Warning: This review contains mild spoilers for “Sex Education.”
Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) doesn’t have a normal life. His mother (Gillian Anderson) only does two things: has sex and advises others about having sex. He is not happy about his life in high school. Even worse, he can’t masturbate. Otis later meets Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey), who eventually becomes his partner in giving sexual advice to his classmates, just like his mother. Together with his friend Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa), the three plan to make it big.
This show proves that some questions are not meant to be asked or answered, no matter how old you are. When was the first time you talked to your parents about sex? When was the first time you had sex? The memories that come with those questions have always been the scary Pandora’s box for many teenagers. Despite that notion, this new Netflix original “Sex Education” tries to answer them all. Starring familiar faces like Butterfield and Anderson as well as new talents like Mackey, the show does not stop at merely recreating these awkward scenes, but it does so by creating them in an almost fanatically surreal and funny tone. This show is hilarious while confronting awkward topics, all while featuring a diverse cast.
To Binge or Not to Binge?
The show is definitely a must-watch for anyone who enjoys high school drama and comedy. As a person who does not often watch teen comedies, I fell in love with the show instantly. It reminds me of the movie “Mean Girls” in the sense that they both use the seemingly stereotypical characters to the benefit of the story. “Sex Education” is more in-depth than “Mean Girls” because of the nature and structure of the show. Since it is a series, there’s more room for development for character background and plot.
The show handles feminist issues amazingly well. The women in the story are always proactive in relationships and sex, while the men feel almost sexually objectified. Sure, it is terrible to objectify anyone sexually. But how often do you see a show that all the men are seeking love instead of the women? This narrative of powerful women fits well into the overall arc of the show instead of merely implementing ideology into the writing.
It is unfortunate that occasionally the writing and plot don’t match the characters’ personas. For example, when Adam Groff (Connor Swindells) seeks help from Otis in the bathroom, it is hard to buy that the minutes-ago tough guy would be open so wholeheartedly to help a person he hardly has any interaction with. Overall, as long as you are not too nitpicky, problems like this are easily forgivable. The strongest feature of this show is the actors’ work and their ability to craft these characters so originally, as well as the ability to talk about sex and relationships in an honest, realistic way.
Season 1, Episode 1
“The End of the F—ing World,” “Shameless,” “Skins,” “On My Block,” “Big Mouth,” “PEN15,” “Fresh Meat,” “My Mad Fat Diary” and “Lovesick”
This show has explicit sex scenes, strong language and other mature content.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Available to stream on Netflix
10 episodes, a little under 8 hours.