Netflix’s Sex Education is cringey in all the right ways

Roisin Maguire explores the world of Netflix's Sex Education

Netflix’ Sex Education is embarrassingly truthful in its representation of human beings as sexual creatures.

This series documents the desire of young people to know everything about sex, what is normal, how it works and how to get it and this is the fundamental drive of the show.

Created by Laurie Nunn with the first half of the season directed by Ben Taylor and the second half  directed by Kate Herron, the show is sweet and dramatic.

The main character Otis, played by Asa Butterfield, is a 16 year old school student living with his mother Jean, played by Gillian Anderson who is a sex therapist which of course makes for a complicated yet interesting relationship.

Jean, whether she notices it or not, loves to use very embarrassing techniques to describe aspects of sex that Otis can’t bear to hear.

This is then emphasised with the tasteful artwork featured around the house of which demonstrates the love she has for her career and profession.

His enterprising friend Maeve, played by Emma Mackey, notices that he has developed the skills of his mother and encourages him to start a “sex clinic” where she finds the clients and receives half the cut.

What kickstarted Otis career is one student, Adam, whose official notes would basically read “large penis, can’t ejaculate.” This problem is solved through Otis’ skills developed unknowingly from his mother.

The electric cast is what makes the show as the preconceptions of each character are very different to what they turn out to be.

For example, Maeve is expected to be a tough girl who can’t feel emotion but we find out that she is living alone in a small mobile home and writing other students’ homework to pay the rent.

We find out that Otis’ mother, Jean, has issues with serious relationships and only has occasional sex with no strings attached.

Otis’ gay friend, Eric, played by Ncuti Gatwa, is fighting a battle with his identity, despite his eccentric personality.

Each character has their own background story and the preconceptions that this series will be a cheesy show about teenagers who are wild and unruly are fortunately untrue.

While the series features a fair amount of jocks and princesses, the characters developed into really likeable people and along with many scenes of English forests and greenery, the world within ‘Sex Education’ is one where many would aspire to live.

The actress, Gillian Anderson’s resume is packed with very serious dramas beyond ‘X Files’ with shows such as ‘The Fall’ and ‘Hannibal,’ so Anderson is really branching out with ‘Sex Education’.

This is the first adult or young adult role for Butterfield which may have altered some peoples performance. However he is confident in his role as the main character and has transitioned well from a child actor to a young adult actor.

The message that ‘Sex Education’ is trying to get out to viewers is that not every 16 year old is ready for sex and not everyone is actually doing it. Without giving any spoilers, the very last show also gives viewers the hint at a season two.

Roisin Maguire

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