Oh, here we go again.
After much hype and significant praise from critics, Sex Education finally dropped on Netflix and it’s a huge letdown.
The series follows Otis, an awkward high school kid who ends up becoming a sex therapist to his classmates, despite being incredibly inexperienced himself.
Although the show marketed itself as “revolutionary,” “sexy,” and “raunchy,” Sex Education is, at its best, incredibly ordinary.
It relies on boring old tropes and character stereotypes. A loser guy falls in love with the rebel girl; a gay guy serves as the best friend/sidekick; the cool girl acts tough but is secretly sensitive on the inside. Haven’t we seen this all before?
It would be one thing if Sex Education tried to rework it into something new, or even better if it were funny. But it’s neither. It merely fumbles, along hitting every rom-com cliché as it goes.
Still not convinced? Here are a few more issues we had with the show.
1. It Features A Cis Hetero White Guy Giving Out Sex Advice
Apparently, Netflix thinks a straight white guy with zero experience is qualified to give sex advice just by sheer virtue of being a straight white guy.
I get it — he’s supposed to have gotten the gift from his mother, whom he’s watched advise the sex-troubled for years.
But he’s just as awkward as all of his peers and the idea that he should possess any kind of skill in this area is pretty ridiculous and hard to swallow. He can’t even look his classmates in the eye and yet he’s suddenly a relationship savant? And don’t even get me started on the notion that his peers would actually confide in him about their deepest insecurities.
As one of his “clients” Ruthie says,
“It’s not like some advice from a 16-year-old straight dude is gonna magically fix us. It’s stupid.”
Yes, stupid indeed.
2. It Romanticizes Sex in High School
I don’t know a lot but I know one thing: nobody is having great sex in high school.
You know how many girls are orgasming in high school? Like 5. And yet both Maeve and Jackson claim again and again to be having this “amazing” sex with each other.
The worst part is when they pan to a scene of Jackson and Maeve doing it in the school bathroom, at the end of which Maeve seemingly comes like a porn star. Oh, please.
3. Maeve and Otis Are Both Unbelievably Dull
Do I care if Maeve and Otis get together? Not one bit.
I realize I’m supposed to be rooting for these two but I honestly couldn’t give a shit. Otis, in particular, is rather boring and lacks any sort of personality. Maeve, on the other hand, is a perfect amalgam of every cliché rom-com lead in the 80s. Between the two of them, they have the personality of a slice of white bread.
4. It Has No Idea How to Deal With Difficult Topics
They’ll have one big scene or sequence that tackles the issue but then can’t seem to figure out quite how to discuss it. In the end, they end up glossing over some very important moments.
Maeve’s abortion comes around and then goes just as fast without ever really processing Maeve’s feelings, or lack of feelings, about what just happened. Aimee faces the stigma of female masturbation and somehow, magically, a boy telling her “it’s ok” fixes all her problems. (Because a girl who never masturbated in her life is suddenly going to try it because an entitled white boy told her to).
In the end, all of their efforts really amounts to a whole lot of nothing. It’s too bad because they really missed a chance to make waves here.
All in all, eight episodes is way too long for a show that might have made for a cute-ish Netflix film. So if you haven’t already wasted your Friday night binging on it, I would opt for something a bit more original.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.