Suffering through Big Mouth Part 2: Is Elijah good Asexual representation?

We're back for round two of suffering through Big Mouth (so you don't have to)! Today we examine Elijah's character development, his relationship dynamics with Missy post-'Asexual Healing', and how the show treats him overall.

Pokemon Live nonsense


Courtney: Hello everyone and welcome back. My name is Courtney, I am here with my spouse, Royce, and together we are The Ace Couple. And today we are here for part two of our opinion on the ace representation in Big Mouth. Last episode we covered everything up to the episode entitled Asexual Healing, the first time we were given this identity label for the character of Elijah, and his journey toward discovering this label and what it could mean for him. So before we dive into season six, episode nine, immediately following Asexual Healing, I want to give a super brief recap of what we’ve got going so far in terms of the good and the bad.

Courtney: The bad is, quite frankly, I don’t like the show. I know it’s not for me, but it is very much an allonormative show. Up until the introduction of Elijah as a character and his asexuality as a plotline, the show itself was at every turn sort of telling us that it’s not ace-friendly. It was not accounting for asexual narratives. It honestly wasn’t even accounting in too many ways for just low libido or natural fluctuations of sexual desire. Because they tend to go this very amplified version of sexuality amongst the core cast members who are all going through puberty. They tried to be self-aware of this, even having the character of Elijah say, “What am I even doing in this show?” They very much depicted him feeling very othered amongst the core cast and the other characters, which is, frankly, how a lot of asexual people would feel viewing a show like this. Because there’s a lot of the like, “Am I the weird one for not feeling what seemingly everyone else here is feeling?” Which in some ways, is a very realistic asexual experience that lots of us are going to relate to. However, I super do not love the fact that he was not even a character until Missy became attracted to him. And that the show itself even acknowledged like, “Oh, I don’t even think he’s a character, he’s clearly just an extra in the background.” So he just materialized out of thin air, seemingly just to teach us about what asexuality is. Those are the things that are not super great going for this character right now, but on the other hand, there are a lot of good things we’ve seen so far.

Courtney: I do think he’s a very endearing character. I like when they allow us a few moments of seeing him develop a relationship with his girlfriend, Missy. I love that they have an asexual character who is a young Black teenager, because masculinity in our society is often seen as being totally inextricable from sexuality, and there’s an added layer of complication with the racism that comes from assuming that Black men in particular are incredibly sexual. So there’s an added layer of nuance to being able to depict his character in this way and, although I’m sure there are folks out there who do not like that, the asexual character is the very religious Christian one. As we said in our last episode, I think it has so far been done well. And there are ways to do it well, because there are a lot of Christian asexuals or a lot of people who grew up in a Christian household who are asexual. So just blanketly not depicting Christian aces in media for fear of it being so tied into purity culture, I’m glad they didn’t shy away from it and that they did tackle it and so far have been doing it pretty well.

Courtney: But picking up where we left off, now that Elijah has the word asexual, he feels asexual, he feels a sense of relief from learning about this label. He is still in a relationship with Missy, who is very much not asexual. So how did they handle this further development from here? Well, for starters, the next scene we see in the progression of his plotline is Missy at her locker at school in front of a photo that she put up of him. And she’s just like talking to this photo going, “Oh, I want to smooch your nummy lips again, Elijah.” And of course her hormone monster is behind her saying something totally crass like, “Oh, move that smooch two feet south.”

Courtney: Just honestly, those moments, I know they’re building up to showing the complications that might arise from an asexual person dating an allosexual person. But the extremely specific, extremely sexual fantasies that we see of the asexual character, and that we hear Missy and her hormone monster saying about him, is deeply uncomfortable to me. Because I know when I was [sarcastically] on the dating scene, when I was dating allosexual people, or if I was single, and allosexual people were asking me out or courting me, I always had a profound fear that they were actually thinking these incredibly sexual things about me. And I always loathe those, like, a little internet post that you’ll occasionally see, where like, “Oh, remember, someone’s masturbating to you,” or like, “You’re someone’s reason to masturbate,” and it’s like I– And they pose it as this is like an uplifting thing, like you should feel good about yourself because someone has masturbated to you. And no, I hate it. That’s my worst fear.

Royce: Yeah, it comes off as like an odd body positivity motivational poster sort of thing.

Courtney: Yeah! Like feel good about yourself, like you’re hot, you’re sexy.

Royce: Right. But instead of just saying, you know, you’re beautiful, you’re attractive, it goes straight to masturbation.

Courtney: Yeah, and it’s also not like you should feel good in your own skin, you should feel good about yourself. It’s like someone else is jerking off to the thought of– Yeah, I don’t like it, it’s very creepy, I do not like it. So just know that, like every time Missy and her hormone monster are talking like this about Elijah, I am deeply uncomfortable. And unfortunately, sometimes this is happening interspersed with genuinely endearing moments, like the date we talked about in the last episode. They were having super cute moments just nerding out together and I love that. If I was just watching the date, I’d be like, oh, this is really cute.

Courtney: But then the hormone monster is saying these very vulgar things and talking about lewd sex acts on this boy that I know to be asexual, and all of a sudden it’s like, “Is this date even cute anymore?” If this is going on in her head the entire time? I don’t know. But Elijah walks by her locker and she flags him down and he immediately looks uncomfortable. I’ve mentioned a lot of his mannerisms, a lot of the time, are very uncomfortable. And she’s like, [suggestively] “Oh, I liked when we were talking the other night.” And clearly referring to the time they made out, which she was into and he was very much not. And so he’s like, “Yeah, I also liked the word part of that, the talking. Yep, definitely the talking.” And so she asks if he wants to come over to her house for vegan pizza, and she actually says aloud, “And dot, dot, dot.” And he actually starts sweating. They animate him sweating, wincing.

Courtney: He sort of retreats back into his mind where his two hormone monsters are here. And now that his hormone monsters have given us the most currently used definition of what asexuality is, and they seem to know what it is, and they’re on board with it now for some reason. Now they’re, like, very supportive of him. They’re not trying to find what he’s attracted to anymore, like they were originally, which is again another indication of compulsory sexuality. Once they have the word asexual, they’re like, “Oh okay, we’re cool with that.” But up until that word was actually introduced, it’s like you got to try making out with her. You’ve got to do this. You’ve got to look at this pornographic photo. We’ve got to see what you like. Are you possibly gay? Have you considered that? And it’s like, why is that perpetually the go to? Like asexuality is just if all else fails.

Royce: In this case, until a human brought it up, it was pushed back so far in their minds that they forgot that it was an option.

Courtney: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. But now that they’re on board, now that the word has been introduced and they recognize that he’s asexual, they’re like, “Uh-oh, not the dot dot dot, that’s suggestive.” Even pointing out, like, “Oh, this girl’s insatiable.” And since he has two hormone monsters, they fight a lot, like they argue, and sometimes it’s about normal things. Like in this instance, they’re debating whether or not he should tell her. One of the hormone monsters is like, “You have to tell her,” the other is like, “She is not going to understand, people do not get asexuality.” And even the other one concedes like, “Well, that is true, humans can be really close-minded.” And so, like that’s a normal debate, like to tell her or not to tell her. But sometimes they just argue about literally nothing. They just start tearing into each other. And I think when they do that it’s supposed to be used for comedy, but I have not found those instances personally to be humorous. But he ultimately agrees to have pizza, does not tell her he is asexual at this moment, but she says, “Oh great, it’s a dot dot date.” And he walks away from this encounter wincing.

Courtney: So after this dot dot date has been scheduled, we have a scene of Elijah with his hormone monsters and they are trying to coach him through what to say to Missy when she goes to kiss him. And one of them is adamant, “You cannot tell her. She will not understand. People don’t get asexuality.” And he, like, concocts this very obviously bad lie about, “Tell her you ate mud. Tell her as a result of eating this mud, you now have four canker sores in your mouth and you can be like, oh gosh, I want to kiss you so bad, but I can’t because I ate mud.” For no reason. He’s really into this mud idea. The other hormone monster is like, “I don’t know, why don’t you just tell her?” And Elijah says, “I do not know how to talk to her about this, I don’t know what to do.”

Courtney: And the one who’s being a little more realistic here is like, “Well, why don’t you just explain that you don’t want to kiss her?” And naturally Elijah is concerned. He’s anxious and worried that she is not going to want to date him anymore if he comes clean about that. Which is also a very common anxiety amongst asexual people who are dating, have dated, or attempted to date allosexual people. An ace dating an allo is considered a mixed orientation relationship, and with any mixed orientation relationship there can be certain challenges and hurdles and it does require an abundance of understanding and communication and compassion. But, truth be told, I think that for the context of this show that on the whole I don’t like, I actually think it is very cool of them to depict these struggles that could come from an ace-allo relationship, because it is a very real fear for aces who do want to date.

Courtney: And here’s another instance of me not fully knowing why or how they utilize the hormone monsters in the narrative because, yeah, they missed all the cues that he might be asexual, but once they said he was, they were like, “Oh, I know the definition, hey, that fits you. That sounds about right.” But sometimes it seems more like a manifestation of the kid’s anxiety or concerns, rather than, “I am in a coaching and a teaching role.” And yet even when they’re sitting here trying to coach him through what to say, they still seem to not understand all of the ways in which a mixed orientation relationship might work. Because one of these hormone monsters specifically says she won’t understand, the only way to salvage your relationship is to keep this quiet, keep it hush-hush. And he specifically points out the fact that she masturbates a lot. This is a thing we know about her and straight up says, “Do you think asexuality is gonna make sense to someone like that?” And that seems more like, realistically speaking, that that would be Elijah’s own internalized concern and anxiety.

Royce: The hormone monsters should know more about this.

Courtney: Exactly, the hormone monsters should know better. So sometimes it seems like they know, sometimes they don’t, and I think that totally just depends on– I don’t even know! It’s just arbitrary.

Royce: And it’s hard to tell if it’s the writer’s ignorance or if the writers are trying to do something particular, because sometimes the hormone monsters are set up as sort of like unreliable narrative devices. Like–

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: These two in particular are shown to be incompetent.

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: So do they just have a faulty understanding? Is there more things that they need to remember that they have conveniently forgotten? Or do they just not know?

