I thought I knew everything about contraceptives and Planned Parenthood, but I was proven wrong by the creators of "Big Mouth."
Season two episode five of "Big Mouth" is something I could have watched as a kid (at least without my parents' consent) and learned more about my choices for birth control than in my sex ed class in school. In middle school, we brought home permission slips for our parents to sign off on sex ed. The girls and boys were separated and placed in large classrooms so we could learn about our bodies. Some students were taken out into a third classroom because their parents didn't want them to learn anything. I didn't really get that third group, honestly, because we learned about each other's reproductive system and how our little bodies turn into hairy and porous monsters in the end. We touched briefly about contraception but were told to practice abstinence without the other sex in the room. I remember giggling after class as the students got back together. The whole setup was a joke to us as we exchanged details about what we learned in that class, even though it was against our school's wishes.
The thing I remember the most from school was how curious I was about the male body. I genuinely wanted to know how a condom was put on. The girls didn't know how to, but the boys learned using a banana in the classroom next door. As a preteen, I was thinking about my future relationships. I wanted to learn how to put one on for when the time was right, just in case the dude of my dreams didn't know how to.
Unlike my middle school, the episode of "Big Mouth" places all of its students in a classroom under one teacher and starts off with the main characters talking about Planned Parenthood. When Jay describes it as an "abortion factory," Missy and Jessi argue there is more to the organization than abortions; it offers breast exams, information about contraceptives, and various cancer screenings.
Prior to watching this episode, I knew what Planned Parenthood was to a degree because of commercials and comedy skits. For me, it was a safe haven for people to talk about their options for birth control and do something about it under the guidance of professionals. The way I saw it was only a small part of the big picture, as I learned from a sketch Missy plays out in her head about other services Planned Parenthood offers.
The writers bring Missy into a comedic skit very similar to the "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" franchises. It's done so well, you can't miss the references, especially with the iconic "Star Trek" crew. With Missy as the captain of the Vagilantes, she explores the female reproductive system and successfully conquers the invader ovarian cyst. The episode pokes fun at the nature of the female reproductive system in such a magic way that any person would want to reach out and caress the ova. The skit closes up with the crew going over their accomplished mission which was a completed medical exam done for a female patient.
The skit normalizes the conversation about the reproductive system. Back in middle school, I never learned about ovarian cysts or breast exams for cancer. My concerns for my female body grew a few seconds after watching that episode because I thought my body was invincible as a preteen; I thought I was Wolverine from the X-Men with all the hair growing from my body and the blood casually oozing out of me seven days every month.
The scene shoots back into the classroom for another topic between the adolescent characters.
The conversation goes into a deeper focus on contraceptives when Andrew asks Coach Steve, the guy who calls condoms "Yogurt Balloons," what he knew about contraception. The camera panel then zooms away from the classroom into a completely new skit that makes fun of the reality TV show "The Bachelorette" with student Andrew as the host of their alternate show "Miss Contraception." 16-year-old Leah, the older sister or Nick, is the bachelorette contestant who needs to choose which contraception is right for her. She is introduced to a variety of personified contraceptives, some that I can't recognize. Luckily, the skit's writers make us laugh with hard but sad truths about each one.
The good ol' condom hugs Leah and jokingly asks if they hugged because he could barely feel it. The pill interrupts her with rants of commitment as the implant gives a warm introduction about herself to Leah as a device that is surgically implanted into the arm (because the creators knew half of us wouldn't know much about it).
The diaphragm tells Leah she would never pick her, but she was once old friends with her mother, insinuating that this contraceptive is an old and less obvious choice (another type of birth control I didn't know). Meanwhile, IUD makes his way out of the car and says, "I'm an incredibly effective, but it's going to hurt going in." (I wouldn't know, but that's what everyone says so I guess it's true.) Last but not least, the least effective choice possible, the drunken pull-out method makes his way out the car and throws himself at the bachelorette.
The skit unfolds further and ceases when Leah gives her final rose to two choices: the condom and the pill.
The journey of 'goooooing through chaaaaanges' is the theme of the show and this episode is riddled with whole skits you could watch that is "both entertaining and informative, but not too preachy," according to Coach Steve.
Despite being so entertaining, there's possibly a deeper meaning to it all. Since the skits came from the classroom under Coach Steve, the episode makes fun of school system that could sometimes be a little too sensitive and ignorant with talking about things related to sex, periods, the pill, and other things related to reproduction. Based on my experience with sex ed, I learned almost nothing from the class. The episode also laughs at the people who oversee our own health system as they make things difficult for women to gain access to such as birth control and resources from Planned Parenthood. They're the people who would get along with Jay.
I am deeply disturbed by my own ignorance towards sexual education at this point in my life but this show is pretty good at being somewhat informative. Watch it on Netflix!