The Netflix original series Sex Education depicts students navigating the awkward and tricky times of adolescence. Season 1 debuted in January 2019 with raging success. Following the major kiss cliffhanger conclusion, fans anticipated a second season to tie up loose ends. Sex Education Season 2 was released in January 2020, bringing with it the same honesty and eccentricity that it did in Season 1, with enjoyable characters new and old.
The second season of Sex Education opened with a montage of the star of the show, Otis Milburn. The audience shortly learns that his mom Jean, a sex therapist, is secretly dating Jakob, the father of Ola, Otis’ new girlfriend. Their relationship is accidentally revealed to Otis and Ola early on in the season, creating tensions that would only inflate between Jean, Jakob, Otis, and Ola.
The show weaves multiple engaging storylines with humor yet seriousness, such as sexual assault and harassment, and coping with anxiety and self-harm. Maeve, an intelligent and bold social outcast who is constantly misjudged, was expelled from school after protecting her brother by claiming his drugs were hers. She worked at a pretzel shop in Moordale Mall instead, but fought for re-enrollment in school and succeeded by threatening to expose how she wrote award-winning essays that students passed off as their own. In Season 1, Otis and Maeve came together in an unlikely friendship to start a guerilla sex clinic, where they made money from listening and helping their peers with private issues. Otis discontinued the sex clinic due to Maeve’s expulsion but rekindled it at her return, much to Ola’s concern. Ola, new to Moordale High, remained trusting in Otis but suspected lingering feelings between Otis and Maeve. She began to feel uncomfortable, and simultaneously developed feelings for her tour guide at school Lily, an awkward teen who plays clarinet in Swing band and draws erotic comics.
Throughout the season, Otis struggled to maneuver his relationships with Maeve and Ola while also focusing on avoiding his mom, who the principal brought in to revamp the sex education curriculum at Moordale High after an STI outbreak caused mass anxiety. Eric, Otis’ best friend and fan favorite, was just as outspoken and charming as last season. In Season 2, he was faced with picking between a new mature and dreamy French student Rahim, and Adam, Eric’s bully turned love interest.
The characters are nuanced and authentic, varying wildly from the typical TV representation of high schoolers. “I love Jackson’s storyline. It showed that a black character with queer parents and mental health issues didn’t need to be defined by those things,” said Adam Osman- Krinsky ’21. There is a storyline for everyone, and Sex Education Season 2 is all about inclusivity. “There is so much representation of the LGBTQ+ community and acceptance from the minor characters that fosters a welcoming atmosphere throughout the show,” said Shaira Jafar ’21. The show covers an array of topics from asexuality, sexual assault, and non- heteronormative relationships, to life with disabilities, orphan and adopted parent anxiety, platonic relationships, and intimate concerns. Sex Education highlights these themes with charm and humor, and never feels preachy or forced.
The show treats topics sensitively, but with honesty. It does not hover over taboo subjects. Rather, it delves in, providing teens with clarity. One particularly special part of Season 2 was the diversion of focus from the teens. There was a storyline regarding the Headmaster of Moordale High and his wife that touches upon the importance of communication and intimacy in a long term relationship. It works to reassure any adult watchers that their own troubles are just as valid. The complexity of relationships endures, no matter the age. The soundtrack of the show, headlined by Ezra Furman, is another way this show just cannot go wrong. “I’d encourage people to watch Sex Education because the soundtrack is amazing,” said Osman-Krinsky.
Some believe that a show existing at the intersection of teens and sex is doomed for disaster, that it will be risky, immature, and send a bad message. Sex Education does the opposite of this. It de-stigmatizes taboo issues, serves as a necessary conversation starter, and beyond the sexually related content, devotes itself to realistic depictions of community and a variety of relationships.
“A huge problem with many schools in America is the terrible sex education provided, because it causes people to believe all sort of misconceptions about their bodies, how they are allowed to use them, what safe sex is, and what it means to practice safe sex.” said Dinah Landsman ’23. Instead of conforming to the “abstinence only” theme that media and health classes often perpetuate, the show acknowledges that teens need guidance. Sex Education lets teens know that their experiences are common and fixable.
Sex Education has mature content but for those of the appropriate age, it is a must-see. Sex Education not only reveals the harmful effects of poor sex education in schools, but provides teens with vital information. On top of all this, the show is fast-paced and never gets boring, with hilarious and heart-wrenching lines dispersed throughout both seasons. Season 2 was a success, and fans now excitedly await Season 3, announced February 10th, 2020.
“There is so much representation of the LGBTQ+ community and acceptance from the minor characters that fosters a welcoming atmosphere throughout the show,” said Shaira Jafar ’21.