Courtney: Yeah, yeah. And, I mean, even throughout this relationship, Missy’s hormone monster, she also says a couple of ignorant things about asexuality, and we’ll get to that in a bit. But during this scene– And I’m gonna use a phrase that I really loathe. So again, listeners, I hope you appreciate how much personal torture I have put myself through to watch all of Big Mouth and repeat some of these plot points and words and phrases back to you. [laughs] But he specifically says, in the context of “Do you think this is gonna make sense?” He says – quote – “To someone who can’t stop flicking her own bean.” Hate that phrase, really do. But I love Elijah’s reaction to it, where he’s like, “I don’t know what that means!” And the other hormone monster is like, “Uh… Another time, Elijah, don’t worry about that right now. Back to Missy, she’ll get it, you just gotta tell her.”

Courtney: Because I do feel like there has been a bigger push lately to not depict asexual characters as these, like, innocent beings or these folks who are completely ignorant towards things regarding sex and sexuality and there are good reasons for that push, and there’s– This is an example of why we actually do need both. I don’t think it is inherently a bad thing to have an innocent asexual character, because there are a lot of innocent asexual people. I for a very long time was like the innocent one amongst my friend group. And like, especially in high school, especially around this period of time, like middle school, high school, I was the innocent one who didn’t get it. I was the one who was behind. And I know a lot of other asexual people who also were like that, if not still are today. And of course, it’s not a universal asexual experience. There are asexual people who write very raunchy fanfiction. There are asexual people who do have really, like, dirty senses of humor. I am not one of those aces. This is why we need more representation in media with a diversity of asexual experiences.

Courtney: So I actually– I think it’s really cute that they’re saying things like this and he’s like, “I don’t even know what this means.” But he eventually resolves to say, like, “You’re right, I’m just going to rip off the Band-Aid, I’m gonna tell her.” And then, because they can never leave on a somewhat serious, or dramatic, or meaningful, impactful moment, they’ve got to have the hormone monster come in and say something ridiculous again. Because that is how they end most of these scenes. And a lot of the time I think it’s very unnecessary. The one who’s really fixated on the mud is like, “Or instead of telling her you’re asexual, you accuse her of eating mud!” He’s just like, “I really think there’s something with the mud thing here.” And his original logic was like why would someone say they ate mud if they didn’t actually eat mud? Perfect lie, because no one’s going to accuse you of lying because it’s so specific. Why would you say it if it wasn’t true? And it’s like he just can’t get away from it. But that’s how they end that scene.

Courtney: And to me, I really think, if the point of Elijah is to teach people about what an asexual experience could look like – which I would argue that is exactly what his character is made to do, for better or for worse – give us those moments, or those little moments of triumph, and let us sit on that. Let him say, “You’re right, I’m going to pull off the band-aid, I’m going to tell Missy I’m asexual.” Give us a second to take that in, give us a second to breathe, and then move on to the next scene. That could be so much more impactful than like, [excitedly] “Or tell her she ate mud and that’s why you can’t kiss–!” Like– [groans] Give us just a couple of them. It doesn’t have to be every single scene. Not every single scene has to be dramatic. I get that this is a comedy show.

Royce: Well, instead of having the closing of that scene be a ridiculous comment, you could cut to a different scene with other cast members doing ridiculous things and keep the same beat.

Courtney: Yes, exactly! It’s a timing issue. Some of the beats are just so off for me. And that’s why sometimes I’m like, “Are you just trying to educate us about this experience or are you just trying to be an absurd comedy?” Because you haven’t quite gotten the ratios right. You haven’t found your balance. But we do see, later on, Elijah and Missy are once again sitting on a bed, he’s scratching his arm nervously and wincing, and she is suggesting that she wants to kiss. And Elijah, of course, is like, “Oh, what do I do?” And so his two hormone monsters one says, “Have an honest conversation about why you don’t want to make out.” And the other one’s, like, “Tell a mud-based lie and run away.”

Courtney: And since he seems a little bit reluctant here, Missy’s asking her hormone monster why he’s not making a move, since they’re both here alone. And she asks, you know, “Do I have impossible sausage breath?” And her hormone monster just says, “Who cares? Just french the boy. And get his impossible sausage on your breath.” Complete with vulgar gestures. [sarcastically] Thanks. I hate it! Because, like, tell me that that is not a major asexual fear. Like, I’m about to come out to my girlfriend as asexual, but my girlfriend is thinking of doing oral sex with me. Like tell me that isn’t a very valid asexual fear, that exact situation. But she eventually decides to make her move. She leans in, he backs away immediately and they both fumble through some awkward apologies, not really knowing what to do in this situation. And then his two hormone monsters start arguing again about, “Tell the truth! No, lie! Tell the truth!” But then Missy’s sex monster, Mona, sees those two. And that’s another thing that’s very weird. Sometimes the hormone monsters see each other and interact with each other, and sometimes they don’t.

Royce: It’s not entirely consistent. There are also rare occasions where some third party person will be aware of a hormone monster that belongs to someone else.

Courtney: Yeah, in instances where it’s like, “Oh, you have my hormone monster too?” So that’s another thing that, like, there is not a clearly defined set of rules for how these things work. But she catches these other two and is like, “What the fuck is going on here?” And so they lie and say that they ate mud. Doesn’t make any sense. And I think, have they ruined the rule of three at this point? I think this is like the fourth time that they’ve mentioned mud. I think the “tell a mud-based lie and run,” was probably– should have been their third beat, but then they gave a fourth beat.

Royce: The joke went on too long?

Courtney: They killed it. They drove it right down into the mud!

Royce: And so after this, to confirm Elijah’s fears, Missy does not react particularly well.

Courtney: No. He apologizes and is like, “I’ve got to go,” and Missy starts crying. The only reason she can think of that he didn’t want to kiss her is that he thinks she’s ugly, he finds her unkissable. And her hormone monster also believes this? Which is another thing where it’s like, are you intrusive sex thoughts or are you actually– I don’t know. Are you coaching them and teaching them things they don’t know, or are you just a reflection of their actual internal dialogue?

Royce: The way they are used is not consistent, but we are shown like an alternate universe that they go to through a portal where all the hormone monsters are going to work in an office, and there are people who are, like, renowned for their work in the human world because of how good of a job, according to their standards, they did in someone’s – you know – puberty period. So it feels much more like they’re supposed to be independent beings that come to Earth to help/cause people to develop. [Courtney pensive hums] Which was also the implication with Coach Steve and the old hormone monster, Rick, that he had an abnormal sort of puberty here, that he was underdeveloped in some way because – to some extent – the hormone monster that he had, and that was depicted to be a problem.

Courtney: Like that is a problem. That is pathetic. There’s something wrong with him. But it sort of legitimizes that. It actually gives us a visual representation of what is wrong with him in this ablest depiction of this hormone monster that he got. And I don’t like it. Because that is what people use against asexual people to try to legitimize us. People still to this day say, like, asexuality isn’t real, you just have to get your hormones checked, or asexuality is a medical issue.

Courtney: My gosh, after we did our James Somerton episode talking about how aces do face conversion therapy, there were literal doctors arguing with us on Twitter about how, yes, asexuality is wrong and no one is actually asexual, and why are you celebrating a medical problem? And it’s like, [groans] yep, you’re exactly the kind of person who would actually put an ace through conversion therapy. So I guess you proved our point. So like it doesn’t matter if Steve is asexual or not. That line of thought, and this culture they’re setting up and perpetuating, does feed into acephobia. But at least in this instance, the– Mona, the hormone monster for Missy, is also, like, crying and she’s like, “You’re right, he thinks you’re ugly.” So they’re just like having a crying session together. And Missy says, “Things were so much easier when I just had a crush on Nathan Fillian.” And she goes into her closet and has, like, a lightly erotic conversation with her poster of Nathan Fillian that she has in there.

Royce: Which– this is an ongoing thing. I think this dates back to, like, season one. This is a big part of her character.

Courtney: Yeah, I mean, she’s been shown to be a nerd. And will have these little conversations with Nathan Fillian, and he’ll be like, “Yeah, I haven’t seen an empty bed since BF, before Firefly.” And this is actually very important setup for the next episode because Missy’s struggling – all of the other main characters have their own sets of struggles going on, and so they all sing a song at the end of this episode about their woes and they all sort of make wishes – and Missy’s wish in particular was to be irresistible. So naturally, in episode ten of season six, which is the season finale, they do a Freaky Friday.

Royce: I think I mentioned in our last episode that sometimes the season finales get a little weird in this show. But yeah, the title of that episode is Fucked Up Friday, and there’s a lot of body swapping going on.

Courtney: A lot of body swapping. Like, three of the main characters body swap with someone. Three or four, I can’t remember who all body-swapped, but lots of people body-swapped. And Missy becomes Nathan Fillion, she body swaps with Nathan Fillion. So Nathan Fillion is now in the body of this young girl and she’s in his body and, of course, the very first thing she does is touches her butt, his butt? Touches Nathan Fillion’s butt. And, honestly, for how ludicrous this concept is, I loved this scene when Elijah shows up when body swapped Missy and Nathan Fillion have gotten together. And so Missy, as Nathan Fillion, is like, “Oh, Elijah!” And confused, Elijah’s like, “Uh, what’s going on here?” I believe he specifically says, “Who is the white dude with the high butt?” And so Nathan Fillion in Missy’s body gets, like, really offended that he doesn’t know who Nathan Fillion is. And so he’s just like, “Well, you better ask your mother, young man, because I bet you she knows who Nathan Fillion is.” And Elijah’s just like, “Uh, yeah, okay. Anyway, Missy, can we talk privately?” And Missy and Mona are panicking that he’s here to break up with her. And Nathan Fillion, with his – you know – impressive improv skills in Missy’s body, just says, “Well, if it is personal in nature, I think Nathan Fillion should stick around for this.” And [laughs] some of Elijah’s lines in this, like his response to that, is like, “Oh, dang. There is no way I could have prepared for this.” [laughs]

Courtney: And the absurdity is actually very good here. I don’t think it always works for me in this show, but I loved this scene. It was even giving me minor elements, and not as good or fleshed out or nuanced, as some of the Bojack Horseman, like, Todd coming out scenes or Todd trying to stay in the closet. Like visiting Yolanda’s family, and they have this asexual sex farce of an episode where everyone in Yolanda’s family is incredibly sexual. And so everything happening around them is absurd and cartoonish and outlandish, but the core of what’s happening, and the emotions that are there, and the character motivations for doing the things they’re doing are all very real. There’s this very beautiful nugget of truth within it. And that’s kind of what I get here to a lesser extent. Where, like, he’s clearly already anxious and nervous about this, he has, you know, recited over in his head what he’s gonna say. He’s liken this to ripping off the band-aid. He knows it’s gonna be hard. He’s never come out to someone like this before, let alone his girlfriend and he doesn’t know how she’s gonna respond.

