Come on big mouth smile on your brother, cartoni come big mouth, serie tv come big mouth big mouth comebacks. But Missy is more than a modern-day answer to Lisa Simpson—precocious, compassionate, led by a strong moral compass. She’s also an innocent little nerd whose breathless, high-pitched voice belies the hormonal pre-teen within. Her budding sexuality outpaces her physical development; she’s frequently masturbating this season, even though she still has the body of a child. Repressed girls like her tend to be the butt of jokes in TV series and movies—like Alyson Hannigan’sflute-playing character in the American Pie films. But rather than making fun of Missy’s juvenile explorations of sexuality—she masturbates with her favorite childhood toy, a stuffed worm, in an act her family calls “worm dancing”—Big Mouthtreats her experimentation as completely normal, if shameful when enacted, say, at a giant sleepover held in the school’s gym.
So, yes: Missy isn’t perfect. She can have trouble reading social cues; she’s a bit of a narc; she suffers from serious insecurities voiced by a vile alter ego who stands in the mirror and won’t let her forget them. “You look like a boy!” her cruel reflection yells. “Jeez, Louise. Your chest is concave; it’s like a spoon! . . . You look like an under-stuffed scarecrow in those Baby Gap overalls! . . . News flash: nobody wants to see that bummer of a body! Cover it up, you sock puppet!” All of which, of course, only makes her more painfully relatable.
Despite all that, Missy prevails—and has a preternatural sensitivity that helps her guide her even more clueless friends. She’s the first one this season to realize that troubled Jessi—who’s started shoplifting as a way of acting out after her parents’ contentious separation—needs help, before any of their male friends even catch on that something is wrong. It’s also Missy who responds with care and sensitivity when she learns that her ex-boyfriend, Andrew, once ejaculated in his pants while dancing with her. (“I just can’t believe I drove you to climax,” she says after regaining her composure