Sweet Tooth Netflix Television 

Five Thoughts on Sweet Tooth‘s “Out of the Deep Woods”

By | June 4th, 2021
Posted in Television | % Comments

Hello Multiversity readers! I’m going to be covering Sweet Tooth. It’s based the comic written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire that ran from 2009-2013 published by Vertigo. Today, we’re covering the first episode of the Netflix series, “Out of the Deep Woods.”

1. The Great Crumble

The big apocalyptic event in Sweet Tooth is known as “The Great Crumble.” The Great Crumble is a mysterious disease that emerged around the same time as when hybrid animal children were being born, and so the question of ‘which came first?’ arose. The disease’s effects are still unknown in the first episode, but it makes a person look like they have a serious cold for three days before ultimately dying, and the key sign is a person’s pinkie twitching uncontrollably. The hybrid children are only shown in a hospital nursery, aside from Gus, the main character of the series.

Pubba, Gus’s father (played by Will Forte), took him into the woods to be secluded from the world and protect his only son. While the world is imploding, there is a montage of Forte building the cabin for he and Gus to live on. While they show a strong bond between the two, it also shows life lessons, Pubba teaches Gus, like to hide from humans they may encounter and make sure to never go past the fence he’s built. By highlighting these, it is quick to think that these rules and guidelines for life will be broken sometime throughout the series. Between the disease and the small, sheltered life Gus has until he leaves, he will not be able to truly learn anything about life and what dangers there really are.

2. Gus’s Crumble

After Pubba dies, it’s up to Gus to take care of the family cabin and fend for himself. Now keep in mind, this is a 9-year-old boy. Yes, he is part deer, but it is safe to say that it does not make things easier for him to survive on his own. There is a minute of highlights of him fixing up little problems here and there and dividing chores amongst his playthings, but reality soon hits when he doesn’t know how to solve a leaky pipe, his gardening tools break, and we are reminded of the overall struggles of being a 9 year old living alone. His temper gets the best of him, and it’s a hook for the viewer because we finally see a small glimpse of the anger inside of him. I t is an interesting decision for the series not to show Gus grieve or even express any real sadness, other than just finding his father’s dead body. By having him skip over the stages of grief and going straight to anger gives the idea that he will express those feelings later on in the show.

3. Where Is Mama?

One of the strongest elements from this first episode is the father-son dynamic. Pubba and Gus have a strong bond, due to their isolation from the world. The question that comes to mind is, why is it only the two of them? Gus’s Mom is noticeably absent, and at one point he tells Pubba he believes he saw her in the woods, when in reality it was just a deer he saw. Pubba reminds him that his Mother is gone. Forte’s delivery of the line does not seem ominous, but more so that there is something left to be said on why she is not with the two of them. It is later suggested that Gus may have been one of the first hybrids and so, with that discovery she would have wanted to discard him, or perhaps she did die during childbirth. With no real explanation in this initial episode, it is clearly going to be a question throughout the series.

4. Tim Burton Aesthetic

The majority of the first episode takes place in the woods with Pubba and Gus, but the first five minutes there is that glimpse into the real world. Dr. Singh lives in a small neighborhood where all the lawns are perfectly manicured and houses look all the same. When he goes to the hospital, he is wearing these bright pink scrubs and it gives an ‘everything is perfect’ kind of feel until the disease hits. Even the cabin, at times, feels like a little too well-crafted for a man to have built it by himself while taking care of a child. This is reminiscent of Tim Burton’s aesthetic, in that he often has these fish out of water kind of characters in contrast to a bright and bubbly kind of world. It would not be a far stretch to believe that Lemire had some influence in that, given that the artwork in the book is similar to Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas character design as well.

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5. The Big Man

In the final 15 minutes, we are introduced to Tommy Jeppard, aka The Big Man. Jeppard comes into the series as a huge character, killing the men who were going to kidnap Gus and trying to get away from him once he realizes that he was probably safer before anyone got him. This trope of a large man with a checkered past paired with a young boy, naïve to the world, is something that feels as old as time and yet still works when done right. After Gus tries to hit him with his slingshot and realizes how ineffective it is, he knows that survival will be harder on his own.

In the opening scene, Jeppard is show on a TV playing in a college football game, and it feels like there is going to be a fall from grace element to his story that pairs with his unwillingness to take responsibility for Gus. Not that he necessarily should because it is someone’s child, but more that he is afraid to let down another person that needs his help. The final moments show Gus finding Jeppard’s trail and beginning their journey into what looks to be a Lord of the Rings type of travelogue, intercut with the government trying to find Gus in their hope for a cure.

//TAGS | Sweet Tooth

Alexander Manzo

Alexander is born and raised in the Bay Area. When not reviewing comics for Multiversity he's usually writing his own review for his Instagram @comicsandbeerreport. He's also a sports fan so feel free to hit him up on twitter with any and all sports takes @a_manzo510.


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