I Wrote About Sex Education Season 3 to Bring Joy to My Peers
Contains spoilers for Sex Education, season 3.
Much like a Hogwarts House, an Arianna Grande album or a National Space Administration, Sex educations has entered icon-only status. It has its own H&M range for goodness’ sake! Imagine a high school drama so popular that H&M is stocking its uniform. The cultural impact of Sex Education is undeniable. And 100% deserved.
This series has had its fair share of critique. I, too, have no clue where in the UK, or the world, this school is meant to exist. And yet I don’t care. I can deal with having no understanding of the privately funded, yet seemingly free education system of Moordale High. I can abide by the mash up of walkmans and iPhones, while turning a blind eye to the fact there is not one uttering of the word Ofsted. I don’t mind at all, due to the pure love I have for the show and its characters.
Sex Education subscribes to all my favourite love tropes:
- Popular kids dating unpopular kids in secret.
- Unrequited love.
- Complete simp behaviour from the school bully.
- The girl who wears a lot of clips in her hair having a mid show glow up.
- Teenagers hovering their fingers over the call button of the phone number of their best friend they are in love with.
Love stories we’ve seen told throughout time – or, rather, throughout Drew Barrymore’s career. What takes Sex Education to the next level is its revolutionary depiction of relationships in every sense of the word. The equality of attention and emotional depth given to all relationships, whether it’s romantic or friendship, is wonderful to see. Arguments with your mum having the same weight as texting the boy you like is a more accurate representation of how life feels as a teenager.
I’m voting in every poll there is that Ruby and Otis are the superior ship over Otis and Maeve. But ultimately Otis and Eric are the soulmates at the centre of the show, I must concede. I even care deeply about the relationship between Adam and his dog (possibly the only OTP worth caring about.) Friendships have been the central relationship in my life and to see such authentic displays of what it means to be totally platonically in love has been joyous. I cried my eyes out when Amy and Maeve became each other’s Mums.
Sex Education shows us every relationship in its fullness. We see the toxicity that can exist in friendships, father/son and sibling relationships, and feel the impact all people have on us. Whether it’s your ex partner becoming a person you could be friends with, or your dad and his weed dealer getting high together.
Sex Education’s ability to carefully navigate the characters you once hated transforming into the people you root for is totally radical. The show operates with a level of forgiveness and invests in the belief in the bettering of humans. Twitter has shown an outpouring of praise for what Sex Education is providing for teenagers today. But the show is also giving us all the PSHE lessons we should’ve been getting from our RE teachers. It has taught me to be brave, just like Amy. It has taught my mum about non-binary identity. It has taught my cousin about the progression in HIV treatment. It taught my brother about IVF. The show is an entertaining education tool – safe sex memes have entered the internet.
Of course, it’s important to acknowledge that the show sometimes operates in the extremes. I mean, think of the shock you’d have if Lena Dunham’s best friend is Dolores Umbridge reincarnated. AKA Hope’s behaviour is consistently fire-ably wild. The “shame signs” was some High Sparrow, Game of Thrones-style secondary school torture. But Sex Education is a show about people. Not even about good people that do bad and bad people that do good. It’s that good and bad are not binary and all people are capable of both.
And yes, I’m team Ruby and Otis. Yes, I’m angry at Eric for his cheating behaviour. And, yes, I want Gillian Anderson to fix up and be happy about a treehouse – but I’m excited to see what comes next, because in the Sex Education writers room we trust.