes apparent that his bitchy attitude is nothing but a defense mechanism and his only choices are keeping his guard up or getting bullied. The Shame Wizard eventually finds him sitting in a fetal position on his sleeping bag, calling him a 'lonely little queer'. Sadly Truth in Television for plenty of young gay people like Matthew.

Season 3

  • The once tightly-knit gang that started out the series planning to go to the school dance together spend less and less time with each other. By the finale, they've all gone their separate ways.
  • Ali telling Jay the real reason she had to change schools. It wasn't because she fingered a nun, as has been the rumor, but something far more grounded in reality: she told her best friend she was in love with her and her friend, in return, told everyone at school that Ali was a "lezbo."
    • In the same episode, while Jay doesn't come out in the most tactful way, he still shares a personal detail about himself that he's proud of himself for discovering, having been inspired by Ali's own self-confidence. However, his friend, including Matthew, who should know better, outright tell Jay that bisexuality doesn't exist and he's just in denial, largely thanks to Ali's misinformation. It's something plenty of real bisexual people have had to deal with.
  • Nick, Andrew and Jessi sitting alone while everyone else dances at the Devons' faux-wedding.
  • Because of the pressure Shannon puts on her and the consequences of her parents' divorce, Depression Kitty begins to stalk Jessi once again, to the point where Jessi refuses to get out of bed the morning of her exam and do nothing. Sadly Truth in Television: depression isn't like the flu or a cold, it's more like a chronic illness which can be tolerable some days and insufferable others.
  • Andrew is crestfallen when he finds out that Missy is falling for Nick. Their friendship is shaken and they get into a big fight that leads to Andrew dropping out of summer camp just because he wants time away from Nick. And then Nick breaks Missy's heart by being forced to admit that he doesn't love her back. A lifelong friendship was broken over nothing.
    • During all this, Jessie discovers that her superpower is getting people to reveal secrets when she hugs them. Unfortunately it's all secrets that have been kept from her, like how her father is dating another woman and her mother is moving them to another town against her will, or things she doesn't want to hear, like how Matthew is going to be too busy with his boyfriend to miss her when she leaves.
    • The Reveal that the entire "superhero" plot of the episode was just a metaphor for how chaotic the group's relationships have become, as realized by Caleb's drawings. It perfectly captures how drama feels for those going through it verses those merely observing it: to the observer, a bunch of kids bickering in the rain is downright pathetic. To the kids going through it, it's literally the end of the world.
    "Now we've got problems / And I don't think we can solve 'em / You made a really deep cut / And baby now we've got bad blood."
  • While Nick has his face buried in his phone, his mother tearfully informs him that his maternal grandmother is dying of cancer, but also suffers from Alzheimer's so even if someone tells her she's dying, she won't remember it. He's too distracted to care.

Other

  • From the Valentine's Day special:
    • Andrew's increasingly douchey behaviour is hard to watch. He goes from trying to win back Missy with confidence to trying to win her back with desperation. When that doesn't work, he shouts at her that they're meant to be together, frightening the poor girl. (Oblivious to the fact that his overbearing attention towards her was what made her break up with him during Jessie's bat miztvah). When he sees Nick's nipples have swollen, instead of showing his usual empathy he and Jay start agitating them in a public place, which causes Nick to start crying uncontrollably. Andrew then spoils Lola's party by destroying a television, pushing Missy even further away and trying to convince everyone that Lars was faking his disability (which Maurice repeatedly tried to talk him out of).
    • Jay's attempts at polyamory take a physical toll on him and he tearfully breaks up with his fuck-buddies. The fact that he used a disappearing act just sells the finality of it.
    • Amid an already bleak episode, Coach Steve mentions having suicidal thoughts ever since he lost his job. His only real coping mechanism is a makeshift girlfriend that spouts pre-recorded lovey-dovey lines.

Meta

  • Charles Bradley, whose cover of "Changes" is the theme song, died one week before the series premiere.

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