“Sex Education” makes a surface level attempt to break the mold and only lands with inattentive audiences. This show is one of Netflix’s most recent attempts at a hit. However, it comes off just so — as an attempt. With a storyline full of tropes it is clear the show is trying too hard.
“Sex Education” is highly entertaining and kept me smiling or laughing throughout. Awkward and relatable jokes bring a lighthearted aspect to an overall mediocre show. Unfortunately, the writing is the only thing that pushes the envelope, and it doesn’t translate to the overall storyline.
This show finds itself overflowing with tropes. The good boy falling for the edgy girl, the edgy girl falling for the jock guy, the popular girl bouncing from boyfriend to boyfriend and poor handling of gay stereotypes make this show feel paper thin.
One redeeming aspect is the show’s ability to introduce tough topics. Sex and abortion are so stigmatized it can be difficult to discuss these in mainstream television. An episode about abortion does a good job discussing many aspects of the issue including the hardships of being pro-choice and the inconsistencies with being pro-life.
However, despite the show’s name, it doesn’t provide an accurate definition of sex. Otis (Asa Butterfield) is the son of a sex therapist (Gillian Anderson) and when he asks for the definition of sex she says, “Sex is when a man puts his penis inside a woman’s vagina.” Although this was probably an accurate definition for the time of the flashback scene it is now considered old-fashioned and heteronormative. It was irresponsible for Netflix to solely define sex in this inaccurate and restrictive way especially since the word sex is in the title.
The show’s mildly entertaining qualities and new-wave humor in “Sex Education” are not enough to make up for its gaping lack of social consciousness.
“Sex Education”: ★★★☆☆