Netflix Review: Sex Education

Last week on Jan. 17, Netflix released the second season of the hit teen dramedy “Sex Education,” which exceeded audience expectations, scoring even better ratings than its first season from last winter. “Sex Education” is the light-hearted high school series everyone has always wanted. It is just as dramatic and fun as your favorite teen show, but actually deals with issues you had in high school — most notably, the ones dealing with sex. Created by Laurie Nunn, the show challenges the taboo around open conversations about sex, especially ones with young adults in the midst of sexual discovery. Season two expands on the progress of season one, addressing sexuality outside the binary, kinks, hidden emotional abuse and the lasting mental effects of rape.

“Sex Education” follows teen Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) as he endures the dread of high school. But, of course, Otis does stand out in one way. His mother, Dr. Jean F. Milburn (Gillian Anderson), is a sex therapist and a source of embarrassment for the young teen. But thankfully for him, this sensitive spot does give him an upper hand on his other classmates. Growing up with a trained professional who constantly exposed him to manuals, guides and woefully open conversations has bestowed the great gift of sexual knowledge on Otis. He, along with the help of clever punk outcast, Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey), uses this odd expertise to start a business at school. Otis (reluctantly) gives sex and relationship advice to his peers in need of assistance in exchange for cash.

At the start of season two, though, it becomes clear to the school board that Mooredale is not doing enough to educate their students in their Sex Ed classes when a case of chlamydia causes a mass hysteria about the STI going airborne. To provide a solution to their deficiency in sex education, the school hires Dr. Milburn to step in and assess the situation. With his mom at school giving FREE sex advice, Otis is soon running out of customers, but this is only a secondary problem compared to the awkward teen’s romantic life. Despite and maybe because of his mistakes, though, Otis is constantly relatable.

“Sex Education” offers a refreshing look on what is possible when you confront the sexual elephant in the room. The countless cases of confused teens (and even sometimes adults) show that honesty is the best policy in relationships and that there is no shame in having questions in regards to sexual and romantic life. In fact, it might make it a whole lot easier to ask those questions than try to figure it out alone. If the public was able to approach sex and sexuality the way that this show does, the world might be a more willing-to-love, accepting place.

The show’s weaknesses include a slightly problematic relationship between Ncuti Gatwa’s character Eric and his ex-latent homosexual bully Adam (Connor Swindells). It is only mendable by seeing said bully as a character who has learned from his mistakes and changed for the better. That being said, at its best, “Sex Education” is a fantastic British take on the American high school which combats the sexual norm of silence all mangled up in an ‘80s wardrobe.  

The vibrancy of the characters and their lovable demeanors make “Sex Education” an absolute must in terms of binge-watching. With only eight episodes to make the magic last and a final episode that will tear at any watcher’s heart strings, new viewers will surely be added to the list of numerous fans waiting for a season three that is more than a year away.