If you’ve seen Nick Kroll‘s puberty-focused new animated series, “Big Mouth,” you may assume that Netflix let the show’s writers get as ribald as they pleased, given the proclivity of jokes about sexual fantasies, masturbation and even anthropomorphic genitalia. But as it turns out, it was possible to cross the line.
Andrew Goldberg, the “Family Guy” writer who co-created “Big Mouth” with lifelong friend Kroll, told TheWrap that the show’s team would gauge reactions during the table reads to determine which gags were pushing the boundaries of decency.
“At every table read, there’d be one joke where the audience is like, ‘Uhhh,'” Goldberg said. “And then we’d know. And we know if we hadn’t done that, then we haven’t done our jobs. We practice a lot of self-censorship.”
That said, there is one joke that didn’t pass muster with Netflix brass, and just reading about it might forever change the way you think about taking your temperature.
“There’s only one thing that Netflix felt was too gross, and it was a very well-rendered, graphic shot of a thermometer coming out of a pee hole,” Goldberg said. “And even that, we were 50-50 on whether or not we liked it. They were like, ‘We don’t think so,’ and we were like, ‘Yeah, we don’t think so either.'”
Fellow co-creators Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett concur, telling TheWrap that the thermometer bit was the sole time that Netflix expressed any cocked eyebrows about the show that features the voice talents of Kroll, John Mulaney and Jessi Klein.
“That was the one thing they didn’t like!” said Levin. “They were great about obviously letting us explore all these big themes and broad jokes. It’s a great place to work.”
He added that the “Big Mouth” team opted to make the show animated instead of live-action to ensure that the main characters don’t leave puberty anytime soon.
“I worked on ‘The Wonder Years’ in the very beginning of my career, and we had a few great years, but then it wasn’t ‘The Wonder Years’ anymore,” Levin said. “But in animation, Bart Simpson stays the same age for 30 years. Our characters will probably grow up over time, but animation lets us control the pace.”
“Big Mouth” is currently streaming on Netflix.