Created by Laurie Nunn and premiered on Netflix in January 2019, Sex Education follows a socially awkward high school virgin, Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), who lives with his sex therapist mother, Dr Jean F. Milburn (Gillian Anderson). Otis and his best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) aren’t the kind of people who get invited to the best parties. But when Otis’ home life is revealed at school, Otis realizes that he can use his specialist knowledge to gain status. So, he teams up with social outcast Maeve (Emma Mackey) to set up a clinic to deal with their fellow students’ weird and wonderful problems. Through his analysis of teenage sexuality, Otis realises he may need some therapy of his own.
In the midst of dark thrillers and documentaries about serial killers, Sex Education is a refreshing comedy about a group of 21st-century teenagers.
Secondary school is a testing time, but Sex Education uses these obstacles and challenges in a comedic and sincere way. Things have changed a lot since I was in school, a time when I was outcasted for wearing more black than most and listening to different music, but younger people are a lot more accepting of people’s differing tastes in music, fashion, and sexual partners nowadays.
A modern-day Skins set in an Americanised high school, Sex Education is the teenage comedy we have been needing to showcase the changing of times with the revolution of individuality, promiscuity, and acceptance.
Sure, there are a lot more conflicts going on in schools than what this series explores, but it does touch on many of these more upsetting topics lightly to give a balance of experiences. At the same time, however, it does focus on the lighter subjects. It is a comedy, after all, but there’s still a lot of heart and emotion involved.
As one of the few things that has made me laugh out loud recently, I continued to laugh until the closing scenes. I grew to love these characters immensely. They each have their own quirks and issues to face, but they are also brought together with the main plot line that works like a teenager’s Embarrassing Bodies. Discussing a range of sexual issues from the different appearances of female genitalia, to a lack of a sex drive and the benefits of exploring masturbation.
A few years ago, this would have been a taboo subject for characters so young. Even Skins was criticised for breaking boundaries. But Sex Education handles its subject brilliantly, with these characters all coming together incredibly well to capture the definition of best friend goals.
I really can’t wait for another series of this and to see the return of the brilliant Asa Butterfield (known for films including The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Enders Game, Hugo, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) and his on-screen mother, X-Files‘ Gillian Anderson (who is incredibly sexy!).
It’s about time people realised how brilliant Asa is. Even though he’s had some amazing roles over the years, his talent is still often forgotten about. But it won’t be anymore. He absolutely stands out in this series, alongside the rest of the cast who you will adore just as much. Ncuti Gatwa, especially, is one of my new favourite people.
Now give me season two already!