is an adult animated sitcom a 7th grader named Nick Birch (co-creator Nick Kroll), who is going through puberty with the help or hindrance of Maurice the Hormone Monster and, in the second season, the Shame Wizard.
This is the puberty of your sex ed books, with nothing to do with voice changes or body hair in weird areas, and everything to do with "discovering the opposite sex": awkward boners, boobs, wet dreams, boobs, masturbation, boobs, and boobs. Did I mention boobs?
Nick has a coterie of male friends, allies, and frenemies, all of whom are facing their own Hormone Monsters and Shame Wizards as they negotiate their own awkward boners, wet dreams, boobs, masturbation, boobs, and so on. The major players are:
1. Best bud Andrew Glouberman, left (co-creator John Mulaney), who masturbates every chance he can get, but also gets some girlfriends, with whom he engages in the Princeton Rub.
2. Jay Bilzarian, right (Jason Mantzoukas), who is a bit more advanced in the masturbation and boobs department. He lusts after older women and has sex with pillows, along with dating girls and hinting about liking guys. He accepts the offer of a blow job from Nick, for instance, as long as he doesn't "make it gay." (They don't follow through).
Meanwhile, the girls are also dealing with puberty, although theirs is less overtly erotic: cute boys, menstruation, cute boys, gossipy best friends, cute boys, first kisses, cute boys, women's empowerment, cute boys, and cute boys. Did I mention cute boys?
1. Jessi Glasser, left (Jessie Klein), who is interested in both Nick and Jay.
2. Missy Foreman-Greenwald, a girl with braces who is everybody's "just friend."
3. Gina Alvarez (Gina Rodriguez), who has big boobs and knows how to use them.
So basically the distaff side of Nick, Andrew, and Jay.
These tightly balanced heteronormative boy-girl pairs experience sexual arousal or romantic desire in episodes with titles like "Requiem for a Wet Dream," "Girls are Horny, Too," "What is it about Boobs?" and "Steve the Virgin," with occasionally other pitfalls of adolescence appearing: sleepovers, failing grades, bullying big brothers, juvenile delinquency. Is there any room for same-sex desire?
Well, a little. Early on, Nick wonders if he might be gay because he likes Andrew -- a lot. But he realizes that he can love a guy without wanting to see his weiner.
Then there's Matthew (Andrew Rannels), a swishy, snarky, "let's do brunch" gay kid. Of course, only the swishiest of kids stands a chance of overcoming the masturbation, boobs, erections, boobs, boobs, and boobs of the dominant puberty discourse.
He appears in only a few episodes, as a supporting player and snark, taking center stage only twice, in Season 2:
In the Season 2 episode "Guy Town," he finds himself having a "gay-off" with a gay resident of a seedy apartment complex (Harvey Fierstein), who suggests that he tone down the snark if he wants to have any friends.
In "Smooch or Share," the Season 2 finale, Matthew and Jay have to kiss during a spin-the-bottle type game. Later both reveal that it was their first kiss, and Jay surprises him with another.
So maybe the two will be dating in Season 3.