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Sex Education (available on Netflix)

Written by Rafaela Mendes

What are the biggest clichés when we think about high school? The bully, the popular crowd, the geek, the friendly and fun sports guy, the lonely outsider girl who is incredibly smart?

Sex Education, a British teen comedy-drama show on Netflix, has all of these stereotypes, but with a script and character development that are far from the usual teen stories we see on TV.

To sum up the plot, Ottis is an awkward teenager whose the mother is a sex therapist. The struggles with his mom’s occupation and the divorce of his parents interfere with how the boy see and experience sex. Ottis’s best friend is the opposite of him: Eric is gay, confident, with a strong personality and clear idea of what he wants, despite the disapproval of his religious family. After helping the school bully with some sexual performance issues, Ottis is persuaded by Maeve (the punk girl Ottis has a crush on) to offer sex-therapy services to other students.

The series offers more than good laugh when you see Ottis trying to help his “patients”: it  shows sensibility to develop the characters (not only the main one) beyond the cliché. The friendly and fun sports guy suffers from panic attacks and anxiety because of the pressure of being a good swimmer and student; the school bully can’t talk openly with his father, who is strict and conservative; one of the popular girls doesn’t enjoying being the mean one and starts questioning if her popular friends are good friends, and much more.

But for me, the cherry on the cake is the relationship between Ottis and Eric. They mock each other with no cruelty, they talk about everything, including sex, they help each other. When Ottis screws up Eric’s birthday, he apologizes and recognizes his mistakes and, the best part, they aren’t afraid of physical contact- a straight and a gay boy who hug each other and dance together (at no time is Ottis’s sexuality questioned by these moments of intimacy).

There a lot of stereotypes being broken in this show, but most importantly the friendship between Ottis and Eric is an example of healthy masculinity and men developing supportive relationships.

More details:

Genre: Teen Comedy-Drama

Age restriction: 18

Seasons: 1

Episodes: 8 (46 - 52 minutes each)

Release: January 2019

Available on: Netflix

Creator: Laurie Nunn

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