It’s a challenge to explain Netflix’s Sex Education to someone who knows nothing about it because it’s unlike any other show. Not just in its willingness to boldly and unapologetically tackle the world of sex in a British secondary school, but because of the way it does so with such warmth and heart.
Season 1 followed 16-year-old Otis (Asa Butterfield) whose mum, Jean (Gillian Anderson) is a sex and relationships therapist. He decides to run a sex clinic at his school, helping fellow students with their sex issues in return for a fee and, as imagined, madness ensues. Soon after its release, love for the show was widespread, and it wasn’t long before Netflix announced – to little surprise – that a second season was in the works. Season 2 provides another 8 episodes and opens with a new term at Moordale High; Otis has stopped giving out advice, and the Sixth Form has chlamydia hysteria.
New characters are introduced and added to the already amazing cast, each with their own personal plots and arcs, as well as the expansion and development of established characters. The success of such a large number of characters is down to the ways in which their stories are portrayed, as the show somehow manages to balance several complex and interlinking plotlines, many of which deal with taboo or difficult issues sensitively, while still providing the humour and shock factor that fans have come to expect.
The drama and darkness are turned up a notch, but as there are so many sub-plots to follow, so is the pace. While this aids the narrative in allowing the writers to dive into countless real-life issues, it means that at points, caring about all plotlines equally as a viewer can prove difficult. Furthermore, in order to provide a satisfactory ending, the final episode seems rushed in providing resolutions and tying up loose ends of the plot. However, Sex Education deserves endless credit for its willingness to shout about topics that other shows are afraid to even whisper of.
The music choices of Season 2 aid the shows appeal, with heart-breaking, uplifting and mellow choices of song acting as an invisible character of the show. Sex Education’s allure is also visual. While it is set in modern-day England, the locations and aesthetics are transnational and immortal; the jocks wear letter jackets and the interior design is straight out of the 70s. This bizarre world is expanded more in Season 2 as new locations crop up, but the colourful, stylish aesthetic remains and is carried into the new spaces. The easy-on-the-eye beauty of the show aids its binge-ability as well as helping it stand out amongst the hundreds of other teen shows.
If the first season of Sex Education is about teenagers having sex and all the issues that surround that, the second season is about life. Life at it’s absolute best and at its absolute worst.
Image: Movie DB
Rachel Yates is a Screen Contributor.
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