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  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Adult male bachelors and divorcees are usually depicted as slovenly losers in contrast to happily married men.
    • Jay's homophobic brothers are depicted as unambiguously cruel. Their dad is also shown to be a sexist miser who alternates between neglecting Jay and being a bad influence, to the point where Jay gives Coach Steve his blessing to sleep with his mother.
    • Understandably, people who don't take no for an answer when it comes to sex or sexual favors. Daniel is an amoral asshole and is treated with disgust in and out of the narrative for repeatedly trying and failing to force women to give him felatio, as well as dodging any and all responsibility when he's confronted about it.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
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    • At the end of season 2, Nick gets a new Hormone Monster. Considering the Hormone Monster, some people started wondering about whether that decision is connected to some degree with his personality. The fact that Connie is his new Hormone Monster has people specifically wondering whether Nick is going through gender dysphoria and if he is transgender, since she has previously only worked with girls, even though she does mentions that she'll "make him a man" before teaching him how to masturbate and might simply be Nick being In Touch with His Feminine Side, not unlike his Camp Straight father.
    • "My Furry Valentine" strongly implies that Andrew has serious psychological issues that go far beyond his compulsive masturbation. Andrew is generally depicted as a Butt-Monkey, but his characterization in the special is considerably darker. It also parallels some of his behavior with that of his father, suggesting that Andrew's Hilariously Abusive Childhood is less of a joke than previously depicted and that Andrew may be a genuine threat to other's safety as a result.
  • Anvilicious:
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    • "My Furry Valentine" lays on the toxic masculinity moral a bit thick. While there were plenty of factors that would have led to Andrew going through a "possessive" phase, it seems out of character for him to jump right into being a domestic abuser in the making. Even when we're shown the bad influence his father has on him, including being disrespectful to Andrew's mother, Marty is never shown to be possessive.
    • Lampshaded with the Planned Parenthood episode. The characters even anticipate alienating the pro-life crowd to the point of receiving online abuse.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: It's an animated show visually depicting pre-teens going through puberty, so it's obviously going to turn a lot of people off. Hell, there are people who actually gave the show a chance and still hate it just because of the art style and subject matter.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
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    • Among the many other criticisms that the early promotional material for the show faced was that a show about teenagers going through puberty and all that that entailed (masturbation, making out, etc.) had pedophilic vibes. The last joke of the last episode of season 1 has Maurice freaking out that "a show about a bunch of kids masturbating" might come off as child pornography, then reassuring himself that it's not as bad if it's done as an animated cartoon.
    • The show's mostly-female writing staff eased some early concerns that the concept was just an excuse for juvenile older men to make sexist machismo jokes and would fairly depict female puberty as well as male puberty (though there are some complaints that there are actually more uninformed depictions of male puberty than female puberty, as a result).
    • Season 1 had the common misconception that Freddie Mercury was gay, instead of bisexual. In season 2, Jay became canonically bisexual.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The "Everybody Hurts" parody in "Everybody Bleeds."
    • The student randomly getting his arms ripped off during the science lab scuffle in "Requiem For A Wet Dream." Despite the nature of the show, this kind of gorn humor isn't typically present. Justified in that it's all just Andrew having a dream.
    • Nick's Tex Avery-style Wild Take in "The Head Push." It comes out of nowhere for seemingly no other reason than to have the punchline of his eyes not going back to normal after.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Pillow Talk" involves Jay's brother impregnating his now-sentient pillow and the two of them spending the rest of the day going through the stereotypical motions of a real life pregnancy (morning sickness, feeling the baby, the baby turning out to be Jay's brother's, etc), the drama of 13-year-old Jay now being the father of a 40-year-old pillow's baby and eventually the pillow giving birth. It ends with the pillow leaving him and taking their half-pillow, half-human hybrid baby with her and Jay deciding having sex with his bathmat instead. It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.
  • Broken Base: Unsurprisingly, given the subject matter at hand.
    • After a very negative reaction to the trailers, the show itself has garnered a mixed reception. Some find the show surprisingly funny and uses its lurid subject matter for good jokes and commentary. Others find the show tasteless, unfunny, and pretentious.
