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  • Acceptable Targets: Pretty much the entire male gender, though women and girls do get judged on a case-by-case basis.
    • 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.
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    • The population of Florida are subjected to every stereotype imaginable, from Kissing Cousins to cantankerous old people and an entire family being members of the Klan. Nick even notes how it's a bit snobbish to judge an entire region.
    • Men who claim to be feminists are usually depicted as well-meaning idiots or having malevolent ulterior motives. Even before he crosses the Moral Event Horizon (see below), Mr. Lizer uses his hard leftist ideals less to enrich the children's education and more to talk down to Coach Steve. He's later shown to be just as closed-minded than the toxic men he claims to be against, telling all the female students that he knows what's best for them and talking over or interrupting them whenever they try to challenge him, then enforcing a dress code to "protect" them from boys trying to sexually harass them. Andrew, meanwhile, tries to be an ally to abstain himself from the guilt of his past mistakes and all of it comes across as Condescending Compassion.
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    • The members of the MGTOW movement are shown as obnoxious and wangsty jerks who will blame literally anyone and anything else (especially women) for everything that goes wrong with their own lives. In the space of a minute, a MGTOW meeting immediately escalates from misogyny to racism and anti-Semitism with very little prompting.
  • Accidental Aesop
    • The responsibility parents have for helping their children through problems. When left to their own devices (or the care of the hormone monsters), the kids gravitate towards irrational, sometimes cruel behavior. However, their parents don't always have the best answers and following their advice sometimes makes their problems worse. So the moral? "Being an actual good parent is a lot of hard work, but it's really important" Or, more cynically, "Even if you try as hard as possible to be the best parent you can be for your child, you're going to make mistakes that will effect them simply because Humans Are Flawed."
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    • The plot of "The ASSes" is kicked off by Jay selling his prescription meds to other students, which affects them all negatively. While the intended morals are that Drugs Are Bad and it's wrong to cheat, the bigger takeaway is that you shouldn't take drugs that aren't meant for you and only use prescription drugs as directed.
    • Feminists need to learn to clearly articulate their expectations of men and stop being the Master of the Mixed Message or Moving The Goal Posts. Even sympathetic guys who want to be allies often find it difficult because they are forced to guess what women want and are harshly condemned if they get it wrong. Which tends to push male allies away, making women even angrier and just creating a vicious cycle of mutual resentment.
    • Activists make terrible boyfriends (see Acceptable Targets above).
    • Feminists are just as capable of being mean and horrible to other women and girls as misogynistic men because they sometimes don’t want to admit that they are holding other women to standards that they don't meet themselves.
    • Anyone and everyone is capable of horrible behavior, and sometimes it’s hard to forgive them. If you can’t, then it's OK, but you have to cut them out of your life. If you don’t, you run the risk of becoming just as bad as them (albeit in a different way).
    • Middle school is rough on everyone, and (almost) everyone changes and eventually evolves into a much better person by freshman year of high school.
      • While Jay and Matthew still have a way to go, they are capable of change (despite what their classmates think), and they both become better and happier people. Matthew becomes nicer and gets a boyfriend, and Jay, after getting a loving family for a while, gives it up for his friend Nick when he sells his medication, mainly because he believes his ADHD medicine would help everyone with a stressful test (it doesn’t). He becomes accepted by his family in the season finale, which is something he’s always wanted. Luckily though Coach Steve is also (almost) always around (and Nick’s parents are only a phone call away) so Jay still (kind of) gets the parental care he needs. In the next season he also gets a girlfriend in Lola (but it didn't last).
  • Adorkable: All 5 main characters have a moment since they're all still young and fairly dorky but also strangely endearing in their own quirky ways. Most of the time at least...
    • Andrew most of the time. Comes together hand in hand with his awkward demeanor and being Jewish and Nerdy.
    • Bashful, kind and chatty Missy, who has a crush on Andrew (and Nathan Fillion) is this times a million.
    • Matthew totally becomes this in the Valentine’s Day special.
    • Caleb is this and a bag of chips.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • 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. At the same time, Nick's over-developed nipples and emotional outbursts in the Valentine's Day special are speculated to be part of an estrogen rush caused by Connie. Connie even calls attention to this at one point, saying that it's very possible that Nick could be a "girl with a penis," though it seems to have been jossed otherwise.
    • "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 others' safety as a result.
    • When Sharon curses about Greg's new girlfriend, is it because she's jealous that her deadbeat ex husband has a girlfriend when she just got dumped and is generally succeeding in getting his life together while she's struggling, or does she just hate him so much at this point that she doesn't want to see him succeed? A combination of the two, maybe? Similarly, does she think that moving Jessi away by force is for her own good, is it a way to prevent Jessi from gravitating more to her father or is she more concerned with doing things that'll help her own psyche that she doesn't even bother to care about her own daughter's any more? Likely a good combination of the latter two (poor Jessi).
