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Sex Education (Netflix) (1 Viewer)

Adam Lenhardt

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Feb 16, 2001
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Every episode opens with a fairly graphic depiction of a different sexual dysfunction, so this show won't be for everybody.

But I'm six episodes in, and unless the final two really suck, this will be my favorite coming of age story on television since "Freaks and Geeks". It's a British show (albeit with an oddly American-feeling high school), so there's not a lot of emoting going on, but there is mostly definitely a lot of feelings going on.

Asa Butterfield (Hugo, Ender's Game) stars as Otis Milburn, a 16-year-old with an encyclopedic knowledge of sex and sexual anatomy thanks to his sex therapist parents, but severe hang-ups about actually engaging in sexual acts himself.

Gillian Anderson plays his mother, Jean, who is portrayed with the same attention and depth as the teenage protagonists. She feels a bit like a John Irving creation; not a bad mother, but not an easy mother to live with, either.

Newcomer Emma Mackey plays Maeve Wiley, the girl at school with the worst reputation but greatest academic potential. She is brilliant, but her life started hard and has constantly seemed to put obstacles in her way ever since. She and Otis start as business partners but quickly become friends.

Ncuti Gatwa plays Eric Effiong, Otis's best friend from childhood -- very flamboyant and very desperate. He starts out as the gay confidant, but quickly starts off on his own journey, which has more than its fair share of cruelty and adversity.

All of the characters are so well-rendered and acted. Even the smaller roles feel so fully realized. There is an episode early on centered around an abortion, and both the women having abortions and the anti-abortion protestors are allowed the space and complexity to be human beings, with flaws and insecurities and small moments of decency.

That episode made me sit up and take notice, and the subsequent episodes rewarded that additional attention.

It's not an especially sophisticated or artistically complex show, but it does its unobtrusive, naturalistic storytelling really well.
 

Adam Lenhardt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2001
Messages
24,001
Location
Albany, NY
Finished the second season tonight. I think I loved it even more than the first season. My one complaint was that the story being told necessitated Otis and Maeve being separated for the majority of the season. Hopefully their paths intertwine again in the third season.
 

Greg.K

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Joined
Sep 15, 1998
Messages
2,209
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NY
Real Name
Greg K.
My wife and I just finished binging both seasons of this show, and now can’t wait for season 3. Quite a well written show, deftly balancing humor with the serious aspects of the subject matter.
 

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