Just like most people, I’m sure that if I asked you for your favorite Netflix show, you would give me many different answers. Most of you would probably say Stranger Things or Orange Is The New Black. Others might point to the Marvel Netflix shows. And even more people might indicate Big Mouth or House of Cards as their favorites. Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. In fact, I’m going to go on the record and say that, right now, Netflix’s Sex Education is not only the best show to come out on the streaming service, but it may be one of the best television shows that I have watched in the 24 years of my life. That may seem like an exaggeration, but trust me, I’ve watched a lot of TV shows in my life.
Now some of you may not agree with me. If you’ve only ever seen trailers for the show or a couple of clips here or there, then the takeaway may be, “Yeah, this show looks neat, but it can’t be that good.” This used to be me as well. But then I watched it, and it blew my mind.
So what is Sex Education about?
Sex Education is a British dramedy series that follows Otis Milburn (played by Asa Butterfield) — an insecure high schooler whose mother Jean (played by Gillian Anderson), is a sex therapist. Due to his own awkwardness and his mother’s openness about sex, Otis is pretty indifferent as opposed to his classmates. However, it’s high school, so everyone is having their share of sexual woes. So Otis teams up with social outcast and bad girl Maeve Wiley (played by Emma Mackey) to open up an underground sex clinic at their school offering advice to schoolmates. During all this, Otis and Maeve along with Otis’s best friend Eric (played by Ncuti Gatwa) are navigating their own issues with sex, relationships, and family drama.
As I mentioned, it takes place in high school with characters who are mostly 15-18 years old. Now if you’ve ever had experience with high school drama series like Degrassi or Riverdale, you may instantly get some bad juju vibes. Don’t get me wrong: Those shows are my guilty pleasure. But the characters on those shows never really seem like actual high school students.
But the characters in Sex Education are completely different. They feel like real teens who go through real issues.
Without a doubt, Otis is the best character in the show because we can all relate to him. We’ve all struggled with having feelings for someone who’s in a relationship or doesn’t like us back. Also, we’ve all experienced having to choose between your best friend and the person you like. We’ve all either been or known these types of people at some point in our life.
The show is also genuinely funny. For example, the humor for similar teen shows can often feel very forced, and the sex jokes can be very crude and kinda lame. But in this show, it’s actually handled very well. The jokes are never usually directed at the sex, and more so at the ways the characters react to it.
This isn’t to say that Sex Education can’t be serious when it wants to be.
In one episode, Eric is a victim of gaybashing and this event isn’t just played as a one off event for drama. It messes with him and traumatizes him for several episodes while also adding to the growing strain of his friendship with Otis, who he feels is abandoning him for Maeve. It’s a very unique way of weaving this into the story to set up both an internal and external conflict for both Eric and Otis. This isn’t an isolated event either. The show does a great job of tackling a lot of hard subjects, including abortion, homophobia, addiction, and sexual assault. It tackles these issues in unique ways that other shows may be either afraid to or aren’t capable of handling.
Sex Education is a tender coming-of-age story that explores the complexity of being a high schooler struggling to find your place in the world. It has a very simple message that everyone can learn from while giving us real characters with real problems. So if you’re going crazy in quarantine or just looking for something fun and unique to watch, please go check out Sex Education. This show doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserves.
Featured image via Netflix’s Sex Education