    • Similarly there's the purposefully exaggerated art style. For some it does work in its own way, much like the writing, and has its appeal. For others it's just ugly regardless of Intended Audience Reaction.
    • Among people who actually like the show, there's some debate of whether or not the writers should tackle gender queerness. Some feel as though including pubescent transgender characters would be positive, others feel that the mostly-cisgender writing staff are probably better sticking with what they know than intimately depicting something they probably don't understand all that well (assuming they wouldn't hire trans writers in that case).
  • Cargo Ship: Canon: Jay and his pillow. They even wind up having a baby!
  • Critical Dissonance: The show received unanimous praise from critics, with a higher-than average percentage rating on IMDb and a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Viewer response, on the other hand, has been more mixed-to-positive.
  • Critical Research Failure: In "Am I Gay?" Freddie Mercury is among the "famously deceased homosexuals" with Socrates. Freddie was bisexual, not gay, though that is a somewhat common mistake, since during the high years of Queen, the press was eager to out Freddie as gay and many labeled him as such, with Freddie assuming himself as bisexual. Four of Freddie's romances became publicly known, two were with women, saleswoman Mary Austin (to whom he dedicated "Love of My Life") and actress Barbara Valentin. Granted, the whole point of the episode is that sexuality is a spectrum rather than set binary rules, so Freddie could be seen as an embodiment of this.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: A show which earnestly depicts going through puberty is not going to be subtle.
    • If a kid called their parents by their first name in real life, they'd be a brat. Connie telling Jessi that it's an empowering part of female puberty and Jessi then bellowing at her mom "GET THE HELL OUT, SHANNON!!"? is still wrong, but it's a funny kind of wrong.
    • Andrew walking through Jay's back door through a pile of discarded sneakers saying that it reminds him of a Holocaust museum.For those who don't know...  Of course, Andrew is allowed to say this because he's Jewish.
    • Matthew tricking Jay into thinking Trans Equals Gay and convincing him to tell everyone that, all for the sake of his own entertainment.
    • All of Jay's family, from his divorce's lawyer father, his alcoholic mother, and his brothers Val and Curt who force Jay to trim their pubes and eat semen. If they were real people, they'd be bastards, but the cartoonish exaggeration makes it too hilarious to take seriously.
    • The cutaway gag about what a head push is... done as a spoof of Seinfeld to soften the blow of an otherwise serious discussion.
    • Jay gets interrogated and profiled by security guards after he tells his friends he's gonna make the Statue of Liberty disappear. After winning them over with magic, they say he's way more fun than Kal Penn, who's shown wearing a bag over his head in a selfie with the guards.
    • Coach Steve DJs Jessi's bat mitzvah, and tells all the Jews to get onto the (dance) train. Matthew the Camp Gay kid and the disabled kid are offended they weren't included.
    • The Deliberate Values Dissonance of Judd repeatedly calling Nick "retarded faggot." The sheer over-reaching he's doing to be offensive (and the reality that many teenagers like him do just this to sound cool) is too idiotic to take seriously.
    • Maurice is the king of this trope when he's drunk. He takes credit for an earthquake "just like ISIS", then rips off Garrison Keillor's head and forces it to give him a blowjob. According to Maurice, Netflix insisted he go this far.
    • When trying to break up a fight, Coach Steve accidentally smacks Ms. Benitez with a baseball bat.
      "Oh no! I meant to hit the kids!"
    • During the Shame Wizard's trial of Andrew, there's a retelling of a sexual assault account. By a sock that Andrew used to masturbate.
      Sock: He used me like an object! I mean, I am an object, but for feet, not for... *cries*.
    • During the flashback of his birth, Morty reveals that he settled on naming his son Andrew by practicing how it sounded when he yelled in angrily.
    • A young woman choosing the pull out method over condoms as her preferred form of birth control? Tragic and frustrating. Choosing it in a parody of The Bachelor in which various forms of birth control are depicted as various suiters? Now it's funny. Still choosing the pull-out method after it's been made explicitly clear that she should choose condoms? Now it's hilarious.
