Sex Education and how it taught me that my virginity (and yours) don’t matter

It’s 5 am and I am about to pass out, but it was worth it!

I’ve just finished watching Sex Education after a long marathon that I started 8 hours ago. 8 hours for eight episodes of one hour each. Makes sense, right? This is immediate, off the bat, super first impression. Can’t get any fresher. 

What do I mainly think of this series? I love it, for a bunch of very different reasons that I will explain. Bear with me through all of this.

First of all: the plot is amazingly cliché. Typical Netflix teen drama, like Thirteen Reasons Why. As far as the plot goes, it’s something we have already seen. Even better, the plot plays among the stereotypical teen drama clichés and characters. We have the nerd with “the gift”, the gay friend, the punk but incredibly smart girl. All of these things are so typical, yet this series masters them so beautifully together. It uses obvious schemes and plot twists. It builds up your expectations and anxiety towards the climax and yet, it makes you feel every single bit of it. You know what is coming, but you keep biting into your pillows asking yourself if it is really going to happen.

Another great thing about this series, as well as other series by Netflix, is the marvelous use of music to set the mood for every scene. We have already seen it in many other movies, but this goes particularly well along with the rhythm of the plot. The use of different styles to represent different moods and different characters makes you used to the feel of every aspect of the life of these teens. 

Every character is cliché in his creation, but their evolution is not. Don’t start watching this series believing in your utter pride to know how it is going to end. Your jaw is going to drop way more than just one time. The focal point of the protagonist is sexuality. God knows how many of us have experienced the kind of anxiety and problems he goes through, yet we are so afraid to speak about them. This series is so brave showing us that there is no shame in being a virgin at 16, not even at 21 or 25. Calm down everyone, sex is not this big of a deal. This series put the stress on what really matters: feeling good about ourselves, about others and how we feel and interact with each other. Like Eric, the gay friend, would say: «Why would you be such a dickhead?»

Maybe it is just my hyper-empathy, but every scene was an emotional roller-coaster. Emotional distress, past traumas, social humiliation, blackmailing are all topics explained during the series. The effort that has been put into the creation of an entertaining and educational series is brightly showing, and it definitely pays off. We can see a whole bunch of hateful “American high school” stereotypes getting thrown out of the window, besides the series takes place in England which really helps to get out of the sometimes suffocating American society. There are black characters, gay married couples, gay and lesbian teens that live their life without following a boring pre-made narrative. Well, some of them do, but some of them do not. This right balance of cliché and not-so-cliché makes it feel much more real and definitely more relatable.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to daydream about my latest OTP and listen to a Spotify compilation of all the songs in this series. See you around, wanker!

 

Luca Ortolani

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