Nick Kroll’s Big Mouth spin-off, Human Resources, starts slow, but it becomes almost as hilarious and relatable as its predecessor once it finds its footing.
This review of the Netflix animated series Human Resources season 1 does not contain spoilers.
When Nick Kroll first created Big Mouth in 2017, what seemed to be a vulgar animated affair turned out to be… just that, a vulgar animated affair. Except, something about Big Mouth was different than other animated shows of this nature: South Park, Family Guy, etc. Big Mouth was as hard-hitting on the vulgarity as it was on the relatability with the audience. Any teenager going through puberty or adult thinking back on this time could see themselves in these characters.
In his new Netflix show, Human Resources, Kroll and company move away from the humans as the focal point and make the show primarily about the monsters that control their every emotion. The monsters that have become a staple for the show are here including Maury (Nick Kroll), Connie (Maya Rudolph), Depression Kitty, and Shame Wizard (David Thewlis), while also introducing Lovebugs, Logic Rocks, and a whole community more of emotional monsters. While this show might have some focus on all of the monsters and their individual lives, the main focus of this show is Junior Lovebug Emmy (Aidy Bryant) as she is thrust into the main Lovebug role for a pregnant mother. Emmy has to learn what it means to be a Lovebug both for her new human, Becca, and in her own life.
As this show begins, there is a clear difference between this and Big Mouth, and it comes in the form of relatability. This show just isn’t as relatable from a character standpoint as what Big Mouth was, even though that’s what they try to push. There is a clear attempt, especially earlier on in the show, to find some common ground between the audience and the characters. However, one of the things that worked so well in Big Mouth that doesn’t work at the start of this show is the human interactions with the resources.
You get interactions between the resources and the humans that try to make the show relatable from a human aspect, similar to Big Mouth. It just doesn’t work in a shared experience kind of way. When it moves away from how the humans are affected by the resources and begin to display how the resources are affected by the humans, it begins to find itself. This small change allows the show to flourish a little more.
With Nick Kroll still leading this show, the humor is definitely there. It is not as fleshed out as in Big Mouth, but it still works on a belly-laughing shock level. The humor isn’t as consistent, but I still found myself laughing quite a bit through the back half of the show. Once the focus of the show really gets on the interactions between the monsters themselves, the humor is able to really shine in such a great way.
This show isn’t solely humorous, Kroll also is able to find some heart in this world of monsters and humans. This is done in a way that even Big Mouth hasn’t touched on. If this show is wanting to survive, it has to keep pushing itself to be more “adult” in its content. Towards the back half of the show, there is a larger focus on more adult themes and situations. In the penultimate episode “It’s Almost Over,” Kroll and company get to a more depressing side of the show where the humor is tossed aside for grief and loss. This episode comes out of nowhere, and if you’re not prepared it can catch you off guard, but I think this is one that shows the true promise of where this show can go. Even if it might not be as relatable as Big Mouth throughout, Human Resources proves it can still find a message, maybe even a more adult one, for everyone.
Nick Kroll’s Big Mouth spin-off, Human Resources, starts slow, but once it finds its footing it becomes almost as hilarious and relatable as its predecessor. The group of voice actors, new and old, all do their best to bring these characters to life and give these personalities a personality. If Kroll can continue the trajectory set during the back half of the season into a potential second season, I think this could be a quality rival to Big Mouth.
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