    • The Shame Wizard telling Maurice and Connie that he has a vintage Nazi dildo collection? Wrong. Shame Wizard's tone of voice sounding almost proud when he reveals this, along with Connie and Maurice's reactions ("This fucking guy." "Of course he found a way to ruin dildos.")? Pure, twisted laughs. Furthermore, while the Shame Wizard's a Knight of Cerebus who takes joy in his job of shaming teenagers for their natural impulses, his scenes aren't entirely without humor. For example, the scene in "Dark Side Of The Boob", where word begins to spread about Nick feeling up Gina, is contrasted by him first acting like a conductor of an orchestra as all the hurtful texts about Gina begin to spread, then donning a pair of headphones and acting like a DJ at a rave.
    • The hormone monsters repeatedly referring to anal sex as "bussy" ("butt-pussy"). So disgusting... but so funny!
  • Don't Shoot the Message: While the show might be crass to many people, it raises several valid and important points and has many solid aesops regarding themes such as body-positivity, consent, growing up, etc. To say nothing of the Planned Parenthood episode, which was instantly controversial.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Matthew for his delightful bitchiness and being responsible for the sexuality aesop of "Am I Gay?". He gets even more popular when he's given more depth into his character while serving as a possible Love Interest to Jay. In "My Furry Valentine" his role is expanded and we see him interacting with Maurice, previously indicated (but not shown) to be his Hormone Monster, for the first time.
    • Judd, Nick's Bomb Throwing Anarchist brother, who is somewhat psychopathic, but in a funny way. Besides, he seems to genuinely care for his siblings. Many fans want him to have a bigger role in the next season.
    • Caleb, in all his Ambiguous Disorder glory. He's more or less a background character, but he's so innocently blunt and obvious when he appears, that fans love him.
    • Gina was warmly received by Latin American audiences as well as girls who experienced D-Cup Distress, finding her highly relatable.
  • Epileptic Trees: Who is the Ponytail Killer?
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The bachelorette in the Bachelor parody choosing the pull-out method as her preferred form of birth control, even when it's made clear that literally any other kind would be both safer and more reliable, sends the (unfortunately true) message that someone who's given the best option still has the free will to make the worst decisions.
  • Fridge Brilliance
    • Why is the show so deliberately ugly? Two reasons: one, puberty makes you feel ugly, so it wouldn't make sense for pubescent children to look anything other than gangly and awkward. Two, it dissuades any assumptions that it's an excuse to draw naked pubescent children, because who would find these kids attractive?
    • The Shame Wizard's shame inducement has NO effect on Coach Steve, because he is so childlike and unabashed, meaning he simply doesn't HAVE any shame.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Andrew's voice actor John Mulaney would later go on to voice another character with uncomfortably moist hands. For added laughs, Andrew's first love was in Venom (2018).
  • Iron Woobie: Jay, something recognized In-Universe is that it's amazing how functional he manages to be, based on the fact he is abused and taught the worst possible things at his house. His father cheats on his mother and is a divorce lawyer that tries to teach him that love dies and marriage is a scam. His mother is a alcoholic that ignores him. His brothers use him as a slave and their bullying of him gets into child abuse levels (at one point, he offhandedly mentions his brother force him to trim their pubes). He is still a rather happy kid (with some issues), who just wants the best for his friends and desperately seeks to be loved by someone.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Jay as well as being an Iron Woobie. He has some twisted views on women and relationships, but only because he gets next to no affection from his family: his mom is a neglectful alcoholic, he's frequently terrorized by his older brothers and his father is a bad influence.
      Matthew: Sleep in hell!
      Jay: Joke's on you Matthew! I DO SLEEP IN HELL!
    • Matthew, once it's revealed that his bitchy, judgemental and occasionally even racist attitude is a defense mechanism. The second he lets down his guard and becomes less bitchy, he's bombarded with homophobic insults, from the boys genuinely thinking he's going to rape them to girls only wanting him as their Pet Homosexual and saying he's not "really" a boy.
    • Jessi, as she becomes more of a jerk in season 2, it's also understandable why. Her home life becomes chaotic and Connie's influence becomes more erratic as she turns to even shoplifting out of sheer boredom. She finally realizes she has depression by the end of season 2.