Courtney: And despite all this preparation, this coaching from at least one sex monster who is a little more realistic in approach, he still gets there and shows up to this situation and is like, “Well, I thought I was ready, but I am not.” And yet the conduit for this new wave of anxiety and unpreparedness is like Missy’s literally body swapped with Nathan Fillion. And like, I do like it, it works for me. And he says, “Well, I mean, Missy, this is all kind of weird to talk about this in front of him.” And he says, “Well, anything you can say to me, Missy, you can say to Nathan Fillion, a world-class actor, wealthy enough to hire his own penis cleaner, but humble enough to do it himself.” And did– Royce, did they actually get Nathan Fillion to voice himself on this?

Royce: I’m almost positive, but let me check.

Courtney: I think they did. If not, it was a very good impression.

Royce: Yes, Nathan Fillion voices himself throughout Big Mouth.

Courtney: So they actually have Nathan Fillion here voicing his own body, but this young girl who is just concerned and anxious that her boyfriend’s about to break up. And it’s actually Nathan Fillion’s voice. It’s so weird, I actually love it. And so, Missy, as Nathan, says, “Yeah, Elijah, we both really care about you.” And Elijah, not knowing what the fuck is going on, is like, “Uh, okay, sir. Fine, here it goes.” And he takes a really deep breath, composes himself and he says, “I love hanging out with you, I really love holding hands with you, but I think that might be it for me, like physically.” And we start getting the emotional music in the background. And then we have Nathan Fillion’s voice, a cartoon of Nathan Fillion’s body saying, “Is it because you don’t think I’m pretty?” [laughing] And Elijah is getting increasingly frustrated with this. He’s like, “Please, sir, this is hard enough. Could you please stop talking to me? Like for some reason, Missy wants you here. I don’t understand it. I wish you were gone, but just stop.” And so then Missy’s body says, “I think what Nathan means is you don’t think I’m pretty.” And Elijah is like, “No… Absolutely not.” He reiterates that he thinks that she’s beautiful and he comes out and says it. He says, “It’s just, I’m asexual.” And there’s a little bit of a pause, there’s definitely a little bit of discomfort in the delivery. And then again from Nathan Fillion’s voice we just have, “Oh so it’s not about me!”

Courtney: And this is when I just lost it, because Elijah, who is normally so respectful, so polite, especially to adults, like he’s always calling them sir, ma’am, he actually yells. And I think this is the one and only time we hear Elijah yelling. And he just says, “None of this is about you!” It’s so good. But then he turns back to Missy’s body and says, “But, Missy, I really like being with you and I hope me being asexual doesn’t mean we have to break up.” And Nathan Fillion doesn’t know anything about this relationship, or what Missy does or doesn’t want. So Missy’s body is like, [hesitantly] “Well, I would love to give you an answer, but…” And Nathan Fillion’s body says, “But I think it might be better if I did.” And Elijah’s like, “What the fuck man?” [laughs] To which, the response is, “I think you’d say, Elijah, I accept you for who you are and very much want to remain your girlfriend if you’ll have me or… have her, Missy, who is not me.” And so he turns to Missy’s body and says, “Is that true, Missy?” And so then Missy and Nathan Fillion in unison say, “Yes, I want to be your girlfriend.” And that is the moment where they body swap back. I actually love it. I did not love any of the other plots happening in this episode, the other people who got body swapped I hated all of it, but this one? Actually very good. I liked it.

Royce: Yeah, one of the other main characters swapped into his dad’s body and ended up in his position where he was trying to save his parents’ marriage, which got very weird very fast.

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: Another person swapped into his grandfather’s body. Jay didn’t swap with Coach Steve, they both ended up in Coach Steve’s body, and Jay’s body was just like comatose in the woods.

Courtney: [laughs] Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Didn’t Jessi also, like, swap with a baby or something? Like–

Royce: Yes.

Courtney: So we had a lot of body swapping going on here. Most of it was very uncomfortable but like, yeah, the boy body swapping with the dad and needing to try to – as the dad – fix marital issues being very uncomfortable. This is also the exact same show, mind you, that had one of the main cast members, like, very nearly hook-up with a cousin, like they were sexting, and he got caught, like, sexting his cousin after a grandparent, like, died? And that’s why he was even talking to that cousin. It was like they do a lot of very uncomfortable things on this show. Sometimes, I think, just because they can.

Royce: But that is where season six ends.

Courtney: So season seven we’ve got a bit of a mixed bag here again. Because, technically speaking, for the sake of supporting someone when they come out to you, Missy/Nathan Fillion said everything right to make that a happy moment. And yet previously, when the word asexual was not coming out and it was just, “I’m not ready for this, I want to go slow,” Missy’s hormone monster was specifically saying, “Why are you saying that? We do not want to go slow.” So I’m nervous. And we do start to have some moments in this next season where Missy did not actually seem to mean what she said, or she maybe wanted to mean what she said, but there are still these very glaring moments of dissatisfaction that sometimes start manifesting as resentment. Which is very real asexual dating allosexual fear. Like, that is a real fear and I don’t think it’s inherently a bad thing that they depicted that becoming an issue, because it no doubt does some of the time. But let’s get into what happened and where I think went wrong with it. For the first time, I think, they decide to, like, age the kids up a year. For the first several seasons it was just, you know, standard cartoon sitcom, they’re all just sort of stagnant in time in many ways.

Royce: Something like that. Looking at some of the characters, it seems like there was maybe a year up in season four, but the setting is still the same. So season seven starts with the episode “Big Mouth’s Going to High School (But Not for Nine More Episodes)” That is the title. They get a tour of the high school and then the remainder of the season is them basically preparing to go to high school, and the season finale is their first day of high school. [Courtney agrees] So, some of the things leading up to it are people preparing to shift to the new school and some people deciding what school they’re going to go to.

Courtney: Yeah. So they go to visit this high school, and Missy and Elijah are, like, holding hands getting off the bus for this trip and they’re saying like, “Oh, we’re going to be a real high school couple, and we’re going to do this together. We’ll have lunch together.” Elijah, always the perfect gentleman, is like, “I’ll carry your books in the hallway.” But amongst this very sweet conversation, we once again have Missy’s hormone monster absolutely ruining it, because she starts chastising Missy about wanting to be a high school couple with Elijah, because she says high school is where you’re supposed to fuck. And because of the fact that Elijah isn’t into that, she doesn’t think that this is a good idea. She doesn’t think they should be together.

Courtney: I had to write down this exact quote too, because it’s just another example of like just the writing of this, I can’t do it personally. She says, “You’re almost 14, darling, you should be drowning in dick.” And Missy, trying to, like, shove her hormone monster to the back of her head, is like, “No, you– Dicks aren’t even liquid, you can’t drown in them.” And she says, “Well, of course you can. 18% of hot slut deaths every year are dick drownings. So stay safe out there, my whores.” And then it cuts away to, like, the more you know rainbow, except it says, the more you blow. And the rainbow is trailing off of a flying penis.

Royce: If you needed a few– a short couple second clip to decide whether or not the show is for you.

Courtney: Yeah! And that’s not even anywhere remotely close to the most vulgar thing that they’ll just say to end a scene. Like, not even close. It’s pretty mid for them, to be honest. But Missy and Elijah are holding hands and this very clearly older high school couple comes up. They’re, like, way taller than them. They introduce themselves as Timon and Pumbaa, giving this really corny line about how, oh, it’s because when we’re together we have no worries. And one of them says, “Plus, I’m packing a fat old warthog in my jeans.” And his girlfriend agrees. She’s like, “Yeah, so fat.” And then they’re like, “Wait, are you two a couple also?” And Missy’s very excited to say, “Yes, we are a couple, we’re soon to be a high school couple.”

Courtney: And then this, this current high school couple, this Timon and Pumbaa, just start making out right in front of them. Very over the top animation. Their tongues are literally coiling around each other so many times that it looks like a rope just connecting their two mouths. And Elijah is saying what we’re all thinking, he’s like, “Whoa, why, you two are just like going at it in the hallway, huh?” And he’s very uncomfortable, but Missy really likes it. She’s looking at them dreamily as they’re doing this. And her hormone monster is like, “You see? This is good, this is what I want for you in high school. You should be like them.”

Courtney: And this couple actually starts like dry humping each other just right there in the hallway. And the hormone monster is like, “Yeah, the hunger, the heat, the complete lack of self-awareness. This is what high school is.” Meanwhile, elsewhere in the school, Andrew Rannells and Billy Porter are hitting it off, while Caleb, the previously mentioned autistic character, is like inspecting emergency exits on the map that he made. And this was a moment that did actually have me laughing. And there were precious few moments in this show that actually had me laughing, so I felt like I needed to call attention to this because it was funny enough for me to laugh. It was surprising enough for me to laugh. But then I felt bad after the fact for laughing. Because these two characters, I don’t even remember their actual names because I was just like, “Oh yeah, Andrew Rannells and Billy Porter,” who are two of maybe a dozen celebrities that I know.

Royce: Matthew is Andrew Rannells’ character.

Courtney: Matthew. So Matthew–

Royce: Who is fairly regular. I mean he’s– He wouldn’t be considered main, main cast, but he’s around.

Courtney: Yeah.

Royce: And Billy Porter’s character is– goes by Ocean.

