Fans of the show “Big Mouth” got quite a surprise last week when it was announced that Jenny Slate would no longer be voicing the mixed-race character of Missy Foreman-Greenwald, but series co-creators, Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, tell us that it was actually Slate who first brought up reservations about playing the role. “After the George Floyd murder and protests and the rise in sort of a reckoning for how our country’s dealing with race and issues inside of that, Jenny approached us about her discomfort in playing the role,” Kroll tells us in our recent webchat (watch the video above). He elaborates that after talking at length with Slate as well as with the show’s black writers that they agreed it was time for a change. Goldberg adds, “I think that conversation was super compelling because it was people who we knew really cared about Missy as a character very much and loved what Jenny created, but still felt it was the right thing to do.”
“Big Mouth,” which airs on Netflix, centers around a group of middle schoolers who are going through the ravages of puberty. The two central characters, Nick (voiced by Kroll) and Andrew (John Mulaney) are based on Kroll and Goldberg from when they were friends as kids. In the show’s first two seasons, it managed to break into the Emmy race on several levels. In 2018 it scored a nomination for Best Music & Lyrics for the original song “Totally Gay,” and last year it broke into the Best Animated Program category for the episode “The Planned Parenthood Show.”
Goldberg also reveals that the show’s upcoming fourth season will not be delayed by the ongoing pandemic, mainly because the season was almost completed by the time people started sheltering-in-place. The pandemic has created some hardships in getting Season 5 off the ground. “We were in the middle of the season five writers’ room when we moved to Zoom. You don’t have the energy that you get sitting in a room with 10 other people laughing together, getting droplets on each other,” he explains. There have also been challenges with getting recordings of actors’ voices but Goldberg gives the crew a huge amount of credit for being able to transfer their work to their home and keep going.
The two also tease about what we can expect to see in the fourth season. “Season 3 ends with them graduating seventh grade and season four picks up in the summer, so for the first time ever in our show, we get to see what goes on during summer. We have a little bit more of a thematic through line this season,” Goldberg says likening it to the concept of the Shame Wizard from Season 2. He also teases a new creature which will engage with the kids. All Kroll will say about it is, “I think the creature will feel oddly relevant to where we are right now.”
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