«Sexification» / Sexify
Creators Kalina Alyabrudzinska, Piotr Domalevsky
Cast Aleksandra Skraba (Natalia), Maria Sobocinska (Paulina), Sandra Drymalska (Monika), Piotr Pacek (Mariusz), Bartosz Gelner (Bartosz), Wojciech Solarz (Krynicki), Cesary Pazura (Marek), Zbigniew Zamachowski (Dean) and others
Release year 2021
It’s rather surprising to see a Polish series on Netflix that explores sexuality and creates funny situations with little to no American cues. In Sexify, realities are closer to us, in which we can recognize conservative parents, omniscient caretakers, annoyed deans. There are also awkwardly boring couples at the university on weekdays, as well as excruciatingly noisy family gatherings on the weekends. And students who care about completely different things.
Natalia is the best student of the course, who is striving to get into the national competition of student startups. She created an application that will help optimize sleep. However, the head of graduation projects believes that this will not captivate anyone at all, so the professor is ready to support an absurd but fun idea with an ionized gel that changes hair color via Bluetooth. After the failure, the heroine has only a couple of months to come up with a more impressive project that can really attract attention. Natalia does research and realizes that her next app will be about sex – because everyone around her is talking and thinking only about it. The only problem is that up to this point, Natalya has not shown any interest in this topic, which means that she will need outside help.
The peculiarity of the Sexify series is that it does not try to be serious and at the same time almost does not slide into an empty joke below the belt. Naturally, it is full of explicit scenes, and they all illustrate student life (especially student life in a hostel, where privacy and soundproofing are a special privilege). But in the end, the showrunners take on more serious issues rather easily, bringing up the topic of self-awareness, their desires and the future, not imposed by family settings.
In the conditions of never-ceasing student noise, it is amusing to watch the main character, who perceives the information quite literally and in her own way directly, missing emotional details that are alien to her. Now Natalia is going to optimize not sleep, but female orgasm, approaching this issue with all the seriousness of a scientific approach. She would love to discuss the new project with Marie Sklodowska-Curie, but this woman does not answer her from the poster on the wall, so she has to look for colleagues who are more sociable and, importantly for the new application, real practitioners.
So two more storylines appear in the series, going side by side: the story of a free and wealthy student who is forced to temporarily move to a hostel, and the story of a Catholic woman who hides her life together with her boyfriend from her parents. This is where the plot could get too banal, but the creators of the series start from life-smart situations and, without reducing the comic, move on to a clear definition of problems that require the characters to have the courage to admit that they are no longer in control of the situation. So the heroes get into the new atmosphere of Warsaw, which sometimes resembles a free Berlin.
As you might expect, the series doesn’t focus too much on programming skills, so the main character spends a lot more time on the research visualization board than on the process of creating the application itself, which is pretty ridiculous. I don’t particularly believe that students will be able to implement such a project within the walls of the university – here the scriptwriters themselves create a conflict that grows like a snowball, provoking the leaders of the educational institution. By the way, the behavior of the dean, performed by the famous actor Zbigniew Zamakhovsky, as well as the commission convened by him, conveys with great wit the moments in which one can recognize almost any of our universities.
Unlike Sex Education, where quite a variety of topics of sex are raised, the series reveals only the female side of the issue. In addition, the showrunners, without malice, sneer at the severity of morals inherent in Polish Catholics, and with the help of three main storylines they say simple things – all people are different, everyone has their own way of knowing oneself. The result is modern, situationally funny and carefree.
It is quite clear that Sexify will not be able to appeal to a wide audience. He will annoy someone with his theme, and someone will not stand the repetitive moaning soundtrack and the long duration of the episodes (there are episodes of 50 minutes, which could well have been shortened without loss of meaning). However, we have to admit that for the first Polish series on Netflix, which takes on the study of sexual desires, the result is pretty good.
Pluses: life-witty situations in which student life and family conservatism are beaten; three very different main characters; the theme of awareness of oneself and one’s desires Cons: too long episodes for a comedy (they could be shortened without losing the meaning); the series is dedicated to the application, but the technical side of the issue is shown a bit ridiculously. Conclusion:
an unexpectedly good Polish series about sex, in which there is much less variety of topics than in Sex Education, but there are much more funny situations that coincide with our realities.