    • Lola in season 2. Andrew dumps her after their G-Rated Sex and we get a glimpse on her awful home life, with a mother that wishes she was someone else and is only present for Devin. Lola's house is mostly empty because her mother is setting up to move and is never there to make her food. If Andrew didn't ask her for dinner, her only food would unfreezing ravioli in the sink. The Shame Wizard refers to her as "the world's saddest girl" and even Gina pities her due to Devin's awful treatment of her.
      Lola: You're like weak and boring and, like, a nobody! What does it mean that even you don't wanna be with me?
  • LGBT Fanbase: The show has a few LGBT fans due to its messages about sexuality and how people are free to identify themselves however they like, as well as some gay fans who feel a strong connection to the Gay Best Friend Matthew. This was intensified in season 2 when Matthew's Hidden Depths were explored and how precise of an exploration of how young gay guys feel in school he is during the sleepover. Jay earned a bit more fans after he came out as bi in season two, and many fans hope and cheer for both characters to become an Official Couple.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Quite a few people on the autism spectrum love Caleb, who's considered to be one of the "better" stereotypes of a character with Asperger's.
  • Moe: Despite the wonky character designs, Missy counts as one due to her friendly demeanor and in part thanks to Jenny Slate's voice work. Caleb and Tyler count as well due to their naivete.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Daniel has already passed it by the time he's introduced. Not only has he tried to force multiple women to give him oral sex, but does everything in his power to twist the words of everyone who's rightfully calling him out into making it sound like he's the victim in every way while saying that that party culture is the real enemy and accusing everyone (yes, even the women) of misogyny.
    • If Devin didn't cross with her abuse of Lola, then she definitely crosses it when she spreads horrible rumors to the school that Gina is a slut once she learns from Jessi that Gina let Nick touch her boobs.
    • Andrew might have crossed it in "My Furry Valentine" when he he violently pulls Lars, a handicapped child, off of his wheelchair. Only time will tell if Season 3 can redeem Andrew.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The way Connie says "bubble bath."
  • Narm Charm:
    • The typically sunny Jack McBrayer playing a talking pubic hair is silly to say the least, but when said pubic hair is telling Nick to kill Rick the Hormone Monster, he's surprisingly sinister.
    • The use of "Groove is in the Heart" as the soundtrack for Barbara's sad backstory. It might sound ridiculous, but Barbara's story is genuinely bitter and sweet that it manages to fit with the song and balance its sad moments, including her accidental pregnancy and abortion before meeting Martin. The rest of her story is sufficiently happy to justify the song.
  • Nausea Fuel: Has its own page.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Andrew's normally surly dad gets to show his sympathetic side in a flashback showing how he met Andrew's mother. She'd rammed into the back of his car which naturally would have set him off, but when he sees her crying he immediately realises that she's in a bad place and comforts her. Subverted otherwise, as he is still shown to be a very self-centered husband.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Nothing about this show is subtle, but it's for the best, considering the subject matter.
    • "Am I Gay?" has the important (and oft-ignored) message that not every sexual orientation can be labeled because not everybody is 100% of which ever orientation they are. It's more important to know who you're attracted to than what to call yourself. The season 2 finale also adds on that bisexuality is a real thing, a bisexual guy is not just a gay guy lying to others.
    • "Girls Get Horny Too" drops the important anvil that you shouldn't be afraid of your body, especially when it comes to sexuality.
    • "Head Push" has an anvil that cannot be dropped enough, that consent is a requirement for sex, not an option and no means no. Period.
    • Being shamed is an unpleasant experience, especially when it's unjust and unnecessary but it doesn't mean there isn't any development from it. Shame is actually an important part of a person's psyche because it helps you recognize what you did wrong and to not repeat it. For example, Andrew frequently submitted to his sexual cravings but when the shame wizard came into his life, he started controlling himself because he felt ashamed about what he did. On the other hand, the show also reveals that there are things you do not need to feel shame about, like your body or your sexuality.
