I wouldn’t consider myself, in any way really, to be a film buff. Though I scraped my way through first year Film Studies, I honestly didn’t pick up enough to be able to professionally analyse a piece of on screen art. However, I do feel that we are all perfectly capable of appreciating films and TV in so many different ways, more often than not simply linking their brilliance (or lack thereof) with how they make us feel.
Netflix’s Sex Education graced our screens in early January, and I finished it in two days. This show had me hooked from the first episode, and though since watching it I’ve had friends comment on things like the ‘inspired’ soundtrack and various other aspects of cinematic production that I barely have surface level knowledge of, I LOVED it for what I would consider to be far more simple reasons.
The show primarily focuses upon the character of Otis Milburn as he makes his way through his last two years of high school. It follows the highs and lows of his and his friend’s experiences, shining a rather intimate light, as it does so, on the ins and outs of their sex lives – specifically the problems these teens encounter as they try to find their feet in the world of sex and relationships. This all begins when the entire school find out that Otis’s mother is a sex therapist. Embarking on a profitable adventure, Otis is persuaded by his big time crush, Maeve Wiley, to help the students at their school with their sexual issues in exchange for money.
Described as “sexually repressed” by his best friend Eric, Otis trips his way through his own personal sexual journey as he attempts to help those around him. Each key character in the show has their moment in the spotlight as their issues are brought to the forefront of the action, and whilst every story is different, they are all connected through their questions, concerns and youthful first steps towards understanding sex outside of a classroom.
This show struck me, first and foremost, because of its relatability. I think we can all agree that some of the issues faced by these characters, both of the sexual and non-sexual variety, are those that we all experience at some point in our lives, particularly when we’re young adults. Within the show they are addressed, for the most part, with maturity and kindness – but ultimately, they are addressed and that’s what I think is so important. It’s inclusivity and bravery are especially admirable.
Though much of the show’s plot follows a typical teen high school experience, what kept me watching this series were the twists in the storyline that, for me, were truly unexpected. There were often times when I anticipated that the show would stray into a darker place just as they played off the scenario lightly, and with comic effect. Similarly, just when you thought you had the storyline pegged to be a more light hearted affair, it would flip into an emotional rollercoaster ride that had you strapped in right beside whichever character was in turmoil at the time.
For me, this show was bold in its honesty. It’s characters were encouraged to own their wants and needs, to explore every aspect of themselves and to seek help when help was needed. This is the kind of show that I wish had been around when I was sixteen and looking for answers to questions that I didn’t even know how to ask. Season 2 has officially been confirmed, and I can officially say that I CANNOT WAIT to see what’s in store for Otis and his friends. As well as being genuinely engaging and understandable, Netflix’s Sex Education is also extremely funny – and I for one really need some more of Eric’s positivity and humour in my life.