‘Sex Education’: Virgin educates peers on how to have sex

New Netflix Original following a sexually awkward boy with a knack for sex therapy

Tess Petrillo, Staff Reporter
Originally published March 8, 2019

Sex is a concept and theme that is often glorified in TV shows and movies, but Netflix’s new original “Sex Education” is an exception. The show follows the life of the mysterious rebel Maeve Wiley, (Emma Makey) loveable, flamboyant Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), and his best friend Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield); the sex therapist.

Attempting to navigate high school, Otis and Eric stick together, dreaming of being invited to the next party or going a day without being harrassed by one of the school bullies. Otis discovers his hidden aptitude for sex therapy, a resource that quickly becomes utilized by the high school students.

However, the show does not specifically follow Eric and Otis’ high school experience, it also catches a glimpse into the life of characters such as Jackson, the beloved athlete, or Lily, the sex addict. The diversity of characters in the show manage to not completely conform to any specific stereotype, making it versatile enough to relate with any high schooler while also being extremely entertaining. I enjoyed this specific aspect because it allowed me to relate to each character in a different way, making each storyline more interesting and personal.

Awkward and sexually confused Otis has spent most of his life being single-handedly parented by his caring and slightly over analytical mother, local sex therapist Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson). Because of his mother’s profession, Otis has always been surrounded by an array of glass dildos and sex toys along with all his mother’s knowledge relating to sex therapy.

This greatly influences Otis’ perspective on sex, both repressing his sexual urges and enhancing his expertise. While this part of Otis’ life makes for a unique high school experience, it comes in handy when he becomes addressed by the array of problems that his fellow classmates have with sex.

This “business” or “clinic” is run by Maeve, whom Otis becomes quickly close with over the season. While this aids in Otis’ journey to popularity and confidence, it intervenes with his relationship with Eric and his mother, causing both a disruption and adaptation to Otis’ social life. Otis struggles with finding a way to balance life he shares with Maeve and his clinic, and the life he shares with Eric and his mother.

Things become even more complicated when Otis discovers feelings towards Maeve that are more than platonic, and it is difficult to tell whether she feels the same way.

The comical and amusing storyline is accompanied by aesthetically pleasing setting of the Wye Valley countryside. The beauty of the shots displayed a level of cinematography far above the standard teenage comedy. But this is feature makes the show appealing to a variety of audiences–able to please those who can admire the comedy as well as the cinematography and film craftsmanship.

While shot in present day, the show embodies the same retro and nostalgic feeling of 80s and 90s films. This this aesthetic adds to the classic and timeless coming of age feel that was portrayed in original John Hughes films from the 80s, while also complementing the more contemporary teen high school story.

Overall, these diverse features are what make the show appeal to a wide audience. Perfect for any high school student who’s sick of thinking that the film industry makes sex look too easy, or for anyone who wants to laugh and relate to the characters experiences.