Roar writer Bianca Jituboh reviews the Netflix series “Sex Education”.
“Sex Education” is a British comedy-drama television series on Netflix created by Laurie Nunn, starring Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, and Gillian Anderson among others. The series is about an insecure teenager, Otis (Asa Butterfield) who is trying to navigate through his teenage years, especially when it comes to his sex life. This subject is hard for him to tackle as his mother (Gillian Anderson) is a sex therapist that tends to invade his personal life too often.
What drew people to the show was this storyline that completely pushes viewers out of their comfort zone. The directing style of the series is very raw and pure as the audience gets to participate in intimate scenes. It really shows a more mature, but at the same time, innocent side to teenagers that we don’t get to see in other coming-of-age television drama series. The diversity and casting of the characters on the show is also instantly eye-catching. Unlike the other series on Netflix, the cast represents a diverse ensemble of people which is very refreshing to see.
Something that could be done differently in the series would be the normalisation of teenagers not having sex in high school. Although the show does a great job at being straightforward with the activities done between them in high school, adding characters that don’t feel the need to lose their virginities at a young age would be more realistic. There is this constant stigma around high school students where all they look forward to is losing their virginities when in reality, that is not the case for everyone. This can add pressure onto teenagers to be or act a certain way.
The show also explores subjects such as consent and sexual identity acceptance. In Season 2, one of the main characters, Aimee Gibbs, is faced with sexual harassment from a middle-aged man when riding the bus to school. We see Aimee struggle mentally with what happened to her while suffering from social anxiety. Her character is embarrassed by the situation and tends to downplay it. It wasn’t until her female friends all decided to share their experiences and stories of sexual assault that she finally felt comfortable enough to share hers. That scene displayed true female leadership and empowerment.
Sexual acceptance is another topic as certain characters have a difficult time accepting their sexual orientation. Adam Groff, for example, is a character who is in denial of his bisexuality for fear of what others would think – an issue that is very recurrent in the LGBTQ+ community, as many feel scared and anxious with the idea of coming out. He battles to figure out which sex he is most attracted to, or as Gen Z would call it “Bi-panic”.
All in all, the show is a light but sweet coming-of-age romantic comedy surrounding topics that teenagers may or may not be able to relate to.