    • The benefits and importance of Planned Parenthood. No, it's not just an abortion clinic, it does a lot of things and you'd do well to know how it provides services such as gynecologist consults, STD treatments, as well as different birth control methods.
    • Well-endowed young women shouldn't have to deal with bullying from jealous other women any more than unwanted come ons from horny men. Poor Gina had to deal with both.
    • "Guy Town" drops several about toxic masculinity. While the boys initially worship Jay's father for making the titular motel a safe haven for "manly" men, they're quickly turned off by the creepy and immature habits of the all-male clientele and realize that this is the reason none of them have female companions in the first place. Meanwhile, Nick learns not to dismiss his father for being In Touch with His Feminine Side when he sees him saving someone's live with CPR, proving that a concern for the well-being of others is not unmanly, even if it can sometimes be overbearing. Matthew also learns that gay men are not immune and that catty, dismissive bitchiness is just as negatively masculine as being a regular bully.
    • Related to the above, "My Furry Valentine" shows that anyone can have the bad habits which lead to toxic masculinity. It's not just amoral jerks like Daniel, it can be people like Andrew who are too young and naive to recognize their hubris. It also shows how, more often than not, seemingly minor things like pride and a lack of a positive influence are the cause of these habits rather than any inherent villainy.
    • Don't believe everything you see online and if you're afraid that you have an STD, see a medical professional so you can get treatment or be better informed.
  • Squick: The fact that there's no holds barred on showing 13-year-olds developing and experimenting with their sexuality will no doubt make a few people uncomfortable in its execution.
  • Stylistic Suck: The misshapen, big-headed character designs make the subject matter far less creepy than it could be. Any concerned citizens who wanted to take the show down for sexualizing minors would probably get laughed out of the room.
  • Tainted by the Preview: And how! The show quickly became a favorite punching bag on animation forums and threads after its first trailer premiered, with viewers knee-jerk reacting to the ugly art style and perceived Gross-Out Show humor in fear that it would be terrible in all the ways that animated shows for adults from the previous decade had been (i.e., sexist, racist and gross).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Having just three hormone monsters and some inconsistency regarding who can and cannot see them, instead of giving each character their own, unique hormone monster matched to their personality and deciding if only that character can see them or if every character going through puberty can see them or if everyone can see them.
  • Ugly Cute: While the general art style is considered unappealing at best, some of the exaggerated features of the younger characters can border on this trope (such as Jay for example).
  • Uncanny Valley: If there's one thing about the show everyone agrees on, it's that the character designs don't really look appealing, with some looking downright terrifying. Even some people who gave the show a chance say that they hate it just for the art style. This is not exactly surprising, taking into account the name of the show in both literal and metaphorical ways.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The final episode tries to make the Shame Wizard out to be a Jerkass Woobie by showing his colleagues avoiding him outside of work. The problem is, he's shown to be as much of a bully to them as he is to the kids.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Jay is barely liked by his friends who more or less only hang out with him out of proximity, but he's one of the most popular characters among fans due to being a funny Jerkass Woobie. Season 2 earned him an LGBT Fanbase when the final episodes explored his newfound bisexuality and some level of interest in Matthew.
    • Coach Steve is at best an annoying idiot and at worst a liability to his peers, and he can't sing to save his life. Fans, however, have latched onto him for his genuine kindness and unfaltering optimism.
  • The Woobie:
    • Andrew. The way his dad publicly berates him during a basketball game would explain why he's so introverted.
    • Jessi's father, Greg, during season 2. He's in love with Shannon, but it's clear this has become one sided as the years have gone by, and their strained relationship start to damage his relationship with his own daughter, who starts acting out like crazy, including shoplifting and taking his edibles. His divorce finally makes him move out of the house, which creates a distance between him and his daughter. He even breaks down crying in front of Jessi at one point.
    • Missy in Season 2 suffers from low self-esteem due to her flat chest. Seeing such a normally cheerful and sweet girl experiencing self-loathing is heartbreaking to say the least.
    • Gina. The poor girl is treated like an object by the boys and slut-shamed by the girls, then forced to share sleeping quarters with them during the meteor shower episodes while they all quietly bully her.

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