The Puberty Podcast
Nick Kroll, creator, writer, and voice actor of the hit Netflix show Big Mouth, sits down with his big sister Vanessa Kroll Bennett and Dr. Cara Natterson to talk about puberty on the new podcast “The Puberty Podcast.” It’s no coincidence that the brother-and-sister duo both work somewhat adjacent to the subject of puberty: it was not a topic the Kroll household sidestepped. Now, they both create educational and entertaining resources for children and adults in their own unique ways.
This episode of “The Puberty Podcast” focuses on the matter of early- and late-bloomers. Kroll was a late-bloomer himself, something he makes clear through his autobiographical character in Big Mouth. Bennett and Natterson begin the discussion with the history of the scientific study of puberty. In the 1940s in the UK, a scientist named Tanner created a photographic library of the phases of puberty in children (I repeat, it was the 40s), based mainly on the growth of primary and secondary sex organs.
“The Tanner Stages” state that the average age of puberty in boys is between ages 11-11.5. Natterson was taught that in medical school and it’s what is still taught today, even though newer studies are showing that puberty in boys actually starts around 9. But some boys don’t go through puberty until 14. And this is the purpose of “The Puberty Podcast”. There is no true normal when it comes to puberty; as Natterson says, “There are 25 million versions of normal.”
For the rest of the episode, Kroll and Bennet tell hilariously genuine anecdotes from their childhood. While audiences are used to Kroll’s dirty sense of humor, he lets his authenticity shine through. He talks about how being a late-bloomer became central to his identity, but not until his later years. Whether it be sports or girls, being smaller was not always helpful, but it did make him who he is. And that is what Big Mouth is trying to celebrate. Kroll’s show is a celebration of all of the weird, sometimes gross, but oddly similar differences we experience as teenagers.
That being said, they talk about parenthood and, in their words, “leaving your sh*t at the door.” Kroll, Bennett and Natterson make for excellent listening, splitting their time between scientific studies to heartfelt narratives from childhood. They go back and forth from the creation of Big Mouth and what it’s meant for, digesting Kroll’s childhood traumas, to how we can better educate our children about puberty. You cannot miss this episode of “The Puberty Podcast.”