    • While he's clearly a Politically Motivated Teacher and, much later, a hypocrite and a gaslighter, did Mr. Lizer always intend to use progressivism as a means to attract women, consenting age or not, or is he a well-intentioned know-it-all who, like Andrew, was too arrogant to recognize his own flaws until he crossed the Moral Event Horizon?
  • Anvilicious: Has its own page.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • 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. Later episodes also make it very obvious that pedophilia is heinous by depicting pedophiles as Hate Sinks who suffer graphic karma for their actions.
    • 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 becomes canonically bisexual, and the ghost of Mercury even pops up to tell Jay that despite the common misconception, he too was bi.
    • After being criticized for their poorly-researched and unintentionally transphobic definitions of bisexuality and pansexuality in "Rankings," the next season introduced a transgender character, Natalie, who had a transgender writer on staff (Patti Harrison) to ensure she wouldn't be written offensively. She's also played by a transgender actress (Josie Totah).
  • Award Snub: In 2018, Mark Rivers was nominated for an Emmy Outstanding Music and Lyrics for "Totally Gay", but lost to "Come Back, Barack" from Saturday Night Live. A year later, the show itself was nominated for Outstanding Animated Program for "The Planned Parenthood Show" but lost to The Simpsons.
  • Base-Breaking Character
    • Lola's abrasive, unfiltered attitude is either hilariously charming or deeply obnoxious, depending on who you ask, especially after she became a much more prominent character in season 3.
    • Matthew, at least in season 1. See Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The "Everybody Hurts" parody in "Everybody Bleeds."
    • The brief mockumentary-style shot of Coach Steve in "Girls are Horny, Too" after Jay mentions his pornographic drawing of all the teachers. It's very random, and even Coach Steve is confused by it.
    • 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). When they did introduce a trans character in Season 4, Natalie, she was written with help from trans women's input and has had a fairly positive reception.
    • Related to the above, the show's handling of pansexuality has been a subject of debate. A small but vocal amount of viewers felt as though Ali's descriptions of it is tactless and bi-phobic, a criticism Andrew Goldberg openly accepted. Others have said that it's in-character for a teenager like Ali to explain a nuanced concept in a tactless way and it shouldn't be taken at face value.
    • At the end of the third season where Nick and Andrew officially end their friendship, fans are divided on whether it's Nick or Andrew who's more at fault for the deterioration of of their friendship. The fact that this conflict continues into season four (for the first four episodes) just makes it worse.
  • Cargo Ship: Canon: Jay and his pillow. They even wind up having a baby!
  • Catharsis Factor: The show regularly puts abusive men through immensely satisfying humiliation congas that many could only ever dream about happening in real life.
    • After Daniel's history of forcing women to give him oral sex and Slut-Shaming those who refuse comes out, Nick throws up in his hat, which his sister puts on Daniel's head. Jay then further humiliates him by offering him a scarf to clean himself up, then makes it disappear and flips him off. Then, when Daniel tries to storm out, he discovers that Judd's slashed his (and everyone else's) tires. And then to cap it all off, an epilogue reveals that he actually died.
    • After being a rude jerk for most of the series, eventually crossing the Moral Event Horizon by gaslighting a teenage girl into giving him massages, Mr. Lizer is fired in front of the whole school, then gets dropped through a trap door, breaking his legs in such a way that his toenails tear his genitals. It's equally as satisfying as Daniel's comeuppance in season 1.
  • 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. A season 3 episode has Mercury's ghost outright state that he was bisexual and often Mistaken for Gay.
  • 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, before he became part of the main cast in the later seasons, was popular 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.
    • 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.
    • Missy's Hormone Monstress Mona was well-received for her interesting design and spicy personality. She also sets herself apart from Connie by having a more positive influence on Missy than Connie had on Jessi.
    • In Season 4, Natalie sparked a lot of popularity as being the first trans character on the show and showing the very realistic struggles that trans individuals go through, with fans also being very fond of her sassy and fiery spirit, as well as her friendship with Jessi.
    • From the same season 4, another one of Nick's campmates Milk has also become relatively popular due to many fans finding his odd non sequiturs, particularly about his dad's friend 'Bob Ready' and with him being a hilarious Phrase Catcher some of the funnier aspects at the beginning of the season. His 'Naruto Run' also stood out to many old fans and upped his newfound popularity.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Despite season 3 making Aiden/Matthew canon and season 4 pairing Jay with Lola, there's a lot of fans who still wish for Jay/Matthew to happen, since the two had a very interesting Belligerent Sexual Tension dynamic in season 2.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Immediately developed one with Tuca & Bertie, another Netflix original, due to some very bad timing where Netflix announced that Big Mouth would be renewed for three additional seasons, mere days after the latter show was canceled only after just one season.
