Sex education is a show that does what most teenage-based shows fail to do, especially American shows.
It has good writing, which still matters unlike in shows such as Riverdale. It also has good acting and is intelligent and doesn’t depend on the mere looks and attractiveness of its main cast.
A lot of teenage dramas nowadays try to force a woke message on the audience, and most do in a way that’s in your face, lazy, and not genuine. The problem here is that even though you agree with the message that is being portrayed on the screen it’s still annoying to watch, but this show is not like that.
Sex education as a show treats the audience with respect and intelligence and takes us along with the story rather than just show it to us.
The show always has a lot of messages to portray to the audience without it negatively affecting the storyline, and doesn’t treat the audience like idiots. It also showcases and treats diversity as a normal thing, whether it be racially or sexually.
For example, what a lot of shows do to “show” representation is to have a gay couple on screen and making their only traits being gay, instead of the actual people they truly are. And the gay characters are not stuck in a storyline that shows their only problem is being gay, the show brings out and develops characteristics for them and shows them in different scenes too.
P.O.C’s in the show is also represented properly and are now showcased to be a performative media act by the writers.
Sex education on the top layer is a show about sexualities and the different groups in it, but in reality at its core, sex education is about human connection.
It is a beautiful series, who’s story is a hundred percent driven by its characters. All the writing for the character’s storylines are beautifully done and never over-shown as something glamourous.
Sex education is a story about the main protagonist Otis Milburn (played by the amazing Asa Butterfield), an awkward 16-year-old who knows a lot about Sex due to his mother being a Sex therapist but is repressed when it comes to his own sexuality.
Otis and his best friend Eric (played by Ncuti Gatwa) go about their lives going not very noticed by their peers. A series of events then leads Otis to give sex advice to the school’s bully, when his advice seems to work, a girl names Maeve (played by Emma Mackey) gets the idea to team up with Otis to create a sex therapy business in the school to make money.
This makes it as a great base for the writers to elevate each of the characters in the series and make something out of it, which they have done beautifully.
But what makes this show stand out so much more than the others, is that it serves as a giant rebuttal to the tropes and cliches we have all come to know in American TV shows.
A lot of America’s teen drama heavily focuses on stereotypes and overly loud characters with one trait that repeats itself over and over again.
Like the “bad boy with the heart of gold” (Damon Salvatore from Vampire diaries and Jughead Jones from Riverdale), the “sassy gay best friend” (Julian from Emily in Paris), the “one mean girl” (Cheryl blossom from Riverdale and Regina George from Mean girls), the “emo girl who can’t make friends” and ‘the jock”.
We’ve all seen these types of characters overused one way or another like every 2000’s Disney channel film.
What sex education has done is deconstruct those cliché’s ad presented them in a much more humanistic manner. A lot of characters are showcased as very specific stereotypes at first and then they slowly unravel into having other traits and a whole life behind them, the show has done this so beautifully that a series could be made on each and every character and not be boring.
It’s amazing how to show doesn’t focus on crazy unachievable or unbelievable storylines or plot twists for shock value so that the viewer could stay on for season 13 of a very bad show.
Sex education is a hundred percent focused on its characters and taking us along with the story only. Another thing that makes the audience grasp is that these teenagers actually feel like teenagers.
A huge thing about American TV shows is that the characters don’t look like teenagers, talk like teenagers or have a finding-one-self time like teenagers.
Otis Milburn is the main protagonist of the show but doesn’t have as much character as the others, which I think was done on purpose because he is as simple as humanly possible and this was done perfectly well, it really feels like the average teenage kid trying to figure out stuff while getting through high school. The show honestly wouldn’t work if Otis wasn’t a normal teenage boy.
Otis is trying to figure out his sexuality but something in his brain is mentally blocking but he doesn’t know why, he also has somewhat of a sexual phobia. He knows a lot about sex because his mother is a sex therapist and decides to help others through their journey.
Otis makes himself the middle man with no biases and Asa Butterfield does an excellent job of portraying that.
Maeve Wiley is an excellent character beautifully written by the writers and is honestly one of the best-written characters I have seen. The show has given Maeve the character of a strong female character, but have flipped it around. That doesn’t make her not a strong character, but the writers have changed the way it makes her that.
Hollywood has this clouded perception of a strong female character being mean to everyone, being in a high position of power, or having a lot of money while being single, and this kind of sums up as the only personality trait they have.
The show uses this to portray and unravel her character from being a “girl boss” to an actual person. Maeve all around is a very rude character, hating everyone around her and everyone hating her, but that doesn’t affect her, but the writers have made it a point to not make this the reason for her being a strong female character, a lot of Maeve’s arc in the show is her working on herself and getting out this trait of being mean to everyone, we learn her story and see her weak at times which really makes us sympathize with her.
Eric Effiong (played by Ncuti Gatwa) is Otis’s best friend and the show tries to portray him as the sassy gay black best friend, but we quickly learn that there is more to what meets the eye.
Eric and Otis are the high schools nobody’s just trying to get through it, and are kind of like brothers due to the fact that they knew each other from a very young age.
The show has portrayed them as being soul mates, which is honestly one of the most heart-warming things. But there is one difference – while Otis likes being a ghost in high school, Eric doesn’t.
Eric wants to be seen as who he is, as being repressed and in the closet has made him want to be loud and more of himself, and the show has carried out that theme perfectly.
His character arc in this show is one of the best, the writers have completely broken the stereotype here, and Eric is not a sassy black friend but has deeper emotions and is not being used as a side character despite being one.
Usually, the second lead is tied to the main protagonist but here Eric is more often seen doing his own thing, dealing with his own problems.
In season 1, Eric is seen having problems with mostly his father who is accepting of the fact that he is gay, but is not okay with the fact that Eric is displaying it to the world and how he might get treated for that. Their complex journey is very well written and does keep the readers on the edge of their seats.
There are many other characters who do justice to the show, like I mentioned earlier, every character is so well written you could make a series out of each of their lives.
The show just has a way of making these characters very human-like, it has this type of charisma that makes other shows (mostly American) look very pathetic. The show is very natural which makes you attached to the characters even more.
This show has honestly re-written how I look at any other show, giving me such high expectations.
If you still haven’t watched the show, I highly recommend it.