Sex Education Season 3
The new season of Sex Education, a teen comedy-drama, although worth the watch does not live up to past seasons. Available on Netflix, the show discusses modern issues around sex, gender identity, disability, and more in an eighties high school movie aesthetic making it easy and pleasing to watch. Sex Education does well in using the high school movie atmosphere to portray real-life, modern problems in a casual and authentic manner. I believe there is a character in the show for everyone to relate to and the show opens an honest conversation on many important topics.
Despite opening the discussion for many things from family to gender identity and disability, this season of Sex Education lacks in certain areas. The idea to bring in a villain character was a good one, however, Hope’s character did not reach expectations. Her character feels forced, and the lack of background story equates to a shortfall in character depth. Also, in terms of character depth and development, Otis’ character lost some of his charm this season with less wit and fun in his dialogue.
Although it fell short in some ways, season 3 did introduce a new character Cal who represents the first non-binary person in Sex Education. Their character battles school regulations such as not having gender-neutral toilets and changing rooms and being forced to wear a gendered uniform. Feedback from the non-binary community on Cal’s character, in the words of a friend, Anna, “It’s important to be seen and heard. I have gone through all my life with no one to look up to. No one that I can relate to. No one who understood me and who I am. Seeing Cal made me feel seen and heard. Their struggles were my struggles.”
Inclusivity for the non-binary and transgender community is one of the most important issues discussed in the show. By making Hope the villain with her non-inclusive values and school rules, Sex Education accurately displayed how this community must fight for their rights in daily life.
In terms of family life, it is depicted in a very realistic fashion in the show. Every family has its own struggles and Sex Education correctly displays different familial situations, relationships, and conflicts. I also enjoyed how they touch on the idea of friends being your chosen family when Aimee suggests to Maeve that they ‘be each other’s mums', as they both have difficulties with their own biological moms.
In addition, a range of romantic relationships are covered throughout this season of Sex Education. Jackson and Cal’s relationship examines queer relationships how to navigate the discovery and exploration of one’s sexual orientation. In my opinion, this was a great addition to the show as although in the past they explored gay and lesbian relationships, this opens the discussion to a broader range of LGBTQ+ relationships.
Also, the show still includes the typical dramatic teen romance between Otis and Maeve, which is important because this is also reality. I love how the show blends inclusivity and reality flawlessly and makes it feel natural which many shows tend to do wrong and they make the addition of diverse characters feel unnatural.
And not to forget Aimee’s struggle being in a relationship that was no longer serving her. I think this is something that a lot of high school and college students can relate to, and it is important to find yourself apart from a relationship.
The relationship between Maeve and Isaac is a wonderful representation of disability in the show. In contrast to the normal depiction of disabled characters in television shows and movies, Isaac’s character does not have a tragic or inspirational story where he is struggling. He is actually a very confident man and in an interview with BBC, actor George Robinson stated, “The feedback I’ve got from within the disability community is that’s it’s really refreshing to see someone who is so comfortable within themselves and not questioning their existence”. His character is a genuine reflection of the disabled experience. Additionally, the scene between Isaac and Maeve normalizes intimacy and sex for disabled people and covers the topic of consent and the discussion of needs and wants that come with physical intimacy.
In my opinion, Sex Education did a wonderful job once again this season in portraying legitimate struggles in a raw, natural manner. However, the show has become slightly long and repetitive. There was a certain spark missing this season, the episodes feel longer and it’s not as easy to ‘binge-watch’. The students of Moordale have found their voice, learned to resolve conflict and so on, meaning they now seem to know too well how to handle themselves leading to less drama and excitement in the show.
Throughout 3 seasons, the show has covered so many important topics however it is hard to see how they will keep the thrill with another season.