Courtney: Ocean. So, yeah, Matthew, like, meets– I don’t think we even specified last episode, but Matthew is a gay character. He at one point was in a relationship with one of the bi characters, Jay, who’s actually the one that is like the most sexual one. So he’s meeting other queer students and he’s learning that they have, like, basically a, like, gay chorus and he’s trying to feel– trying to be cool. He wants to get in with these kids. And so these two are hitting it off, while Caleb – who is friends with Matthew and their friendship is growing a lot this season – Caleb is working on his map, looking at the emergency exits, trying to get acclimated to this place because he’s uncomfortable in unfamiliar environments. And so these two characters are like, “Oh, he’s over at the emergency exit, should we wait for him?” And then Matthew’s sex monster, who is like one of the two most prominent ones that several kids have, just very quickly, with perfect timing, says, “No. No cops at Pride.” Ow… I laughed so hard and then I felt so bad for laughing, because I actually love Caleb. And in fact the penultimate episode of this season was perhaps the best episode of this entire series, maybe second to the asexual one, but those two are pretty on par because of Caleb and Matthew. They just get so good.

Courtney: But this, you know, this Timon and Pumbas couple show Missy and Elijah Make Out Central, which is this back staircase that has like half a dozen couples making out on it, including some like faculty, which is very uncomfortable. And they’re like, “So yeah, this is where you come to make out, but if you want to hook up on carpet, highly recommend the library.” And it transitions them to the library where there’s again like three or four couples completely going at it. And then they stare lustily into each other’s eyes and they’re like, “Oh babe, do you remember? That’s where you first fingered me. And where we both went to second base.” But second base, they both very dreamily say, “Anal!” And I don’t think that’s actually what second base is? Allos, please confirm. Actually, don’t, don’t, just don’t. But they once again, you know, fall to the floor making out because they just can’t help themselves. And Missy’s, like, twirling her hair and smiling while watching them. And Elijah again saying what we’re all thinking just goes, “Does anyone go to class at this school?” And although, based on what we’ve been seeing from this tour, I think it’s a very valid question, Missy outright snaps at him. She is very short and says, “Well, maybe you should try being not so close-minded, Elijah. I mean Jesus wasn’t a completely judgy little narc, was he?”

Courtney: And although the accusation and the way she just jumped on him so quickly when clearly she just has her own internal hangups going on right now about dating an asexual boy, he just responds very, very chilly. He’s like, “Actually, yeah, he kind of was. Jesus was kind of a judgy little narc.” Which kind of a funny line in this context, but we saw him talking to Black Jesus last season. Black Jesus was absolutely not a judgy little narc, he wasn’t judging anybody. He was so cool, he was so chill. He was just hanging out on his phone saying like you, do you.

Courtney: But Missy’s hormone monster is like, “Well, if you’re going to high school with Elijah, you might as well scoop out your pussy and put it on ice.” [sigh] So many words that I don’t say in my everyday vocabulary just because I’m quoting this show. And she hands her an ice cream scoop and Missy agrees. She’s like, “Yeah, you’re probably right. It seems like exploring bodies on dirty carpets is a big part of this experience. And I’m not sure I want to miss out on that.” And so [sighs] they gave Elijah his own point of view for discovering his asexuality and for little coaching moments about how to talk to Missy.

Courtney: But for the most part in this episode where Missy is frustrated, she is upset, she is unfairly lashing out at Elijah, it is like pretty exclusively her point of view. It is the allosexual character who is dissatisfied in this relationship who is getting the main point of view focus here. And I don’t love that because, from everything we can tell, everything we’re seeing like, yeah, elijah’s uncomfortable with the immediate surroundings of people making out, people like humping each other on the floor of the library, but as far as we can tell, he doesn’t think there’s any issue in their relationship right now. And why would he? Missy told him she was okay with this. Missy told him she accepted him for who he is and that it wouldn’t affect their relationship.

Courtney: And it just continues to escalate because these two couples are now sitting together at lunch and these Timon and Pumbaa characters are, like, literally feeding each other, but like birds, like, chewing food to spit into the other one’s mouth. And Missy is still looking like, “Aw, this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.” And Elijah’s eye is twitching. [laughs] Because Elijah is a whole mood and a half. And he even says, like, while watching this, while observing this couple and these other high school couples all day, he just has to ask, he says, “Am I cuckoo bananas or are these two cuckoo bananas?” And Missy again lashes out at him and says, “Um, well, actually, maybe you are cuckoo bananas, Elijah. I don’t know? Some people have sexual appetites and there’s nothing wrong with that!” And she’s getting– Like she’s yelling increasingly more. She stands up at this table, like, on her chair, so she’s sort of like shouting over him, and it is all just very unfair. And Elijah is even like, “What is going on with you, Missy?” And asks, “What’s wrong? Is it the high school that’s bothering you? Is it me? Am I the problem?”

Courtney: And she starts to say, well, it seems like she’s about to say, “I want something that you don’t.” She’s almost starting to come out and say, or at least hint at the fact, that maybe she isn’t as cool with him being asexual as she previously said. But before she can get out that whole thought, the entire cafeteria just, like, erupts in chaos. There’s like a food fight going on, like, kids are running around scrambling to get out. And at some point in the midst of this, Elijah manages to pull Missy up on a table, up to safety, and, completely forgetting, or at least dismissing all of the previous pent up feelings, she says, like, “I’m so happy you’re going to be my high school boyfriend.” And even the hormone monster is like, “Well, yeah, maybe he doesn’t want to do all these physical things, but he just saved you and that’s hot.” So they’re like all right, everything’s fine for now.

Courtney: So episode three is where Elijah’s plot picks back up. And they’re all sitting in class. The character Jay gets a really bad grade and one of the other boys says, “Oh well, have you tried not jerking off? Because it sent a lot of blood to my brain.” And the response is like, “Oh, I’d rather pull my dick off than never pull it at all.” And some random kid who isn’t really a character is sitting next to Elijah, but hears this conversation, and so he just sort of leans over and says, “Oh yeah, you gotta pull it if you got it. You feel me, Elijah?” And like holds out a fist, and Elijah looks very disappointed but he’s going to go along with it. And he’s like, “Oh yeah, totally, man, you gotta pull it.” And like gives a very limp fist bump. And then he just looks down and sighs.

Courtney: So that’s another just very good illustration of compulsory sexuality in a social setting, for how difficult that can be to be in the closet as an asexual person. Because this is also a show where at least this class has proven to be okay with a gay character, be okay with a bi character, they’ve been like educating people on different sexualities. So there’s still a layer of even if you are okay with other queer identities, the common thread that’s binding all of this acceptance is like, well, you are still sexually attracted to somebody. You still feel these sexual urges and impulses, just like we do, even if it’s directed a little differently. So there’s somewhat of a unique alienation for asexual people, because I’ve even had relatives or friends in my life when I was coming out as asexual outright say like, “If you were a lesbian we’d support you and get it, we’d understand, because at least you’re attracted to somebody, but not being attracted to anybody. I don’t understand. This is the foreign, weird thing to me.” And like obviously your mileage may vary. Different people have different exposures, different limits, different confusions, but that is not a one-off thing. That is like, especially in more broadly, queer communities, we hear like comp-het, compulsory heterosexuality, that a lot of people might try to conform to. Well, there is a more broad overarching just compulsory sexuality – you must experience sexuality, or at least perform sexuality, regardless of orientation – that asexual people are some of the folks impacted by that the hardest.

Courtney: But to this scene, Elijah’s hormone monsters notice that this was a very sad fist bump. So they’re, they’re asking him what’s wrong and he straight up says, “I just hate being the only non-horny kid I know. All these guys are, like, obsessed with their own crotches.” And the hormone monsters are like, “Yeah, I mean, even your girlfriend, like, she masturbates all the time.” And he says, “I just don’t get it.” And the hormone monsters are like, “Yeah, wish we could help with that one, but you’re kind of on your own.” And he says, “Isn’t helping me your job?” And that’s when they admit like, “Well, it is, yeah. You probably haven’t noticed, but we’re pretty bad at our job.” And he’s like, “No, no, I know, I picked up on that, I’m well aware.”

Courtney: And so he has to take matters into his own hands. He goes home, opens up a laptop, says clearly, “I can’t count on you guys for anything, but there must be other asexual people online, right?” And one of the hormone monsters is like, “Oh sure, the internet. The safest place for kids who feel different.” And there’s too much to unpack about that line delivered in the tone it was that I– I’ll just leave it at that. But in online searching he ends up finding r/asexual. So he finds himself on Reddit, on this asexuality forum, and they very stylistically get, like, pulled into the computer and then they’re inside of Reddit. And apparently– Did you know this? Because I didn’t. The little, like, Reddit guy is named Snoo. He’s got a name. That’s precious. I didn’t know that.

Royce: I didn’t either.

Courtney: I also. Is he an alien or a robot? Sometimes I think he’s an alien, sometimes I think he’s a robot. I’ve never actually checked.

Royce: Well r/snoo, says the Reddit alien.

Courtney: The Reddit alien! Okay, he is an alien. And so Snoo comes in and welcomes them. Welcome to the asexuality subreddit, of which there are several asexual subreddits of various names and various sizes. I believe the one they specifically referenced here is the largest one in terms of people subscribed to that subreddit. But I think it’s cool to see a young ace character perusing Reddit to learn more about himself and his orientation. Because for so long, despite the fact that now we have so many pocket communities within asexuality all over the place, the most common one that is mentioned or spoken about in our community is AVEN, which is the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. It is like the longest running forum website, and because of that and because AVEN has been very influential in a number of ways to sort of ushering in this new era of modern asexual history, that’s the one that gets mentioned all the time. And, like in Ace community circles, people will ask like, “Are you on AVEN? How long have you been on AVEN?” Or people will have very negative impressions of AVEN. They may have joined even at the wrong time and been like, “I tried to get on AVEN, but you know, I had a very exclusionist experience,” or, “I had a very racist experience.” I mean truthfully, like, as with any forum of a certain size, there are issues that can and do arise in forums like that. But whether or not asexual people are actively on Reddit, or actively on AVEN, or have ever been on AVEN, pretty much everyone knows of AVEN’s existence. And AVEN even gets floated as like the go to like, “Here’s where you can learn about asexuality.” But having a young character like this turn to Reddit makes perfect sense. I believe that that happens all the time in this day and age.

Courtney: I know a few years back a lot of people were talking about Tumblr, like how Tumblr is where they had their asexual awakening. We were not on Tumblr at that time. We just got on Tumblr, like, last month, and gotta say it’s been weird. A lot of you have been very kind and nice and supportive on there. We’ve also had some very hateful, weird messages. So not sure how I feel yet about the whole Tumblr of it all. But for this story, in this demographic, Reddit super works for me. And since they’re able to show him sort of inside the computer, there are these Reddit posts like floating around in a vortex around him, and he’s just sort of picking out and reading some of them. And he’s just in awe saying, “These posts are all from people like me.” And this little floaty Snoo alien is like, “Thousands of them! Asexuals, aromantics and, of course, a smattering of hate speech.” Because what did I say of forums of a certain size? And they even call out Reddit a bit. They’re like, “You delete that stuff, right?” And Snoo’s like, “Nope, to me it’s food!” Like go ahead, have a scroll around.

Courtney: And so it shows some of the posts and one of the users says, “I always assumed I just had a lesser sex drive.” Someone says, “I could go the rest of my life without sex, just fine.” Someone’s like, “Happy Tuesday, white genocide, am I right?” To which even the sex monsters are like, “Oh Jesus.” And the little Snoo alien is going just like, “Yum! Hate speech, I love it. Delicious.” And someone posted a meme saying this is literally me. We had to google what this meme was called because I’ve seen it, I recognize it, I didn’t know what the name was for it.

Royce: Oh yeah, you had me look this up. Know your meme has it as Awkward Look Monkey Puppet.

Courtney: Awkward Look Monkey Puppet, there it is. It’s, it’s– Yeah, it’s– It’s a little puppety guy who’s, like, looking very like [sucks in air through teeth] concerned and has eyes, like, off to the side and then just focuses them forward and the text on it is: when people talk about sex stuff constantly. And Elijah sees that and it resonates with him. And we have seen that it resonates with him. And after seeing that and some of these other posts, even says, like, “I’m starting to feel better already.” And then he gets caught off guard like, “Oh wait, what is this post?” And it’s someone posing a question saying any other aces on here masturbate? And some of the responses are like, “Yeah, of course you don’t have to be attracted to others to enjoy physical sensations.” And some people saying, like, “Yeah, jerking off just feels really good.” And I did catch some of the usernames that they floated for some of these comments and posts and I really liked them because one of them was just like SusieNoFlusie, and I just like the rhyme. I think it’s cute. But one of them was GarlicBreadhead321. Which– Garlic bread is a much newer but very born, or at least amplified, of Reddit meme within the asexual community. The meme being like, “I’d rather eat garlic bread than have sex.”

Courtney: So there are, like there are some asexual subreddits, for example, that call their members like garlic bread lovers and that’s sort of a newer, savory iteration of an older ace culture thing where it was cake. And cake is still very prominent. You’ll still see and hear aces talking about cake all the time. The garlic bread is much newer but, like, just those little attention to detail, nuggets, like they definitely did their research, like they consulted the right people, they got names that– names that like the average asexual person who isn’t steeped in ace culture isn’t going to see GarlicBreadhead and think that it means anything. But to us when we’re watching, we’re like that’s an easter egg for us. I know that, I recognize that.

Courtney: But Elijah’s reading this thread about some of the aces on this forum who do masturbate and he’s confused. He’s like, “I didn’t know they– Wait, we did that.” And the hormone monsters are like, “Man! Us either. We didn’t know!” Which– Like, how could you have the brief, go to definition of asexual just in your back pocket to pull out, but not know different manifestations or different areas of the ace spectrum? I do not know.

Courtney: But Elijah does ask his hormone monsters like, [hesitantly] “Do you guys think I might enjoy…?” And they’re like, “Oh!” Pulling out all these very crass innuendos like, oh, yanking your crank, choking your chicken, squeezing the spinach out of Popeyes can. And Elijah doesn’t like it, doesn’t like these sayings. He straight up is like, “Masturbating, let’s just call it masturbating.” And honestly, Elijah? Yes, thank you, me too. I really do not like sexual slang, I really don’t. And that’s not an every ace thing, it’s definitely a some aces thing, it’s definitely a me ace thing. But there are– there are certain words, words and phrases, I don’t like them. I don’t like hearing them, I don’t like saying them. I’m so much more comfortable with the concept and discussion of sex sometimes than the actual words that are used. It’s a– it’s a very weird thing.

Courtney: But when he says like let’s just use the word masturbating, one of his hormone monsters is like, “Oh, masturbating? Looks like we’re doing it fancy, let me go get my top hat.” And he did, he went and got a top hat! So then the next scene, one of these hormone monsters is wearing a top hat and he’s like, “All right, there’s no pressure buddy, we’re only masturbating.” And he tips his top hat when he says that. And he’s like, “If you want to.” And Elijah says, “No, I do. I’m actually pretty curious about what all the fuss is about.” But he’s very uncomfortable with his hormone monsters watching. He straight up asks them to turn around, so they’re like facing a wall this entire time as they’re trying to coach him through what to do, one of them still wearing a top hat. So they’re like facing the corner and he goes to, like, squirt some lotion in his hand and one of them’s even like, “I hear you’re using a lot of lotion and that– that’s fine, but be careful.” And so you know, just awkwardly trying to coach him. But he starts and he’s like, “Guys. I think it’s working a little.”

Courtney: And I still have squeaky feelings about actually, like, watching a depiction of a 13 year old masturbate. I know 13 year olds do that. I know kids a lot younger than that do it. But I couldn’t help thinking so many other times, especially with the, like, main cast member and his cousin, with the actual seeing illustrations of these genitals of kids just going through puberty, and like all the things that they actually let us see. Like, you couldn’t do this live action, this could not be a live action show. And in fact the live action shows that we’ve critiqued – that are the sort of genre of sex show where it’s a very prominent theme – sometimes they’re even trying to do the education thing, like they use adults, they use actors over 18 to portray teenagers having sex. And it’s like, I know that legally that is an adult acting this out, but you’re telling me that this is a minor. And so like you’re able to get away with more legally and morally with animation. And we don’t actually see the genitals here, we just see the hand moving up and down under the blanket. So that is less than they have shown us for some other characters.

Courtney: But the sex monsters are all proud. They’re like, “Oh, he’s doing it.” And they’re like crying. But then Missy walks in on him. She– they were going to be hanging out, and she shows up early for some reason. Everyone freaks out and panics. He jumps up and slams the door shut, which ends up like hurting her nose. Her nose starts bleeding. For some reason she had a jar of raisins that she dropped and broke and scattered all over the place. And he comes out frantically apologizing and Missy’s like, “You were just masturbating.” And here’s another thing with the hormone monster. Missy’s hormone monster starts yelling at Elijah’s hormone monster saying, “I thought he was supposed to be asexual.” And so now I’m starting to think, now they’re just using the sex monsters to be the voice of audience members who really don’t get asexuality. Like this is purely for the audience’s benefit. This isn’t even– Like, I don’t know. The anger and the fury and the ignorance of this coming from one of these hormone monsters is just weird. And so they do the whole, like, “Well, you see, it turns out asexuals, not a monolith.” And she’s not having it. She’s, like, “Try to educate me right now and I will rip you in half.” So she doesn’t want to hear it, she doesn’t want to hear the Ace 101.

Courtney: And the two hormone monsters try to continue explaining like, “Well, you see, for him masturbating is not actually sexual.” And she’s like, “Oh so, those were just platonic moans. Huh? He’s just friends with his cock?” And it sort of intersplices the two kids talking with the three hormone monsters talking. They do a back and forth. And Elijah says, like, “Look, Missy, I’m just kind of experimenting.” And then Missy outright accuses him, says, “You’re a liar, you’re not asexual, you just don’t want to do anything sexy with me.” And then she starts crying and runs away again.

Courtney: He later comes to visit her. She’s, like, still crying in her bedroom. He comes and says, “Knock, knock.” And it’s like, “By the way, that’s that’s how you knock, just so you know.” And he apologizes to her, which I don’t think he needs to do. I don’t think he did anything wrong in this situation, but he does acknowledge at least, like, “I know walking in on that must have been really confusing. So I wanted to explain.”

Courtney: And she’s like, “What’s there to explain? I’d be horny for myself too if I had your screaming bod.” And he tries to explain like, “That’s the thing, I’m not horny. Even when I’m masturbating, I wasn’t. It was just like this tingly, pleasant feeling…?” Question mark. And her hormone monster seems super skeptical. So his hormone monsters are still trying to explain and it’s like, “No, no, he’s telling the truth. Jerking off wasn’t a sex thing for us. We weren’t thinking about people or parts of people, it was just relaxing.”

Courtney: And– and Missy seems to start coming around before her hormone monster does. She’s like, “Oh, so it’s non-sexual pleasure.” And he says, “Yeah, exactly! And with you I feel romantic pleasure, which is also non-sexual, but different.” And kind of lets on, like, “I’ve been trying to learn a lot about this, but this is still kind of hard to explain. I’m still kind of new to this.” And so they decide to show her the subreddits that they’ve been reading. They pull out the laptop and they both kind of get teleported into Reddit together.

Courtney: And so Elijah shows Missy the thread on masturbating and we see a few additional messages. Like, “I use my vibrator all the time, to me it just feels like a really nice scalp massage.” And to that Missy’s like, “Oh, I think I get it now. Scalp massages are great.” Snoo proclaims that there’s a million ways to be asexual and Missy says like, “Wow, I guess Reddit isn’t as toxic as people say.” And then we see another white genocide post. So it’s like, “Oh well, aside from the rampant bigotry, reddit’s actually pretty informational, huh?” And then a very endearing moment, as Missy’s sitting here on the laptop reading through this asexual subreddit, Elijah even says like, “I could give you a scalp massage while you’re reading.” And he, like, crawls up on the bed when she’s sitting on the floor and starts massaging her scalp. And it’s cute and I love it!

Courtney: And it’s– It’s just really not too often that we see, first of all, a media depiction of the challenges that can come from an ace-allo relationship, but we also don’t really see the depiction between like asexuals and their own body. Not all aces do masturbate, but some do and that is a very shocking, confusing thing for a lot of allo people to learn. And you don’t see a lot of media depictions of what masturbation might look like or feel like for an ace person or what it could mean. So, despite all my issues with the show as a whole, they are bringing a lot of refreshing education to the table.

Courtney: But then, for as good as that episode was to follow up Asexual Healing and to see the ups and downs of their relationship, we have episode five of season seven, only halfway through this most recent season, and the last episode that we have seen Elijah in to date.

Courtney: It starts with Caleb, who is in the school’s media club. So he’s like holding a camera recording Missy and she says, “It’s true, I’ve kissed my fair share of slimy frogs in middle school, but I finally met my prince, Elijah, with him by my side there’s nothing I can’t handle. Except maybe if we had a kid and it drowned. I can’t see us coming back from that. Is that too dark?” And Caleb’s like, “Yes.” And then we see Elijah alone at home on his computer and he gets an email from Du Bois Christian School for Christian Boys, and since we have never even heard that he’s trying to get into the school yet, the sex monsters need to use dialogue to be like, “Oh, that school you were trying to get in? But didn’t they have to put you on a waiting list?” Which is just like– Come on, if you’re gonna essentially kill off a character, like at least foreshadow it, so we know that you had a plan this whole time. I don’t know, it seemed very hamfisted to me.

Royce: Yeah, where was this in episode one, when they were all discussing high school?

Courtney: Exactly so. The letter’s like, “Dear Elijah, due to one of our students discovering there is no God, a spot in our freshman class has opened up and we’d like to offer it to you.” And so he starts celebrating, “Yay, I got into this school that I applied for.” But then has a moment of, “Oh no, but what about Missy? I promised her we’d be a team next year. How do I tell her this?” And so the hormone monster that is always coming up with horrible outlandish ideas is like, “Hear me out, you have a kid. It drowns. And then Du Bois seems like small potatoes compared to the trauma.” And he just sighs. I sigh, the audience sighs, everyone sighs. Because that was the extent of that joke. I don’t think they had a third beat on the drowning baby joke, and that was like back to back scenes pretty much.

Courtney: Missy says that out of the blue, his hormone monster says that out of the blue. There’s nothing connecting these two trails of thought. And before we even see him mention that he got into this school, Missy is like, “Oh, I’m going to really miss you when you’re at Bible camp this summer.” Also, we haven’t yet heard that he’s going to Bible camp this summer. And so he’s just sort of nervous, chuckling like, “Yeah, me too.” And one of his hormone monsters says, “Elijah, you gotta just blurt it out. And before she has a chance to say anything, pretend to get a phone call.” And he does exactly that. He tells her that he got into Du Bois Christian school and that he’s not going to the high school they toured together, and then immediately pulls out his phone. It’s like, [awkwardly] “Oh, I got to take this. Ha ha, Yep, it’s Elijah, you found me!” He’s a very bad liar, by the way.

Courtney: And then Mona and Missy start to lament, like, “Oh, but he was supposed to be our security blanket.” Which is also sort of an introduction to a new emotion by Missy, I think, because her main high school motivation was, “I want to be a high school couple together,” and she was so excited about being a couple together. But now all of a sudden it’s not. “Oh, we don’t get to be a high school couple.” It’s like, “Now I’m going to be nervous to go to school without him.” And he says, “I know we didn’t plan for this, but we can still be together. And it’s not that far away. It’s not that it’s in, like, a completely different area of the country or anything.” Because Missy straight up says, “How? Du Bois is like four Starbucks away from here!” And I don’t know how many Starbucks locations are in their city, but I’ve definitely seen areas where there are four Starbucks franchises, like, within a couple of miles. That is not uncommon. And he explains, “Well, we’ll still see each other after school. We can see each other every single day, we can do our homework together, we can go on dates on weekends.”

Courtney: And then she tries to do her whole, like, Bridgerton fantasy again. She’s like, “Well, maybe we could write long romantic letters to each other.” And being very cute and romantic and dorky like he is, Elijah like, goes and pretends to write a letter and goes, “Dear Missy, I know we can make this work.” And it’s a cute moment. And then Missy goes to her friend Jessi and starts explaining their plan where they’re not going to go to the same school but they’re still going to stay together, they’re going to write these letters. And she starts getting very, very overly romantic about it. Very performatively romantic. Like, “I’m going to add perfume to my stationery, like a wartime bride.”

Courtney: But her friend Jessi is just like, “Uh-uh…” Very unconvinced. And Missy notices the skepticism and gets really concerned. And so her hormone monster, like, takes Missy to a year in the future, when they’re both in high school. They’re a little bit taller, their hair is a little bit different. And it basically confirms like, “Oh, we haven’t actually been writing letters to each other. I was gonna, but I didn’t have a stamp.” And Missy’s just yelling at this ghost of her future self like, “Go get–! Send an email! Like there are so many other ways to stay in touch!”

Courtney: And they pass forward ten years into the future and, of course, the very first thing Missy notices, like, “Wow, my breasts are huge!” And she’s super excited about this. And she sees Elijah walking up and she’s like, “Oh good, we’re still together.” But then they aren’t still together. Elijah’s like, “Ah why– Missy, Missy Foreman-Greenwald , I haven’t seen you in so long.” And like, introduces her to his girlfriend. And they have this awkward, like, “I know this was a long time ago, but I did actually mean to send you a letter.” And Missy’s like, “Yeah, I meant to send you one too.” And in unison they just say, like, “I didn’t have stamps.” And so present tense Missy is like, “Has nobody heard of”

Courtney: And so she gets all upset that they don’t have this future together now. But her hormone monster is like, “Well, look at it this way, at least you have more time to dedicate to the twins.” And she’s like, “Are you talking about my boobs?” And she’s like, “Yes, I’m talking about your boobs.” [groans] I will just put my entire boobs episode as a cliff note to this for my feelings, because I can’t get into all that right now, or else this will have to be like a four parter. And so then they have this really sad moment at their, like, middle school graduation, where she asks if he’ll FaceTime her at Bible camp and he’s like, “Oh, we’re not allowed to have phones.” And she said, “Well, do you– Do you have stamps? We could write letters.” And he said, “No, I don’t have stamps, but I can get some.”

Courtney: And then all three of the hormone monsters are like crying in the corner watching this happen and they’re like, “We all know nobody’s getting any stamps right? Is this it? Are they done?” And everyone’s like, “Yep, I’m afraid so.” And like, very sad moment. And they’re like, “Well, it’s been a pleasure working with you. And you’ve got such a little gentleman there.” And one of his hormone monsters is like, “And you got a real sweet girl yourself.” And then his two hormone monsters just start yelling at each other, like one calls the other a perv. They’re like– He’s like, “I don’t understand, are you not allowed to call girls sweet anymore? What did I do wrong?” And they’re just yelling at each other. One’s like, “Christ sakes, you’re ruining the goddamn moment. You’re such a sicko.” And it’s like– Why? That argument had nothing to do with anything. They were all just teary eyed.

Courtney: And it cuts back to these kids and they’re like, “I’ll see in September.” “Yeah sure.” And they’re both very sad and they hug each other, looking sad. They say goodbye to each other. He kisses Missy on the cheek. And after he walks away, she starts crying. And so I guess they broke up. But they broke up without breaking up. There wasn’t a proper communication around it.

Courtney: And the hormone monster for Missy is like, “Dome on, let’s– Like onward and upward into the future, where your boobies are even bigger than your dreams.”

Courtney: And so it ends on this, like, slightly uplifting moment for her, and it goes through this, like, photo montage of moments from middle school where we’ll see, like, snapshots of some of the main cast members. And these memories that they had as part of this graduation. And Elijah was not in any of the photos. And we never saw him again.

Courtney: So look, yeah, there were some decently done nuances that we don’t see a lot as far as ace rep on a major streaming show like this very often, but he became a character because Missy was sexually attracted to him. Missy either lied or did not have the self-awareness to be fully transparent about her feelings on his asexuality, which resulted in her snapping at him multiple times, which they also never resolved. They just sort of dropped it and pretended everything was fine again until this breakup not a breakup happened, and then, as soon as they did breakup, he’s just gone. We don’t get to follow him to Du Bois Christian School for Christian Boys.

Royce: At least not in this season.

Courtney: Not for the remaining several episodes of this season. We don’t see how he feels about this moment. And, like, I don’t need this to be a happy ending, I don’t need this mixed orientation relationship to work, because sometimes it doesn’t work. Like with all relationships, sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t need it to work, but I need you to at least follow the asexual character and show us that he does in fact have a future outside of this relationship too.

Royce: You mentioned, it was odd in this show that he got his very own episode with hormone monsters, which is not done very frequently. [Courtney agrees] So you mentioned it was kind of this implication that he was maybe getting bumped up into, like, main cast sort of. Even though– even in this season he wasn’t present in every episode. It was– it was a mix here and there. But even that revolved around his relationship with Missy. Like that took place during that arc.

Courtney: Yes. And so– I really wanted him to be his own person outside of this relationship, and in so many ways he wasn’t. And the show isn’t really, currently– And I mean, if the next season, if season eight comes out and Elijah has his own arc at this own different school, and we see him again, I’ll eat my hat. But they just dropped him. They were like, you served our purpose, we taught people what asexuality is, so now we’re banishing you to the realm of Christian Boys because you’re done here. You did what we wanted. It didn’t demonstrate a desire to do right by this character to give him a fulfilling arc, removed from this allosexual main character.

Courtney: So that’s why I can’t fully justify saying, like, this was fabulous asexual representation because of that treatment of his character. Even though there were many good elements in between.

Courtney: And even though we never see him again, there are a couple of like, just super, super brief mentions. Like in episode seven of this season, Missy is still very much lamenting the loss of this relationship. She’s like, “Oh, 6:45 PM. This is usually when Elijah starts reducing his blue light intake before bed.” Like clearly thinking about him just going about her day. In episode eight, Missy mentions being on the rebound when they’re at a party with some older guys, and she’s expressing excitement about all the possibilities. It doesn’t go over very well. She doesn’t end up hooking up with a guy. She does have some passing flirtations before he realizes that they aren’t immediately going to jump into bed together and then he goes off to some other girls. And Missy has this hilarious line, one-off line, that I love. She’s like, “So, yeah, I thought maybe I was ready to hook up at a high school party, but now I’m thinking all men should be in jail.” And that’s just very scorned 14 year old of her. I love it, I do.

Courtney: But then in episode nine, I mentioned in our last episode that on top of these hormone monsters they very intermittently and unequally try to use these other metaphors for cognitive phenomenon. And Missy gets an anxiety mosquito. And she’s at the mall with her friend Jess who, like, leaves to go investigate something else real quick, and her anxiety mosquito blows this out of proportion and just says, “She’s abandoning you, just like Elijah.” And then at that point, after the anxiety mosquito says, “Elijah abandoned you,” her anxiety starts spiraling out of control and turns into this big, sludgy, dread monster. And this dread monster comes over her so hard that she does not even want to go to high school anymore.

Courtney: And in season 10, the final episode– And in episode 10, the final episode, Missy talks to her parents after trying to fake sick so that she didn’t have to go in, and her parents kind of call her out on that. She talks to them and they decide to homeschool her. And at that moment her, like, dread monster subsides and she’s feeling more relaxed. But of course her hormone monster is, like, expressing concerns about, like, “But what about the lack of boys you’ll be exposed to?” And you know, “Who are you going to be able to do sex stuff with?” Like the delivery guy, and Missy’s like, “Oh no, we don’t have any chemistry!” Because that’s the more important thing. Instead of like, any delivery driver is gonna literally be an adult. But brushing past that. And so we not only have Elijah just gone, we don’t know what his life is outside of Missy, he might never return to the show again. They’re framing this in Missy’s mind also as Elijah abandoned you and caused these big spiraling issues that now you can’t even go to high school, because you’re so overwhelmed and anxious.

Courtney: And like, I know, things like anxiety and dread can sometimes be illogical, they can sometimes be misplaced, so I don’t want to discredit that being a possibility here, but they still never really meaningfully addressed her not actually being okay with his asexuality. She snapped at him and got short and they didn’t actually resolve that in a meaningful way. So it’s also like Elijah abandoned you, but also like you were kind of shitty to him! You told him you were okay with his asexuality, and not having sex and waiting and taking things slow, but you treated him poorly out of resentment because you didn’t actually mean what you said. And so since Elijah isn’t here, and we aren’t seeing his point of view and we aren’t seeing how he’s progressing or growing outside of this relationship, that’s the audience’s default perspective here now. So that’s my biggest issue of how they handled all of this.

Royce: So one more thing about the show we said we’d talk about a bit more was Caleb. And the second to last episode in the seventh season, Panic At The Mall, a big part of that episode focuses on Caleb and Matthew, mostly at the mall. This episode starts because Caleb and Matthew are pretty good friends. Matthew is Caleb’s closest friend. They do the morning announcements together at school, but shifting to high school, this is going to end as Matthew joins the choir. And so, Caleb being upset about this, Matthew tries to find something that they can do together as friends and they start setting up a weekly coffee.

Courtney: Every week, except the third Saturday of the month, because that is when Caleb has Map club.

Royce: Map club, very important.

Courtney: Yes, he likes maps. Yeah well, Caleb’s backpack breaks when he’s at home and he absolutely panics about this because it’s his security object. So he’s got these anxiety mosquitoes buzzing around that his backpack broke. But Caleb’s also got a logic rock, which he’s the only character who has this, right?

Royce: Yeah, instead of a hormone monster.

Courtney: Well, he has a hormone monster too. But whenever his hormone monster– And it’s Maury too, it’s like one of the main two hormone monsters. But every time this main hormone monster comes up to try to just, like, say something crass out of the blue, Caleb is like, “Save it for 8:30, Maury. That is the time when I masturbate.” And so he’s constantly just, like, shooing his sex monster away. But he has this logic rock who’s like helping him make lists, helping him develop plans, sort of feeding him information on, like, social cues and social expectations that Caleb isn’t intuitively picking up on on his own. And so Caleb and his logic rock craft this plan along with his mom, who came in and saw that the backpack broke. They decide on this plan, “We’re going to go to the mall after coffee and we’re going to do things in this order, we’re going to avoid this store, that’s a sensory nightmare for me, and then we’re going to celebrate with like pretzels at the end.” And so, ”Great, we have a plan, we know what we’re doing. I feel better now.”

Courtney: But at coffee Matthew’s talking about, “Oh, I need to get a new look before high school.” And he’s like, “Well, Caleb, you’re really honest, you’re incredibly blunt, you’re exactly the kind of opinion I need for my new wardrobe.” And so Caleb’s little logic rock is pulling out like a Friendship For Dummies kind of a book and is like, “Well, you should help your friend with this thing,” and here is what like– Here is how to friendship, here is what you should do. And he really panics at the idea of deviating from the plan, which was: go to coffee, then go to the mall with his mom. But it’s a slight enough change that he’s able to rationalize, “Okay, maybe this is fine. I’ll still go to the mall and get my backpack, but I’m going with my friend instead of my mom, and I’m going to help him shop.”

Royce: But that didn’t happen.

Royce: No… They get to the mall and everything goes wrong. Because not only have they already deviated from the original plan, but the backpack he’s looking for is not there, because he wants the exact same backpack. It is his security object. He likes the texture, he likes the organization, he likes the color.

Royce: Yeah, and the only thing at the store are newer models, or different models I should say.

Courtney: Yes. And so he does the whole, like, “Oh, minor deviations become major deviations.” And then all hell breaks loose and has this like escalating anxiety this whole time. And Matthew tries to comfort him. Matthew is, as a character, Matthew is in, like, voice and mannerisms of very, like, stereotypical gay kid. Sort of the, like, lightly caddy, lightly bitchy, sort of, like, absolutely watches RuPaul’s Drag Race kind of a gay kid. And I think they even called that out at one time. He meets a gay elder at one point in a previous episode who kind of, like, outright tells him like, “You don’t have to be so bitchy,” like you don’t have to act this way. But he is very sensitive to Caleb’s needs in particular and he says, “You know, I don’t know what the answer is, but we’ll figure something out. Let’s go get pretzels at the food court.”

Courtney: And Caleb is distraught about this because these are unearned pretzels. We were supposed to earn these pretzels after acquiring a new backpack. But he concedes. And Matthew is, like, scrolling through his phone and sees a picture of his new high school friend at like a thrift store on Instagram, and it appears as though a version of the backpack they’re looking for is in the background of this. So Caleb gets all excited. Matthew’s like, “All right, let’s go to this place. I just looked up where it is. It’s not too far from here.”

Courtney: And they get there and find out that it wasn’t his backpack. It just looked awfully similar. But not only that, it’s got these, like, fluorescent lights that are now way too bright. There are these teenage girls who are there who are talking way too loud. And so you see these anxiety mosquitoes just get worse and worse and worse, building up and buzzing around. And I loved this. Like, this is how I want you to do metaphors if you’re playing with these anthropomorphic cognitive concepts. The anxiety mosquitoes pick up the logic rock and literally chuck him out the window. [laughs] I love it.

Royce: Yeah, I think they did a good job of trying to depict various kinds of sensory overload here. And Matthew, noticing some of this, steps in to try to help resolve some of it.

Courtney: Yeah, in a very sweet moment, Caleb had run out of the store and Matthew comes and sits down and sort of, like, asks if it’s all right to put his hand on his shoulder, which he agrees to, and he sort of says like, “All right, walk me through what’s going on. What’s the problem?” And also, “If we can’t at all find your old backpack, let’s try to find the next best thing. What did you like about it?” And so Matthew walks back into the shop and, like friend of the year, pays the loud girls $20 to fuck off, just outright, asks them to leave, asked the store to turn the lights down and then brings Caleb back in. And Caleb’s like, “Yes, this is now tolerable for me.” And he gets sort of a list of things in order of importance that his old backpack had. So Matthew’s like pulling other bags and Caleb admits that he liked the color because people always noticed it. And Matthew’s like, “Oh, you like to be noticed!” And Caleb’s like, “Yes, but don’t tell anyone.” And he ends up pulling like a teddy bear backpack, which is just kind of cute, and Caleb’s like, “I want to have some sex appeal.” And so he pulls like a messenger bag, like a good sturdy leather bag and Caleb immediately likes it. He opens it up. It has, like, all the organizational things that he liked about his old backpack. And so it’s just a very cute endearing moment. And I love the two of them.

Courtney: This was such a good, like, relationship between these two friends that wasn’t constantly being interrupted by very intrusive sex monsters. And Matthew starts trying on some new clothes and Caleb is very blunt, like, his logic rock is sitting there like, “According to friendship for dummies, you should be honest with your friends.” And so he’s like, “You look bad.” And then Matthew’s like, “Ouch?!” And then logic rock is flipping through and he’s like, “Oh no, it says you should only be honest unless it’ll make them feel bad!” And it’s actually Caleb who ends up finding an outfit that, like, really works for Matthew. And Matthew’s like, “Caleb, are you a fashion genius?” And he’s like, “Yes.” And it’s very good. I like the depiction of sensory overload, the logic rock, the anxiety mosquitoes working in tandem with the logic rock here. There’s even a moment where the mosquitoes get a little too loud, and before they get so loud that they’re literally throwing logic out the window, the logic rock is like, “Remember your breathing exercises, remember what we do when this situation gets bad.” So I did really like that. But these two characters are just so endearing.

Courtney: But Andrew Rannells, playing this character. Andrew, Andrew. Listen, like, last year I came across like a 22 year old bootleg of Pokémon, The Musical, which I did not know existed. Nobody told me that there was a Pokémon musical in, like, the year 2000. And as I watched this thing, I just kept getting more and more shocked and astonished the whole time. First of all, it opens by saying, like, “Presented by, the safe and secure private internet for kids.” And it’s like smoking is prohibited in the building. Remember when you could smoke in a lot of buildings unless they specifically told you otherwise? And they tell you to turn off all pagers. Oh! It’s such a blast from the past. They definitely thought they were, like, super cutting edge because they were also mentioning, like, a website you could go to to get your diamond badge. And like I’m pretty sure I pulled up the URL and absolutely some scammers have bought that URL, since they must have known that this bootleg was going around, because it’s like definitely a virus now.

