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Netflix Sex Education (Netflix) (1 Viewer)

Adam Lenhardt

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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

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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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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.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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So glad to have this one back. All of the characters are so well-defined and well-serviced for such a large ensemble, but they're allowed to grow and change and evolve. And despite the weird modern-Britain-meets-seventies-Americana aesthetic, the interpersonal stuff all feels so on point.

I'm three episodes in, and about to start the fourth. I'm going to try and save the second half of the third season for tomorrow night.
 

KeithDA

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I've watched all of series 3 and I wonder if Covid filming restrictions hindered the plot developments. I enjoyed it (of course!) but I thought it wasn't as good as S1 & 2. It doesn't quite end up where you might think either... ;)
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Ended up stopping after three last night, and watched episodes four and five tonight. Saving the last three for tomorrow night.

It makes perfect sense geographically, but it's still so weird to me that going to France from England is basically the equivalent of going from New York to New Jersey.

The trip was predictably hilarious though, and contained a moment I've been waiting for since the end of season one.

Episode 1 seemed flat to me. Enough with the old headmaster and his dopey son.
I really love Adam's story, and not just because he has the same name as me. Dysfunction tends to echo down the generations, and it's really compelling to see how Adam recognizes his father's failings and is actively trying to break the cycle.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Finished the third season tonight. I really enjoyed it. Just about every character really grew and that growth didn't come easily.

I've watched all of series 3 and I wonder if Covid filming restrictions hindered the plot developments.
Given the degree of, er, physical intimacy portray I don't think COVID had much of an impact, for better or for worse.

It doesn't quite end up where you might think either... ;)
I liked where they left everybody except for one thing:
The paternity test presumably revealing that Jakob is not the baby's father. I get why they did it, because it really throws a wrench into things just as Jean, Jakob, Otis and Ola were coalescing into a proper family unit. And I can't say that the show didn't play fair since the odds a woman in her late forties and a man with a vasectomy conceiving a child are astronomically low. But I liked the idea of them all being connected by blood, and that this baby meant that they couldn't ever entirely go their separate ways.

Maeve going away to study in America was absolutely the right call. If she had turned it down for Otis, she would have resented him for it. And Otis didn't get petulant at the devastating news; instead, he told her he was proud of her, which was exactly the right thing to say. I do hope the next season picks up after a time jump with Maeve returning, so we don't have to spend yet another season with the two of them mostly apart.

I wanted to stand up and cheer when Groff told off his brother, both because his brother is truly deplorable and deserved it, and because it showed how far he'd come as a person. I really hope that he begins to make amends to Adam before the series ends.

Speaking of Adam: I was really glad he still went to the dog show and pursued his passion even after the tough breakup with Eric.

Cal is an interesting character, and this season really only scratched the surface since we mostly saw them through Jackson's point of view. A very chill personality, but also quite a bit of insecurity still being worked through.
 

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