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Netflix's Human Resources is both mature and more emotional than Big Mouth

  • "The idea of personifying parts of the human experience, the urges and impulses that make us human, is a time-worn tradition; since time immemorial human beings have given living form to feelings, urges, and vibes, telling stories about gods and demons that convinced, helped, or tricked us into action," says Kevin Fox, Jr. "Netflix’s Big Mouth applied that concept to the experience of going through puberty, with the writers working out some of their past experiences through the lens of what they imagine it might be like for today’s youth. But new series Human Resources, a spinoff of Big Mouth, is both more mature and more emotional. It also mostly deals with the interior lives of adults." Fox adds: "While Big Mouth could be thoughtful and touching, no episodes of that show have come close to the power of the penultimate episode of Human Resources’ first season, which is a meditation on love and loss with special guest Henry Winkler playing the living sweater, Keith from Grief. My eyes don’t water for much that isn’t allergies, and the times entertainment has misted them could likely be counted on two hands, if not one, and this cartoon pulled it off."


    • Human Resources forgets to embrace the charms that made Big Mouth so much fun: "Over its five seasons, Big Mouth has come to feel like a knowing, older friend," says Kayla Cobb. "Its unerring frankness about the awkwardness of puberty paired with its humor has always driven "home the same message: Life is weird and hard, but you’ll survive. That’s the message I hoped Human Resources would broaden to explore other parts of the human experience. There is certainly a bit of that as well as some great jokes, but both are buried under messiness. Human Resources seems so concerned with nailing down the rules of its bizarre world of Lovebugs and Hormone Monsters that it often forgets to embrace the charms that made its predecessor so much fun." Cobb adds: "Human Resources is by no means a bad show. If you love Big Mouth, it has the same humor and characters that first made you a fan. But it’s also not a show that lives up to its full potential."
    • Human Resources feels like it's taking the opposite approach of Big Mouth: "The first 10 episodes swiftly introduce dozens of characters, both monsters and humans, without anything resembling clarity on where the focus or heart of the series is supposed to be," says Daniel Fienberg. "The result is a show that’s pretty consistently hilarious, if you like the deranged thing Big Mouth does, but inconsistently involving on the emotional levels that make Big Mouth so special."
    • Human Resources expands on Big Mouth’s original premise of "what if we could anthropomorphize and dramatize the emotions of puberty?": " This new show ages that notion up, applying similar principles to the emotions that follow us into adulthood," says Rebecca Landman. "By refocusing its narrative lens on its most interesting characters — the monsters and creatures like Hormone Monsters, Shame Wizards, Love Bugs, Depression Kitties, Ambition Gremlins, etc. this animated comedy delivers a funnier, randier, more dynamic narrative than its predecessor. While its jokes may tend toward this universe’s well-tread raunchy lane, by delving further into the humanity of these Hormone Monsters and creatures, Human Resources shines a light on the persistent complexities of navigating our embarrassing, infuriating, horny mortal lives."
    • Human Resources is all monsters all the time, with non-stop jokes about d*cks, orgasms, role play, and butt stuff: "Your mileage on this may vary, and as a viewer you may already know how much tolerance you have for an episode-long riff on the Rocky saga performed with sentient penises," says Chelsea Steiner. "Big Mouth often falls into the trap of beating its most popular characters into the ground, like Coach Steve or Rick the Hormone Monster (both voiced by Kroll), and Human Resources doubles down on assuming we’re invested in the relationship drama between Maury and Connie. But it’s the newer characters Like Pete and Emmy who end up being the most compelling."
    • Human Resources is worth watching, but it takes a long time to get going: "The series starts with familiar monsters Maury and Connie, then quickly shoves them out of the way to introduce Emmy’s avoidance issues," says Karama Horne. "As a result, we spend a lot of time waiting for Emmy to connect with, well, anyone other than herself, which is time that could have been spent fleshing out different characters. If you’ve never seen Big Mouth, some of the humor may be lost on you, but if you’ve been waiting for this show since it was announced in 2019, then Human Resources does not disappoint. Just be patient."
    • Co-creator Nick Kroll on why Big Mouth needed a spinoff: “Big Mouth is so much about puberty and adolescence," he says. "It’s really an exercise in investigating what kids are up to today or looking back at what our experiences were at that point,” Kroll says. “A major impetus for doing Human Resources was for us to be able to explore all of these other major focal points of life, like giving birth and then postpartum depression, or having an aging parent or grandparent going through dementia, or going to college and whether you stay together with your girlfriend or not.”

    TOPICS: Human Resources, Netflix, Big Mouth, Nick Kroll