Courtney: And they were– They were leaning on all these fan theories about, like, Ash’s mom and Professor Oak being an item. Which maybe some of those fan theories came as a result of this show. Like I don’t know the order that this happened in. And like– The show I saw a recording of was at Radio City and the way that this Ash was dancing was downright disrespectful to the Rockettes. And let me tell you, I mean, if I– if any takeaways from this episode, it’s going to be, instead of watching all seven seasons of Big Mouth, you should just track down this now 23 year old bootleg of Pokémon, The Musical. This is my new goal, and I hope you’ll all stay with me for this, because this is very important.

Courtney: Most of the songs were just songs, like, from the cartoon or the songs that they would play after the anime. So, like if you ever watched Pokémon in the year 2000, you know most of the songs from the musical already. Not all of them. They had a couple of original ones. But they had like Pikachu pyrotechnics going on live. It was very fascinating. And, like, I am a dancer, I am a choreographer, I was a dance teacher for many, many years. If you are in any way a dancer, or if you were a dancer in and around the year 2000, I can’t explain it to you, but the choreography is just the most 2000s thing that I have ever seen in my life.

Courtney: They had these Pokémon puppets. They were all fantastic, big like Lion King-esque puppets, like huge stage presence puppets. They all looked beautiful, probably except for Squirtle. But after seeing all of the puppets come on, I was like, they’ve got to do the Pokérap for the curtain call. Because they have all these puppets here just swarming around the stage, so they’ve got to bring them back for the Pokérap. But even though the puppets were so good, there were some, like– I promise this is relevant to Andrew Rannells, but I have to rant about the disproportionately sized Geodude. It was too big! Who authorized a Geodude of this size? It was bigger than the Zapdos puppet that they had. That is despicable. But then we get the most beautiful stage villain duo of all time, Team Rocket, Jessie and James. James, to my shock and horror and delight, was a young Andrew Rannells.

Royce: In his touring stage debut, I believe.

Courtney: His touring stage debut. Andrew Rannells – whom I did not expect to see on this stage going into this bootleg – of Book of Mormon fame, got his start as flippin’ James Rocket in Pokémon, The Musical. And listen. I went out as a result of watching this bootleg of Pokémon, The Musical and I purchased Andrew Rannells autobiography on a hope and a prayer that he was going to talk about this in that book. And gosh darn it, he did. And he apparently hated the entire experience. It was an awful situation for him. He did not even want to play this character because he thought it was a negative gay stereotype. James Rocket. Queer icon. Flamboyant crossdresser. Crossdresser to the point of US censorship. They cut out a scene where he had inflatable boobs just for American audiences.

Royce: In the Pokémon anime, not in the musical.

Courtney: In the anime, yes, yes. Jessie and James are such, like, they’re a queer duo. They are an iconic queer duo. They are both some amount of genderqueer. They are both gay. There is just something so deliciously queer villain about them. And Andrew Rannells is like, “I don’t even want to play James Rocket on this stage for Pokémon the Musical because this is a gay stereotype and it is going to give kids the wrong idea about gay people.” And yet how many– how many queer children in that audience had their queer awakening upon seeing James Rocket, either on their TVs or on that stage that day? I ask you. So 17 years later, Andrew Rannells is playing Matthew on Big Mouth?! And this kid isn’t a gay stereotype? This kid isn’t too gay for you? Isn’t too flamboyant? Wasn’t– What even was that movie? I feel like I’m getting flashbacks of Andrew Rannells also being in a horrible movie where he also just played like gay musical theater. Was he in The Prom?

Royce: Yes.

Courtney: That’s– yes. So he’s in The Prom, he’s playing the gay kid on Big Mouth. And I will not stand for this James Rocket slander, this James Rocket defamation. But also like, he’s a good stage performer. So he was a fabulous James Rocket, it was very good. But I’m watching this very grainy video and it eventually occurs to me like, “Wait a hot second, I know him.” But then Pokémon, The Musical is so accidentally very queer and so also accidentally like an integral part of musical theater history now that Andrew Rannells got his start as James. Because I’m also listening to, like, they have a Meowth right? But the voice sounds spot on for the cartoon. So I’m wondering if they had the same voice. And in googling if it was the same voice, I found out that Meowth was voiced by an intersex trans woman in the American dub. And I just had no idea about this fabulous moment of queer history.

Courtney: This is probably the first trans and/or– and probably intersex voice, that like an entire generation of children heard on their television sets and I’m mad that I didn’t know this sooner. But yeah, I mean, look her up. I hope I don’t– I didn’t check the pronunciation of her last name, but like Maddie Blaustein, Blostein? Fabulous, amazing, love it.

Courtney: But like everything, everything about this show, like, I was just on the edge of my seat grinning ear to ear this entire time because even the bad elements were fascinating and wonderful and delicious. Like Giovanni had this very, like, early 2000s boy band vibe for backup dancers, and somehow it fit perfectly. James did make a “don’t ask, don’t tell” joke, like he actually said that in the year 2000. And boy, that hit me like a sack of bricks. But otherwise, like so many other things you’d expect from a Pokémon musical of that era. Like Brock was there hitting on all the women. They slapped him as well they should, but unfortunately he kind of liked that. So eh… It was just so– [sighs] So many confusing elements. They had a Psyduck that, like, walked across the stage occasionally for a scene transition, but not between every scene, just some of them, but it was also only a Psyduck. I don’t know why. They had so many Pokemon puppets.

Courtney: They had Ash’s mom and Professor Oak singing a duet with, like, contemporary dancers dancing in the background. Very odd choice. There were a couple super uncomfortable moments. Like I can’t prove, I don’t know for a fact, but I wouldn’t put it past the year 2000, like, I was watching this going like, “Did– Did Brock darken his skin for this role? I can’t tell. The video is a little too grainy.” But there was definitely, like, a Deaf character who came up and did not use sign language, just gestured vaguely and almost certainly was not actually sign language.

Courtney: I was very upset that they, like, gave Misty a love song for Ash. Because I just absolutely refuse to see them as being in love. I don’t know if it’s the nugget of aromanticism in me or if it’s like– The only reason why she’s traveling with him is because he owes her a bike. He ruined her bike. They had a Mew puppet flying around during the love song, which I don’t know why Mew is here. They just wanted to make that puppet, I guess.

Courtney: But I also found really funny that these kids in this audience, like, have they never seen a stage play before? They were like not reacting at all. They were like not applauding. It was a very tough crowd.

Courtney: But this is like look, this is my gripe with Andrew Rannells specifically talking about like, oh, James is a gay stereotype. There was a number where– I think we can all agree that Team Rocket, like, steals every scene they’re ever in, whether it’s a movie or a TV episode or the stage show. They do like the Team Rocket tango, which is a very loose definition of tango here, but Jessie dipped James, like they gender queered the dance that they were doing. He even, like– He tried to lift Jessie after that and like couldn’t, he couldn’t lift her. Like she’s the one doing these strength based moves. And honestly, like that’s– it’s a gender subversion, sure, in the year 2000, we might have referred to that as feminism. It was– I don’t know what to say. I think you should all probably just go find a bootleg of the show. A very historic moment, an integral, often underlooked moment in queer history.

Courtney: Also just very weird. They dropped the bombshell that, like, they had a mecha-Mewtwo. They were hinting at, like, Giovanni being Ash’s dad. There was a rapping Pokédex. They even tried to, like, ask the kids in the audience questions during this like Pokédex rap, which is a very risky move with children. It’s a very risky move with a live audience at all. But like one kid said, like, “My dad is a Snorlax.” And another kid’s like, “What Pokémon is your mom?” And this kid’s like, “A Krabby.” And another kid’s like oh– They ask another kid like, “What kind of Pokémon is your brother?” And he’s like, “Slowbro.” And I was like, drag them! [laughs] Drag them, children! Read your family members to filth. [laughs] This is the drama we’re here for. Better than any reading challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. [laughs]

Courtney: But then I mean, you’ve got the standard like– So, Brock had this very, like, ‘two perfect girls for me’ song, which the framing of it was quite misogynistic coming from Brock. But I’d argue that that song walked so that Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers could run with ‘the right number of boys for you is more’. So, truly, Pokémon, The Musical opening doors for everyone. I genuinely– genuinely could go on about this for hours, but I will not do that to you. And I will not do that to Royce, who needs to edit these episodes. And I will not do that to our transcribers. But I will absolutely [breathy laughs] put some links in the show notes for you because my word– Including some, like, on YouTube, there are commercials advertising Pokémon live so you can see like Andrew Rannells and James’s, like, eyebrows and wig and like up close. It’s horrible and wonderful and beautiful.

Courtney: But after that whole tangent. Big Mouth takeaways, yeah. So even the things they did well, I am not going to give the producers of the show the credit for it, I think. Given the fact that they had no intention of putting in an asexual character until they talked to a class of students who asked them why they don’t have an ace character, paired with the fact that they did get very well respected consultants for the character. Last episode, I mentioned Shari B. Ellis, I mentioned Ace Los Angeles. We’ll put some resources for them down in the show notes as well. In fact, the book Ace Notes: Tips and Tricks for Existing in an Allo World – which we have discussed before, we even interviewed the author, Michele Kirichanskaya, if you haven’t listened to that episode yet – it has an interview with Shari in it.

Courtney: I’d say that truly, all of the credit goes to the people who advocated for a character with this orientation, the people who consulted on the character with this orientation, and definitely not the writers who completely dropped the character as soon as we were all educated on asexuality.

Courtney: And again, we’ll be tentatively waiting to see if Elijah does make a reemergence in season eight, but I am not holding my breath for it. So, friends, I have my trusty gavel here and I will officially say that Big Mouth is a mixed bag. There were good moments, bad moments, a pretty nice individual character arc, but the overall treatment of the character and the orientation as a whole in the grand scheme of all seven episodes we’ve been given, not quite up to par. But we see and recognize and appreciate the improvement. And I am almost certainly not going to watch any of season eight unless I do get word that Elijah has returned. So on that note, thank you all here for being with us today. Thank you for sticking through for two whole episodes of Big Mouth. Do all the things, like, comment, subscribe, rating, review, whatever it is that you do, and probably don’t watch Big Mouth, but probably definitely do watch Pokémon, The Musical. Adjourned. [hits gavel]