    • In general, Big Mouth tends to earn this with any Netflix show that gets canned unfairly, due to its perceived Adored by the Network status and Audience-Alienating Premise. Fans of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance tend to be particularly acidic.
  • Fanon: Many share the belief that the overly macho Gavin was Guy Bilzerian's Hormone Monster, and possibly Val and Kurt's as well.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Back in season 1, Andrew's mother is adamant of him having sex education. The Planned Parenthood episode would later reveal that she had an unplanned pregnancy from a one night stand and decided to have an abortion. While she didn't regret her choice, the experience was an emotional one.
  • Growing the Beard: While Season 1 received good reviews, it was dogged by baseless accusations of being softcore child pornography, if not just another Family Guy clone. Season 2 would not only improve on the sex-positive stories but also branch out into ones about body positivity, especially the show-stopping "We Love Our Bodies," which finally assuaged these critics and making the show one of the most popular adult animated comedies of its time. It's telling that season 1 received knee-jerk backlash from it's subject alone while season 3 received actual good-faith criticism about how it handled the subject.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The beginning of "Girls are Horny, Too" has Andrew's mother saying she is worried about Alex Trebek. This would air two years before Trebek's pancreatic cancer diagnosis and three years before his death.
    • Andrew's porn addiction in light of John Mulaney being admitted into rehab, having developed a drinking problem at the same age as Andrew.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Andrew's voice actor John Mulaney would later go on to voice another character with uncomfortably moist hands. For added laughs, Missy's ex-voice actress starred in Venom (2018).
  • Ho Yay:
    • Being Heterosexual Life-Partners with a lot of conflict, there's occasional romantic subtext between Nick and Andrew, even discounting Andrew questioning his sexuality over Nick in "Am I Gay?" and kissing him to try and test the waters. The crowning (pun not intended) moment is likely the climax of "Poop Madness" where Nick holds Andrew's hand as Andrew finally takes a poop while "I'll Stand By You" by The Pretenders plays, which is deliberately set up like a husband helping his wife deliver a baby. Later in the episode, Seth tells them to take care of each other while referencing how he blew things with Natalie, his crush.
    • Building off of the Nick/Andrew subtext, Nick's jealousy towards Seth and Andrew's friendship can make Nick look more like a jealous ex-boyfriend watching Andrew on the rebound. Specific moments include Andrew complimenting Seth's bandana in a manner that's almost flirtatious and the two of them bonding over their penis size.
    • In "Nick Starr," Nick's future self has a robot slave based off of Andrew named "Andrew 3000," whose duties include massaging Nick and changing Nick's diapers. When Nick Starr learns he has to leave the planet and can take one lover to repopulate the Earth, Andrew 3000 chimes in that he'd be willing to incorporate that into his programming.
    • Jay and Matthew despite kissing and having an interesting dynamic throughout season two are not actually a couple. Matthew gets a new boyfriend early in season three and Jay got with Lola in season 4. However, season four also shows Jay basically flirting with both Matthew and Aiden while at the camp pool before jumping into the pool (making sure to splash the two of them) in an effort to show off. Also when Jay is seeing fantasies with Lola it’s Matthew who brings him down to reality to try and show Jay that he’s with someone (who is in Matthew view is totally wrong for him) while putting his hand on Jay’s shoulder. Jay also admits to a jealous Lola to having sexual dreams about Aiden and Matthew.
  • Informed Wrongness: In Season 2, Episode 9 "Smooch or Share", after Andrew admits to having masturbated to Nick's older sister Leah, Tyler has a very valid point when he tells Nick that they don't want to think of their big sister in such a way and for masturbating in his house. And so Nick is understandably pissed off and disgusted by this, but Andrew, with the help of Maurice repeatedly defend themselves and attempt to justify what they did. But this is despite the fact that Andrew crossed a line by masturbating to his best friend's sister (who witnessed it no less) and in their pool house on top of it all, and when he reveals that he's masturbated in Nick's house plenty of times before, including when Nick is sleeping, Nick is once more rightfully upset by this new knowledge. However, while Andrew does own up and feel bad for what he did, the episode treats it as if Nick was wrong to get mad at Andrew for this as Nick himself even says that he was "mean" to his best friend and blames Tyler for encouraging him to call out Andrew for his indiscretions. Granted while Andrew does have urges that he can't exactly control due to puberty and Maurice's influence, Nick can't really be faulted for being rightfully upset upon finding out about how his best friend has constantly done such things in his house and to his sister.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Jay; something that's 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 an 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.
