Season two becomes more complex than the first and builds on the already established characters we have already come to love, all the while retaining a sense of whimsical fun that makes this show, at many points, hilarious.
As someone that loves learning about all things sex but has a deep resentment for the quality of our school’s sex education, I fell in love with the first season of Sex Education, although many parts of the premier season felt quite clichéd and quite typical. Season two was a marked improvement and dealt with a wealth of typically taboo issues, putting them into the spotlight in both an informative, respectful, and comedic way.
Judging by the sheer amount of praise season two has received for placing previously sidelined issues to the fore, there is a definite feeling that the show, as a vehicle, is doing something more and achieving something sought out by people who experience or feel an affiliation with these issues. For this more serious reason, as well as the general education about sex in its many avenues, Sex Education is working brilliantly on many levels to change the discourse that dominates certain aspects of the human experience.
One theme that fell flat and appeared quite clichéd in the first season was Eric’s story, although the detention blow-job scene was a shocker. Its transformation in Season Two gave us so much more and the LGBT+ conversation was open, informative, and worked to educate in both the show and outside of it. Finally, we were able to see characters actively explore sexuality, discovering identities that aren’t represented (such as Asexuality) and understanding what sexuality and sex means for different people. What felt new and refreshing was the issues in these relationships, particularly between Eric and Rahim and Ola and Lily. Their attraction didn’t automatically result in a happy ending and the issues they navigated weren’t filtered through rose-coloured spectacles. Also, the inclusion of Rahim’s tutorial on how to douche was brilliant.
Despite Sex Education being a typically teen-centric drama, there was room in season two for the development and recognition of issues facing people 40+; there was space to play over the episodes and isolation, fear of intimacy, and anxieties were all embodied by various characters at various points. Divorced, adoptive, and absent parents represented structures of a family commonplace today, deviating from the typical nuclear family, in a way that never needed overt acceptance because it just was. However, Sex Education also depicted that not everything is easy; Jean does feel lonely, Maureen and Jakob crave intimacy, and Hannah (Jackson’s adoptive mother) is consumed by anxiety that comes with non-conventional parenting. What is interesting is that these feelings and emotions aren’t exclusive to the over 40’s but are felt by younger people as well; there is no age restriction for loneliness, anxiety, and desire for intimacy. That being said, Maureen and Jean’s drunk night out was fabulous, but Jean’s subsequent emotional bullet that left her crying in the toilet was heartbreaking…
Perhaps the most important storyline to come out of the entire season, and the one that resonated with me the most, was that concerning Aimee’s sexual harassment incident. This has touched people around the world with many citing the scene on the bus as one of the best in TV history. Although it tackled sexual harassment in a way many don’t acknowledge, it was the sisterhood that formed around this and the sharing of experience that reminded both the girls in and outside of the show, that support is there and dealing with harassment or abuse in any way is something real, tough, and courageous. The show didn’t shy away from showing the toll something like this takes and framed the situation by harassment that, by and large, isn’t talked about enough but still happens. This demonstrated that sexual harassment and abuse comes in many forms; it isn’t as glaringly obvious as some may have thought.
Sexual harassment is something many women grow up feeling like they have to take instead of speaking out, therefore there is no surprise why this resonates with young women everywhere. In a sense, this validates all the feelings women already feel as a result advocating that we need not shy away from them, but it takes seeing this on screen to make us realise we aren’t alone and sisterhood is out there. However, this isn’t the fix. Sex Education pointing out that sexual harassment happens in this volume doesn’t solve it, it merely highlights that it is commonplace. The people that are perpetrating the harassment need to change their behaviour, but, this storyline teaches us that instead of backing away in fear, to seek out help and work together in order to overcome so you’re not the victim. The bus scene was beautifully simple, but spoke volumes heard everywhere.
Sex Education does so many things at once, all with a lightheartedness that allows viewers to enjoy the show. Those same aesthetics introduced in season one return, providing the initial attraction as it is reminiscent of the tried and true American high school dramas, but the hard-hitting storylines blend well with the comedy that underlines the entire series, providing an amazing show that educates and entertains in the best way!
Here’s hoping to the announcement of season three!!
Sex Education is available to stream on Netflix now. Watch the series trailer below: