The small town of Moordale in the UK. The city has a high school where Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) is a student. Otis is a typical nerd. He is still a virgin, ashamed of his body and his sexual responses, horrified at the thought of masturbating. He has a flexible mind, he studies well, but he does not enjoy any popularity in the class – well, a nerd and a nerd.
Otis’ psychological problems are exacerbated by the fact that both of his parents – long-departed father Remy (James Purefoy) and mother Jean (Gillian Anderson), who is raising her son alone – are specialists in the field of sexology. Since childhood, Otis has heard a lot about everything related to sex and the psychology of sexual relations, and the mother constantly works out her psychological research on her son, which greatly exacerbates Otis’s problems.
Otis’ best and only friend is African-British Eric Efjong (Shuti Gatwa). He grew up in a very religious family and is the only son among several children. Eric is openly gay, and it is very difficult for his family to accept the sexual orientation of his son, because in their religion same-sex relationships are a terrible sin.
At school, Eric is constantly getting annoyed by Adam Groff (Connor Swindells) – a tall athletic guy, a big slob, a bully and a bully. Adam is the son of the principal of the school, Mr. Groff (Aleister Petri), a very stern, tough and authoritarian man.
Adam has a bunch of different psychological problems, and at some point, Otis, who is very well versed in psychology, since he grew up on all this since childhood, offers to help Adam solve these problems – in exchange for the fact that he will stop annoying Eric.
Otis managed to help Adam. All this is seen by “bad girl” Maeve Wiley (Emma McKee), who has a scandalous reputation at school and is afraid to mess with, and she offers Otis a partnership. The guy will advise other students on all sorts of sexual problems, and Maeve will find clients for him and get money from them.
A new British series made for Netflix. It is very curiously made. It starts like a comedy, and you expect the series to show how Otis gets into various awkward and humiliating situations, and how he gets out of it all.
Of course, there are enough humiliating situations for Otis, but the series does not concentrate on this at all. Despite the fact that it has a lot of funny and downright funny moments, the series at the same time talks about quite important things that not only teenagers, but also adults face. How to overcome shyness, how to resolve certain incompatibilities or misunderstandings between sexual partners, how to deal with school bullying, how to escape poverty if you have to rely only on yourself, how to explain to parents that a child is not a very suitable subject for professional experiments, how to make you reckon with, well, how to accept yourself for who you are.
Many of these questions both Otis and the other characters on the show have to deal with. And here it is just interesting how and with whose help these issues are resolved.
Asa Butterfield is great as Otis. (By the way, this actor, at the age of twenty-two, starred in more than two dozen films and TV shows.) He was very natural in his attempts to resist the demonic mother Jean, well, he looked incredibly funny in the role of a sex psychologist: a virgin nerd telling schoolchildren about about how sexual partners should behave, that was really cool.
Gillian Anderson as Jean – something incredible! It has always been known that she is an actress rather self-ironic, but there is just some kind of fountain of self-irony and charm. How she talks about sex, how she behaves with patients, how she takes care of Otis, how she rushes into all sorts of easy sexual relationships (in the town of Moordale, Jean is terribly popular) – well, just a masterpiece role.
The third most interesting character in the series is Maeve Wiley, brilliantly played by Emma McKee. (She is often compared to Margot Robbie, and indeed, Maeve is somewhat reminiscent of Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad.) Maeve lives in a trailer village with all the poor, often sits without a penny of money, but she is smart, fond of literature and music, knows how to fight back those who mock her. Behind the external ruff, as a way to resist the cruel world, there is a kind person who knows how to empathize and sympathize. Another thing is that who would sympathize and empathize with her – she lives very hard. But she doesn’t give up.
In the series, it is very interesting to observe her complex relationship with Otis: initially, she sees him simply as a means of making money, but as their story develops, Maeve’s attitude towards Otis noticeably changes.
Maeve is also dating the school’s favorite swimmer, Jackson Marchetti (Kedar Williams-Stirling). Maeve just fucks with Jackson, she doesn’t have any special feelings for him, and Jackson is just trying to win the girl’s love, but he can’t do much with it. And then Jackson turns to Otis for help with this case – very interesting collisions turn out there.
In general, I must say that the series is rich in interesting characters. There they can be listed for a long time: the bully Adam, the son of the director, with whom a lot of things will be connected here, and the director himself, brilliantly played by Alistair Petri, and the two mothers of Jackson Marchetti (they are a same-sex couple), and the school club “The Untouchables”, and a very cool schoolgirl Lily Iglehart, who dreams of losing her virginity, and plumber Jacob Newman, with whom Otis’s mother started an affair, and Jacob Ola’s daughter.
In film history, the construction scheme of this series is called horizontal-vertical. A vertical scheme is when each episode is like a complete story and viewers can easily skip some episodes, because this will have little effect on perception. The horizontal scheme is when the characters of the series develop significantly in the process, they have complex interweaving of interests and relationships there, so if you skip something, then not everything will be clear. Here, on the one hand, the main characters develop noticeably, but, on the other hand, each series can concentrate on some new characters or events.
Great series (I’ve only watched the first season so far), I really liked it. And it seems to me that it will be well received by a very wide audience: both by teenagers, because it is about them and for them, and by adults, because, firstly, many of the problems discussed also concern adults (or their relationships with children) , and secondly, it will be useful for adults to understand what things excite modern youth. And let this be a secondary school in a small British town, but the problems are universal.
It’s just great from all sides: the script, the staging, and the acting. I really recommend it.
Sex Education serie meaning
Director: Laurie Nunn Cast: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Nshuti Gatwa, Emma McKay, Connor Swindells, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Alistair Petrie, Aimee Lou Wood, Tanya Reynolds, Patricia Ellison
Series, UK, 2019, 45 min. 2 seasons of 8 episodes