There’s no question that 2018 was a killer year for Netflix, with them releasing an endless stream of successful original films and shows, notably Bird Box, The Haunting of Hill House and of course the interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
It certainly doesn’t look like Netflix plans to slow down either in 2019, as it continues to throw out new releases. In the past couple of weeks, the show that keeps seeming to pop up on my Twitter feed is Sex Education, so I decided to give it a go and see what the hype was all about. I’ll admit I had pretty high expectations, after the success of other Netflix originals but I found it surprisingly refreshing.
The series follows socially awkward high school student Otis (Asa Butterfield), the son of a sex therapist, who had always been pretty content being over looked and goofing around with his gay best friend, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa). After his classmates learn about Otis’ home life, smart/bad-girl Maeve (Emma Mackey), who he also happens to be in love with, approaches him with a business proposition. Despite having his own teenage issues, Otis sets up his own sex therapy clinic. He consults his ‘clients’ everywhere from the out-ofbounds toilets to the science lab. Vulnerable teens approach him with those awkward and seemingly terrifying questions they can’t ask anywhere else, but he starts to realise he might need some therapy of his own.
I couldn’t think of a better actor to play Otis than Asa Butterfield. He combines humour with down-right earnestness, bringing light to all the issues high school students face. The X-Files Gillian Anderson, who plays Otis’ mum and sex therapist Jean, really excels in her comedic role, struggling to stop mollycoddling Otis. She’s funny, flirty and utterly inappropriate. Creator Laurie Nunn has a way of making you love all the characters, even the ones who you didn’t think you would, by adding their own personal pull-on-your-heartstrings backstories, like Adam, the headteachers son and Eric’s bully, who spoiler alert struggles with his own sexuality and the bullying he faces from his father. I won’t lie, I binge-watched it in two nights.
Tackling Teen Issues
Netflix hasn’t always had a success rate when it comes to exploring sensitive issues, such as the controversy that surrounded series 13 Reasons Why. Sex Education tackles so many delicate issues like homophobia, bullying, abor, ion and feminism, but never takes away from its comedic slant on sex in a small English community, which is what makes it so refreshing.
In one of my favourite episodes, an explicit photo of a student is anonymously shared without her consent. Classmates make fun of the picture, while the targeted girl is terrified that her identity will be exposed. When the headteacher holds an assembly to scold the students for sharing these pictures, a wave of students come to the defence of the victim. “It’s my vagina,” one girl after another says, followed by the most popular boy in school. Finally, the targeted girl stands too and proudly says, “It’s MY vagina.”
Ultimately Sex Education definitely hit the mark for me. It’s an awkward, hilarious and touching coming-of-age story. What more could you want?
Thanks for writing for us, Aisha!
Aisha is 20 years old, currently studying Creative Writing at the University of Winchester. She loves cocktails, anything orange and being outside. Travelling is one of her passions and she hopes to go all around the world in her lifetime! Follow Aisha on Instagram and check out her blog to read more of her work!
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