Courtesy of IMDB
Are you an undergraduate student at Case Western Reserve University?
If you circled yes, please stop reading this right now, pull up your roommate’s friend’s Netflix account, and watch all eight episodes of the first season of “Sex Education.” It’s a fantastically written and acted show, delivering complicated characters and packing some serious diversity in its on-screen characters. “Sex Education” also brings a compelling plot line that will leave you simultaneously rooting for the characters and hiding under your covers as the trauma of dating and sex in the context of high school plays out in front of you.
The show follows the plight of 16-year-old Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), the son of Dr. Jean F. Milburn (Gillian Anderson), a divorced sex therapist whose insistence of openness and lack of boundaries are both hilarious and painful to watch.
Otis begins the show as a quiet kid with one best friend, a gay child born to religious African immigrants, named Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa). The two exist mostly on the edges of their high school until Otis is convinced by Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) to follow in his mother’s footsteps and become a sex therapist for the school. While the plot design for the show—awkward kid meets girl, does a new thing and becomes a different person—isn’t all that original, the show itself is a breath of fresh air.
“Sex Education” is a mix of a comedy and a drama, giving it the range to cover all sorts of sex and relationship issues, which the show tackles with intelligence, creativity and a lot of humor. If the idea of quality sex counseling being delivered out of the mouth of a 16-year-old boy sounds weird, that’s because it is.
But the show is designed around that concept. The oddness of an awkward teenage boy delivering healthy relationship advice doesn’t take away from the value of his words and, in that sense, Otis is a mouthpiece for the show’s writers to talk not just to other characters, but to the general audience. Otis is a believable character and the journey of self-discovery that he is contractually obligated to go on as a Netflix character is charming to watch unfold.
The show’s attempts to tackle hard issues doesn’t stop at teenage sexuality either. Both Eric and Maeve struggle with their family. Eric is a gay teen in a traditional household trying to reconcile his family’s faith with his life. Maeve is an incredibly smart girl trapped in a living situation in which intelligence is frowned upon and the possibility of an educational future is limited at best.
“Sex Education” has been streaming for roughly a month, and already Netflix reports that it has been streamed 40 million times. Just make sure that you really think about who you watch the show with—maybe stick to significant others and definitely avoid parents—and that you don’t start the show in a public space.
“Sex Education” is available for streaming on Netflix.