Reviews Television

Refreshingly diverse ‘Sex Education’ takes on taboos

A scene from the second season of "Sex Education." (Netflix website)

LONDON – From the title alone, I thought “Sex Education” would be another poor Netflix show centered on sexualizing teenagers.

After binge-watching all three seasons, I was surprised at how the show tackled taboos surrounding teenage life.

“Sex Education” perfectly blends comedy with real life issues. Arguably, it is the best British teen show released in the past five years. 

Season 1 follows socially awkward teenager Otis (Asa Butterfield) who teams together with outcast Maeve (Emma Mackey) to run an undercover sex therapy business in his school. The show’s premise is witty in itself, but what really ties the show together is the cast. 

Ncuti Gatwa, who plays Eric Effiong, a gay Nigerian/Ghanaian teen gives a brilliant performance each season. As a Nigerian, it is great to see this representation, especially in Season 3.

Gatwa’s comedic delivery paired with his personality makes Eric a lovable character. 

“Sex Education’s” diverse cast is refreshing and each character seems like a real person. The show gives each character their own authentic storyline which ties together to cover a range of issues – like sexual harassment on public transport or conflicts within the family.

Taboos like abortion and masturbation pertaining to teens are not shamed, but made to educate viewers.

Where other shows tend to make sexuality or race a burden for characters to deal with, “Sex Education” allows their characters to become confident within their identities.

The show gives great representation of both those with disabilities and the LGBTQ community. My favorite character is Jackson Marchetti, played by Kedar Williams-Stirling. His portrayal of a black teen dealing with anxiety is genuine. 

Each season adds layers and breaks the rigid mindsets viewers may have initially held. Season 3 specifically gives a realistic take on how the education system can make students comply to become carbon copies instead of individuals. 

There are so many more questions that ‘Sex Education’ is yet to answer and I am sure this will be tackled in Season 4, due to come out this year.

I would recommend that every teenager watch this show. “Sex Education” is both a refreshing and comedically brilliant show.

Anjola Fashawe is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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