The Rock of Gibraltar has been associated with many places and things through the centuries: mountains, rivers, towns, buildings, golf courses, carpets, drinking glasses, coffee, cheese sandwiches, cocktails… and now an adult cartoon movie.
I recently discovered the world’s most famous rock featured in a sex-orientated Netflix series.
The short film is part of an American animated series called Big Mouth. I don’t subscribe to Netflix, so I watched it at my sisters’ house and fortunately none of the grandchildren were visiting at the time. I was expecting sex would be involved because the episode, (part of Series I), is titled Girls Are Horny Too. But I admit I was quite surprised by how much emphasis on sex there was considering most of the main characters are high school students. There was plenty of colourful language, including more swear words than on your average rap record.
All in all, it was quite funny, but the sex is a bit too explicit, even for my jaded eyes and ears. My generation tends to keep such matters under covers, so to speak. I imagine, however, that many millennials, consider themselves to be more open-minded and hip than us baby boomers, and probably find this type of adult cartoon politically correct and socially acceptable.
The students that feature in the episode are given an assignment to do a book report on a novel of their choice, but it must be historical fiction. One of the girls, Jessi, reads a steamy novel entitled Rock of Gibraltar and as a result decides to explore her own sexuality. When she declares that “girls are horny too” the boys are left totally confused. She explains to the boys, “girls are as horny as boys they just don’t talk about it so much”. Soon all the students and their parents are talking about and reading the book.
The novel tells of the romantic relationship between handsome Gibraltarian Gustavo and Moorish Princess Fatima. Bizarrely, the plot has Gustavo turned into a horse, and so the relationship with Fatima remains romantic but sexless. Weirdly, there is a real book Rock of Gibraltar (Cutting Edge Press) by Martin Hannan, but it is a non-fiction history of the famous racehorse Rock of Gibraltar owned by former Manchester United FC manager Alex Ferguson. Coincidence perhaps?
The voice of Fatima is provided by Nasim Pedrad, a Muslim born in Tehran on November 18, 1941 who emigrated to the United States with her family when she was just three years old. She grew up in California and graduated from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. She is an accomplished actress and comedian and was a regular on the satirical television show Saturday Night Live from 2005 to 2011. Pedrad performed dozens of impressions on SNL including Kim Kardashian, Sharon Osbourne, Marilyn Monroe and the rapper M.I.A. Besides Fatima she has voiced many film characters; Jillian of Despicable 2 and Dalia of Aladdin, being two examples.
Gustavo’s voice comes from the versatile Carlos Jaime Alazraqui, who is a stand-up comedian, actor, voice actor, singer, impressionist, producer and screenwriter. Alazraqui was born July 20, 1962 in Yonkers, New York and grew up in Westchester Country. His parents are from Argentina and his surname is of Sephardi Jewish origin. He went to university in Sacramento, California where he began competing in open mic contests. In 1986 Alazraqui won the San Francisco International Comedy Competition and used the prize money to move to Los Angeles. He is a hugely popular choice as a voice actor and has worked for Nickelodeon, Disney and the Cartoon Network. Among his more notable performances are Loco in A Bug’s Life, Bill in Finding Nemo, Doom and Bane in Justice League and multiple voices in the movies SpongeBob Square Pants, Sponge Out of Water, Toy Story 3 and Planes and television series American Dad, Rugrats and King of the Hill.
Jennifer Flackett was co-creator and writer of the Girls Are Horny Too episode and her collaborators were her husband Mark Levin, Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg and Emily Altman. I tried to contact Flackett through Facebook to find out why Gibraltar was chosen as the setting for the book. I received no reply to my request for information, but I did find that in 2012 Flackett and Levin left their home in Los Angeles and spent one year travelling the world with their children, Franny, 13, and Finn, 9. Together they crossed six continents, visited 38 countries and 110 cities. They videoed their experiences and when the trip was over Flackett and Levin produced a 365-second film titled, A Year to Think, showing one second of each day of their trip. Gibraltar doesn’t appear in the video but there is one shot of the Straits of Gibraltar as the family cross by ferry from Spain to Morocco. So, at the very least they saw the mighty Rock, and quite possibly that was the inspiration for the name given to the romantic novel in this episode. The travel video is available on YouTube, Facebook and at HuffPost.
There are some interesting reviews and comments on the internet regarding Girls are Horny Too. One commentator revealed that on the street ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ is slang for ‘three grams of crack’, and another pointed out that the Urban Dictionary has ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ as a term for a person with a large forehead. I had never heard either expression before.
In an interview with Variety Magazine Kroll and his childhood friend Goldberg explained that they drew on their adolescent experiences for the “…raunchy coming of age comedy Big Mouth” and added that the series fictionalises bits and pieces of personal memories from the entire creative team’s teenage years. “Our policy in our writers’ room is we are extremely open to sharing”.
Regarding the Girls are Horny Too episode, Flackett told HuffPost, “There’s a lot of stuff especially for girls that goes really underground. It was a chance to say, ‘You don’t need to be ashamed’”.
“Everyone’s always surprised it’s a very emotional show in the midst of being filthy”.
BY REG REYNOLDS