    • Ali is boastful, sociable and also deeply traumatized for getting kicked out of school for coming out to her now-former friend.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Jay is this as well as 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, judgmental 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. It's also revealed that he has to hide his sexuality from his family because he knows they won't ever completely accept it.
    • Jessi becomes more of a jerk in season 2, it's also understandable why as her home life becomes chaotic and Connie's influence becomes more erratic. She even turns to shoplifting out of sheer boredom. By the end of the season, it's revealed she has depression.
    • Jessi's mother Shannon isn't too far off either. She's doing her best to raise a daughter on her own while also struggling to come to terms with her own erratic emotions, including late-in-life discoveries about her sexuality and mixed feelings about her now ex husband. Unlike said ex husband, whom she won't even give the time of day to despite his clear and even successful efforts to be more responsible (going so far as to curse out his new girlfriend under her breath), she eventually decides that her own well being is more important than her daughter's and starts making irrational decisions without regard to Jessi's feelings.
    • 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 meal would be unfreezing ravioli in the sink. The Shame Wizard refers to her as "the world's saddest girl." Gina pities her enough to talk her into standing up to Devin. If that weren't enough, she gets groomed by a teacher in Season 3.
      Lola: You're like weak and boring and, like, a nobody! What does it mean that even you don't wanna be with me?
    • The Shame Wizard reveals himself to be this. Despite him seeming harsh and unforgivable, he actually has a sweeter and nicer side. His worst traits come from a sad childhood, when his dad abandoned him and his mother made him feel weird about himself for something she asked him to do. He has a hard job, that is making people feel ashamed or guilty to make them be better and avoid catastrophic consequences of people without shame. He is also hushed by his co-workers, who fear his worst traits, which makes him feel sad and alone.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The fact that Andrew Rannells is in this show has brought in a lot of fans who openly watch the show just for his role as Matthew, mostly after he was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap of course.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The show has many LGBT fans due to its messages about sexuality and how people should be free to identify themselves however they feel, as well as many 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, as well as him essentially being elevated to being a part of the main cast and being a lot more than Jessi's Gay Best Friend, even getting his own boyfriend. Likewise, Jay earned more fans after he came out as bi in Season 2. The show also tries to represent many different sexual orientations and gender identities beyond the most common ones, like introducing a pansexual character (Ali) in Season 3 and a transgender character (Natalie) in Season 4. While Ali's reception was mixed, Natalie was very well-received by trans fans.
  • 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 (though by Season 3, his tics and disorders have become so bizarre and character-specific that one can hardly call them stereotypes).
  • 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 during the first 3.75 seasons. 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.
    • After being depicted as an average hypocritical sexist jerk in earlier episodes, Mr. Lizer becomes irredeemable by outright committing child molestation by telling Lola to rub him sensually, then gaslights her into thinking it's her fault, not unlike real sexual predators. He gets hit with some brutal Laser-Guided Karma that's made to be as immensely satisfying as possible.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The way Connie says "bubble bath" or even just the word "bubble."
  • 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.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The fact that the show focuses so much on (animated) early adolescent sexuality, including graphic depictions of masturbation and images of underage genitalia, sparked controversy from the second the first trailer dropped, since many found the premise to have pedophilic potential. Even after the show became successful, it's still extremely contentious on social media because of this.
  • 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 sees how upset she is and comforts her. Even when later episodes show him being an otherwise self-centered husband and hardass father, he never denies how much he loves his wife.
    • While Matthew has always been popular for his delightfully bitchy attitude, he was more of a Base-Breaking Character in Season 1, where none of the other characters call him out on some of his particularly cruel remarks. The following seasons toned down the cruelty and just made him a regular Deadpan Snarker while also subjecting him to some Humble Pie (see Jerkass Woobie), expanding on his relationship with Jessi and developing him into a more nuanced character.
  • The Scrappy: Even in his few appearances before he became an outright villain, Mr. Lizer was easily the least popular character in the show, as he seemed to only exist to pick on Coach Steve by bragging about how much better-educated he was. The creators seemed to notice this, leaving him out of most of season 2and making him an antagonist in season 3.
    • Of the kid characters, Devin is perhaps the most hated due to her being an all-around horrible bitch with almost no true redeeming qualities as she has shown to be a Hypocrite, a Female Misogynist who puts down other girls who don't live up to her standards while acting like she's trying to stick up for other women, a borderline abusive partner to Devon, and even racist as she makes an extremely racist remark about Missy regarding her racial identity.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: With a cast of young teenagers making discoveries about the world around them and getting into wacky hijinks through their naïveté and absurd situations which may or may not be fantasies, this show can be seen as a better grown-up version of Rugrats than All Grown Up! was.
