Netflix’s raunchy TV series, “Sex Education,” has some great belly laughs, along with poignant moments.
The TV show stars Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn, a high-schooler who runs a sex clinic with a girl, and Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong, Otis’ best friend, who is trying to come to terms with his homosexuality.
Additionally, the show features Gillian Anderson as Jean Milburn, Otis’s mother, Emma Mackey as Maeve Wiley, Otis’ female partner.
Otis is a quirky, yet charming teenage boy, whose best friend is Eric – an upbeat, sincere, gay teenager. Things are somewhat awkward back at home, since his mother is a sex therapist. Due to this, Otis feels most comfortable at school, despite being unpopular.
On the other hand, there’s Maeve, a teenage girl who is struggling to find money in order to pay her rent. Unlike Otis, she lives in a trailer park and doesn’t have a family. But when Maeve realizes Otis’s mother is a sex therapist, she befriends him, and they set up a sex therapy clinic at school, in which students pay cash in order to talk about their sexual problems.
As ridiculous as it may sound, the Netflix original actually succeeds in delivering laugh-out-loud moments through otherwise cringe-inducing situations. Part of its success is due to the casting of Butterfield and Mackey, who deliver believable romantic chemistry.
Along with Mackey, Butterfield and Gatwa’s friendship is believable and carries the show past the usual clichéd falling-in-love story.
Surprisingly, the show hasn’t won any awards yet, even though it has some of the most accurate portrayals of teenage romance. In other words, the writing is near flawless, despite having a somewhat cheesy conclusion to the end of the first season.
Whether it’d be from Otis expressing his anger towards his mother, to the falling out of his best friend, the writing is original and thoughtful. It perfectly captures the awkwardness of high school, but the sex scenes seem drawn out and uncomfortable, but not in a good way.
And while the show does deal with some hard topics and subject matter, the writers take full advantage of the cringe-worthy scenarios, and feature some really hysterical, yet uncomfortable dialogue between the characters. After all, some of the best comedy comes from awkward scenarios.
Along with the writing, the soundtrack is superb and well-composed. For the most part, it is light, yet energetic, but in serious situations, it slows down to match the somber tone of the scene.
But above all else, the TV show wouldn’t be as successful as it is without the cinematography, which is absolutely gorgeous. This is due to the fact that the show is set – and filmed – in Wales.
The scenery is jaw-dropping – rolling green hills, shiny blue rivers, and clear skies. For the most part, it almost looks like something you’d see right out of a landscape painting.
Along with the scenery, the camera-work is complex and often uses 4K drone-footage while Otis and Eric are biking to school – panning across multiple tall, blossoming trees.
Also, the green-orange color palette adds an extra dimension to the cinematography. Not only is the camerawork smooth and fluid, but the colors are pure and vibrant, since they truly pop.
While there were problems with the ending of the first season, it sets up a great story arc for the next season. Despite this, I appreciate how the writers of the show weren’t afraid to leave the audience with an ending in which not everything works out for all the characters.
It realistically portrays the life of students without glossing over their experiences.
“Sex Education” is a great example of how high school is hard, but can end up being the most influential and fun experience of your life.
The show dares to push the boundaries of typical sitcoms in the best – and most awkward – way possible.