Big Mouth, a cartoon about teenagers going through puberty, has been widely praised for its unflinching take on sexual exploration, yet one episode in series three, which premiered on Friday, sparked a backlash from fans who criticised a new pansexual character’s definition of their orientation.
New student Ali (voiced by Ali Wong) introduces herself to her classmates saying she’s pansexual, which she defines as attraction that’s not limited by gender identity.
Nick Birch (voiced by co-creator Nick Kroll) asks if being pansexual is the same as being bisexual, the latter of which Ali rejects as “so binary”.
She says: “Some of you borings like tacos and some of you like burritos, and if you’re bisexual, you like tacos and burritos. But I’m saying I like tacos and burritos, and I could be into a taco that was born a burrito. Or a burrito that is transitioning into a taco.”
Viewers took issue with the fact that Ali implied bisexuals are not attracted to people unless they are cisgender, and that only pan people are attracted to those who are trans.
On Monday, Goldberg quote-tweeted the offending clip and addressed the backlash.
He wrote: “We missed the mark here with this definition of bisexuality vs. pansexuality, and my fellow creators and I sincerely apologise for making people feel misrepresented. Any time we try to define something as complex as human sexuality, it’s super challenging, and this time we could have done better.
“Thank you to the trans, pan, and bi communities for further opening our eyes to these important and complicated issues of representation. We are listening and we look forward to delving into all of this in future seasons.”
Netflix has renewed Big Mouth for three more seasons, as well as ordering its spin-off series Human Resources, a workplace comedy set in the world of the monsters from the show.
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