  • 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.
    • "Florida" has the scene of Nick and Andrew trying to go into a gas station bathroom, which is nasty. The place is full of blood and hair and it's clear someone was killed there while changing their identity. Andrew says that when he tried to poop, the bloody toilet bowl water splashed back onto his butt.
  • 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).
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Devin getting told off by her own lick-spittle Lola was seen as well-deserved for her general nastiness towards every other girl.
    • Mr. Lizer is publicly humiliated when his inappropriate relationship with Lola is revealed. Then after trying to make himself somehow seem like the victim, he suffers grievous injuries to his legs and genitals.
    • For anyone who finds Nick and Jessi over-rated, their self-pitying duet in "Rankings" is a satisfying way to acknowledge that they're not too popular in-universe either.
  • 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. Later seasons try to fix this by introducing more hormone monsters like Mona and Tyler.
  • 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. It's possible the awkward art style is purposeful just to make the sexual subject matter even less appealing.
    • The effect adderall has on the kids. Their pupils dilate to the point they eclipse the irises.
  • Uncertain Audience: It's unclear whether the show is aimed more at teenagers going through puberty or adults reminiscing about their puberty. The show is rated TV-MA and features explicit nudity, heavy sexual subject matter, and other details that make it inappropriate for younger audiences. On the contrary, many episodes take an anvilicious educational approach to subjects like sex education and personal identity that seem more like messages to help children still undergoing puberty (though adults may still appreciate them). The scenes featuring children's genitals provoke criticism regardless of the demographic - the sexual humor may be too inappropriate for 12-year-old viewers, but adults watching a show with a focus on child sexuality is often berated as creepy. This is lampshaded a handful of times throughout the show, almost always in a Hypocritical Humor fashion.
  • Unfortunate Implications: "Rankings" has caught some backlash due to the way Ali derisively refers to bisexuality as "so binary", claiming that bisexuals can't be attracted to transgender and non-binary people (while pansexuals can), and in the process implying that trans girls and boys are not "fully" girls and boys. Even though the episode is meant to disprove the notion that pansexuality is superior to bisexuality, it's still never clarified that bisexual people can be attracted to trans and nonbinary people, and the transphobic implications of Ali's metaphors go uncorrected. LGBT fans quickly criticized the episode's definitions, and even co-creator Andrew Goldberg admitted they "missed the mark" and promised to do better in future seasons.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic
    • The final episode of Season 2 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.
    • The show goes out of its way to depict Sharon as a woman who's struggling to give the best life to her daughter while dealing with complicated feelings about her sexuality and failed marriage. However, after she betrays Jessi's trust by selling their house without telling her so she has no choice but to move, most fans have said that Jessi would be better off with Greg getting full custody of her.
    • The show tries to paint Lola as a Jerkass Woobie in a couple of ways through Parental Neglect by her mother, her toxic relationship with Devin, and a victim of harassment by Mr. Lizer, she is in general way too much of an obnoxious Jerkass that it's pretty difficult to feel any amount of sympathy for her and her sympathetic moments are usually way too brief that they really don't create much investment in wanting to sympathize with her at all.
  • 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.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: It's a brightly colored animated series starring short teenagers who are struggling through middle school. Despite dealing with puberty, a phase that most from the ages of 10-15 are going through, it's very clearly intended for older teens and adults, and meant to take the adult demographic back to their middle school years. Not only does it deal with its subject matter in a non-educational and very tongue-in-cheek way, but also openly deals with substance abuse, Abusive Parents, affairs, and contains heavy strong language and cartoon nudity/visibility of sexual fluids.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Tito the Anxiety Mosquito is referred to with "she" pronouns, despite her masculine-sounding name convincing viewers she's a male. She does have a female voice, but one would expect a mosquito's voice to be high-pitched either way.
  • The Woobie:
    • Andrew. His father's a total jerk, his mother is something of an unhelpful doormat, and his puberty process is just downright humiliating for him. Even when he takes a level in jerkass, he's still just such a sad sack it's hard not to want to hug him.
    • Jessi's father, Greg, during Season 2. He's still 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. Fortunately, by Season 3, he's getting his life back in order by finding a job, getting an apartment, and starting to date again.
    • 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.
  • Woolseyism: Italian and Portuguese dubs change references to Seaworld to Zoomarine, a similar aquatic animal based zoo present in both Italy and Portugal.

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