Review by Adam Donato
Big Mouth is known for its crudeness and in-depth sexual conversation. Human Resources makes Big Mouth look tame. This spinoff was pitched as Big Mouth meets The Office as we focus on the workplace happenings of all the fantastical monsters. Their job is to bring their talents to aid their clients through the human condition. It’s an ambitious concept, but is it too saturated for its own good?
Cars 2 is widely regarded as the worst Pixar movie. A common pitfall of franchises is the spinoff about the comedic side character. Without the straight man, there is no balance for the comedy to work. If everybody is zany, then nobody is. The interesting part of Big Mouth is the monster’s impact on the children characters that we care about. The kids are much more relatable than the monsters, who are so abstract that it’s hard to care about them.
Human Resources features a small collection of humans, but that’s also part of the problem. For the most part, the real people are separate and hard to latch on to. With all the things going on in the show, it takes a minute to find out who to focus on. It’s so fast paced that it’s hard to focus on anything. It’s an ensemble for sure, but even for the initiated, there’s a lot of things to establish about how this world works. While it can be interesting exploring how the monster world works, it’s too often confusing. Strides are made to make the monster characters relatable and carry the main plot lines of the story. That being said, viewers may find themselves asking way more questions than should be necessary.
(L to R) Randall Park as Pete the Logic Rock, David Thewlis as Shame Wizard, Rosie Perez as Petra the Ambition Goblin, Maria Bamford as Tito the Anxiety Mosquito. Pamela Adlon as Sonya the Love Bug, Aidy Bryant as Emmy the Love Bug, and Maya Rudolph as Connie the Hormone Monstress in HUMAN RESOURCES. Credit: Courtesy of Netflix © 2022.
As always in an ensemble, some characters get more to do than others. Big Mouth stalwarts, Maury and Connie, take a backseat in this series which allows the show to focus on lesser-known characters. They deal with issues in their intimate relationship, but their storylines hold little weight. The lead of the group is Emmy, a ditzy love bug who cares more about partying than being good at her job. When a pregnant woman’s love bug gets fired, Emmy is thrust into the position and is way out of her league. Emmy can be annoying from time to time, but her almost intoxicated personality can be funny when she rubs others the wrong way. Her arc in this season is solid and, without spoiling anything, it’s going to be interesting to see how she handles her situation going forward.
When it comes to the ancillary characters, their exaggerated personalities play well off each other. A standout is certainly Randall Park as Pete the Logic Rock. His dry sense of humor works well contrasting with the rest of the monsters who are always dialed to eleven. Rosie Perez plays Petra the Ambition Gremlin and is really funny because she’s always yelling at everyone and super intense all the time. The last of the standouts would have to be Keke Palmer. With all the projects she’s got lined up, she’s sure to cement herself as a breakout star this year.
One of the more fun aspects of Big Mouth is the musical numbers. That tradition carries over into this show, but the numbers are too few and not memorable enough. The best of them being the song about being in love or being an asshole. That being said, the new theme song for the show slaps. It’s right up there with "Changes".
Fans of Big Mouth might enjoy this saturated spinoff of the show, but this is certainly too much for the uninitiated. It’s certainly enjoyable and it’s the type of concept that doesn’t feel like an obligation. It’s a bold direction and that’s certainly respectable, but some fans might be eager to get back to Andrew, Nick, Jesse and the gang. It’s just a little too much. Not bad at all, but probably passable.
Human Resources hits Netflix on March 18.