What is Witty Watching?

Sex Education – TV Review
October 2, 2023

Synopsis: The graduates from Moordale Secondary face a new frontier, Cavendish Sixth Form College. Otis is nervous about setting up a new clinic, while Eric hopes they won’t be losers again. Cavendish is a culture shock for the students who see themselves as progressive, but this new college is next level. There’s daily yoga in the communal garden, a strong sustainability vibe and a group of kids who are popular for being… kind?! Viv is thrown by the college’s student-led, non-competitive approach, while Jackson is still struggling to get over Cal. Aimee tries something new by taking an art A-Level, and Adam wonders whether mainstream education is for him. Over in the US, Maeve is living her dream at the prestigious Wallace University, taught by cult author Thomas Molloy. Otis pines for her while adjusting to not being an only child at home and the only therapist on campus.
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, Mimi Keene, Aimee Lee Wood
Showrunner: Laurie Nunn

If you need evidence of how impressive the lineup at Netflix is, all you need to do is look back to September 17. 2021. On that day, Netflix released the smash hit Squid Game. The show would go on to win multiple awards and achieve worldwide popularity.

Two years later, on the very same day, they released the third season of Sex Education. The show is another massive hit for Netflix and an outstanding comedy. That isn’t just hyperbole; the show received a Best International Comedy Series Award from the Emmys.

The first three seasons of the UK-based show focus on a group of students at high school, while the fourth and final season sees them heading off to college.

Tackling teenage angst is no easy feat, but this show does it effortlessly. John Hughes would be proud.

In the previous seasons, we met Otis (Asa Butterfield), a teenager and his single mom, Jean (Gillian Anderson). Jean is a sex therapist and very open about her own experiences. Otis takes the observations he has accumulated from his mom over the years and starts advising the kids at school.

At school, there is a collection of interesting characters including his best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), who is very outgoing and flamboyant;  Maeve (Emma Mackey), who is somewhat of a loner but has a strong combination of book and street smarts; the super popular Ruby Matthews (Mimi Keene); the bully Adam, (Connor Swindells); and the hardnosed Principal Mr. Groff (Alistair Petrie).

Over the years, many shows have dealt with high school, but what sets Sex Education apart is how authentic this show is without being preachy. It has covered so many subjects: losing one’s virginity, parents splitting up, sexual performance, same-sex relationships, transitioning, male/female power dynamics, and divorce, to name a few.

Tackling teenage angst is no easy feat, but this show does it effortlessly. John Hughes would be proud.

This show is essentially a perfect storm of acting, writing and directing. The scripts are sharp and intriguing, making the show binge-worthy. When I first heard of the show in 2021, I watched the previous 16 episodes before devouring the third season.

Between the filming of season three and four, many of the stars have soared in other projects, including Ncuti Gatwa, who is the first Black actor to take over the lead of Doctor Who; Mimi Keene, who starred in the recent film After Everything; Emma Mackey who has a trio of solid performances in EiffelDeath on the Nile and Emily; and Mackey, Gatwa, and Connor Swindells who all recently appeared in Barbie. 

The level of talent on this show is an embarrassment of riches. Even though her role is minor, Hannah Waddington, the Emmy-winning actress from Ted Lasso, is part of the cast. This is how stacked this cast is.

In light of the other projects these actors have, you might think a fourth season would be inconvenient or the performances would be lacking. That simply isn’t the case.

The existing and new audiences will be treated to a very strong fourth season. Our group is now in college, and the writers need to be commended for doing a great job of expanding the cast and creating new characters that are interesting and deserve our attention.

This show should be required viewing. One would be hard-pressed to find another show that deals with so many issues effectively. A show like this wasn’t around when I was a teenager, and I wish it were.

The show is entertaining and a launch pad for discussion with kids and their parents. It’s as if creator Laura Nunn and her team thought of as many issues they could tackle and started crossing them off a list. From teens losing their virginity, sexual abuse, coming out, or overall insecurities, this show doesn’t shy away from dealing with heavy subject material. The show is a comedy and definitely has some laugh-out-loud moments but also some tender ones as well. Today, in a world where it’s difficult to define what precisely a comedy is, Sex Education blends drama and comedy effectively.

With this being the last season, the final eight episodes are well done. The writers have done a great job of spreading the material around so it isn’t just one of two characters that are focussed on. There is nothing about this final season that feels like anything was ‘mailed in’. The performances are strong, and the storylines are rich with intrigue, humour and angst. The series should be watched from season one through four. With 32 episodes, Sex Education offers a reason to stop scrolling for the ‘next show.’

While Squid Game is one of the best shows that Netflix has released over the last few years, the argument can be made that Sex Education is one of the most important ones.

Grade: B+

Where can you find Witty?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *