On this chapter of The Queerest Things I Watched Last Week, I was pleasantly surprised with multiple queer stories on Human Resources, the spin-off centering around the emotional support creatures from Big Mouth.
- Human Resources – Season 1 Episode [Streaming]
My 15 year old and I are fans of Big Mouth — we watch it separately and then discuss it later. My wife on the other hand has a much lower tolerance for talking animated penises and stupid sex humor. I totally get it, but in between the dumb jokes there are some touching stories. These deeper stories are often facilitated by the various emotional support creatures like the Shame Wizard, Depression Kitty, Anxiety Mosquitos, and yes, even the Hormone Monsters.
When Big Mouth introduced a new team of creatures, the Love Bugs (who also turn into Hate Worms), in season five it served as a backdoor pilot to Human Resources, a show centering around the creatures and the clients they serve. The show itself describes it as “Big Mouth meets The Office” and I’m here after binging season one to report back on multiple queer stories on Human Resources.
Queer Story on Human Resources 1
The first one was kinda silly. We meet Lionel the Shame Wizard’s mother, Rita St. Swithens, voiced by Helen Mirren. Lionel spends the episode trying to get her attention and approval while she ignores him and spends a lot of time with Kitty Beaumont Bouchet the Depression Kitty (voiced by Jean Smart). He then is surprised to discover the two of them have been in a friends-with-benefits relationship for centuries.
Not too serious of a story line, but I love how they get serious actors to participate in these shenanigans.
Queer Story on Human Resources 2
In the second story, Rochelle the Love Bug and Petra the Ambition Gremlin clash over their client Nadja (Natalie from Big Mouth‘s older sister) and whether she should to go Rutgers to be with her girlfriend Danielle (voiced by Ariana DeBose) or to Berkley to follow her dreams.
The carpal tunnel ball line made me laugh.
There is so much to love here. I got to add Ariana DeBose to our site, Rosie Perez as the Ambition Gremlin is my FAVORITE character on Human Resources and the cast in this scene is amazing: Ariana DeBose, Rosie Perez, Thandiwe Newton, Keke Palmer and Sabrina Jalees. An amazing, award-winning group of actors facilitating teen lesbians getting laid for the first time — it’s a true gift to the queer community.
Up until this point, Nadja had been wait-listed for Berkley, but then she gets an email telling her she’s been accepted.
Before this news, Rochelle and Petra had been bonding and getting along, but now they are at odds.
At dinner, Natalie lets the news slip about Berkley and her parents are thrilled. But Nadja is still on the fence.
With prom coming up Rochelle makes a plan to hook Petra up with Gavin the Hormone Monster. While Petra is busy getting laid for the first time in centuries, Rochelle can make her move at the prom to convince Nadja to go to Rutgers.
At Prom Nadja wins Prom Queen, and while she’s on stage giving her speech, Rochelle convinces her to make a grandiose gesture. Meanwhile, Petra figures out what Rochelle did and bursts in as this is happening.
Danielle is not as happy as Nadja thought she would be after her big speech.
She doesn’t want Nadja to not go to Berkley only for her. She was happy for her getting into her dream school and wanted to just enjoy the time they had left together. She figured they’d break up at the end of Summer anyway. Nadja doesn’t take that news well and neither does Rochelle.
Outside, Rochelle consoles Nadja and Petra tries to make her see the bright side.
I’m personally more Love Bug than Ambition Gremlin, but Petra is probably right. Nadja will have a ton of girlfriends at Berkley.
Queer Story on Human Resources 3
The overarching story of the entire season is about Emmy the Love Bug in training voiced by Aidy Briant. She is experienced Love Bug Sonya Poinsettia’s (voiced by Pamela Adlon) assistant who is forced to take on all of her clients when Sonya is mysteriously fired for reasons unknown to her co-workers. Emmy, to put it bluntly, is a fuck up who doesn’t know how to make it home without losing a shoe let alone how to be a professional Love Bug. Sonya’s primary client is Becca (voiced by Ali Wong, not the same character she voiced on Big Mouth) a woman in her last month of pregnancy. Emmy is not equipped to help a woman through childbirth and a new baby, but she doesn’t have a choice!
As the episodes pass, we see Sonya drinking too much and being generally miserable but we don’t know why she was fired. She just says she “did a bad thing.” Finally in episode 8, she tells Emmy what happened.
Becca’s husband Barry wanted to hire a doula for the birth. Both Becca and Sonya were skeptical, but they vowed to keep an open mind. When they first meet Claudia the Doula (voiced by Janelle Monae) they weren’t into the woo woo stuff, but soon she won them both over.
Other humans who are not their clients shouldn’t be able to see the Human Resources creatures.
During another doula session, Sonya and Claudia meet face to face while Becca is in a meditative state. Claudia asks her to stay, and even though she wants to, not getting involved with humans is the number one Human Resources rule. She can’t stay away though and later flies over to her window on her own. Claudia sees her glow and they talk again. One of her clients is in labor and she invites Sonya to come with her for the birth. Watching Claudia bring a baby into the world makes her even more smitten. After that, Sonya takes her on an adventure in her world.
I can not figure out who voices Aquarius in that scene. If someone out there knows please leave it in the comments!
Meanwhile, Barry is feeling insecure about how attached Becca is becoming to Claudia. He says he feels like the third wheel on a weird date when they’re together. Sonya goes to Claudia’s house to warn her and she seems to be having a manic episode. Claudia says maybe she should fire all her clients so the two of them can run away together. Sonya decides it’s better if she leaves her world to live on Earth with her instead.
While packing up her office Sonya runs into Walter the Love Bug and tells him she’s leaving to be with Claudia. He tries to stop her telling her Love Bugs are not good for humans, humans need things they can’t give them. She ignores him and runs out of the building. When she gets to Claudia’s apartment she finds her in a depressed state and realizes Walter was right. She can’t be with her. Aquarius said Claudia was destined for greatness or madness and Sonya needs to leave so it can be greatness. Before she goes she makes sure she calls her sister for help. They part and it’s really sad.
Ugh, this episode made me emotional!
How can an episode of television with a B story of “cockfighting” with animated boxing penises actually give me feelings? I think it was the power of Janelle Monae’s voice.
The episode ends sometime in the future with Sonya flying to Claudia’s window while she is working with another pregnant woman. Claudia can’t see her this time which I think implies she is well and in a better place.
It was a really sweet story.
Queer Story 4
This story was not queer-centric, but it involved a queer character we first met in Big Mouth, Nadja’s younger sister Natalie (voiced by Josie Totah).
This episode dealt with dying and grief with Natalie’s grandma Yara at the end of her life suffering from Alzheimer’s. All Yara wants is candy and no one will let her have it, so Natalie wheels her out to buy some (she also buys White Claw and vapes for herself). While they are out, Walter takes her to her favorite long-term memories but even the ones she’s always able to have start to fade.
Walter desperately trying to get Yara to hold on to her memories made me sad.
Again, it was another emotional episode and I think they did a good job addressing feelings around death and dying.
I didn’t expect there to be so many queer stories on Human Resources! My kid’s and my conclusion is Human Resources is more geared towards adults and from our small sample group he is right. He came away liking Big Mouth more, and after watching it a second time for this recap, I like this one more.
This week: I can’t wait to start watching Derry Girls season three!