Sex Education Season 3 Review: Teen kicks have never been smarter
Who will be the new principal at Moordale High School? In the third series of sex education (Netflix), the task falls to Jemima Kirke’s Hope Haddon. She joins the cast as a new broom (replacing Alastair Petrie’s old wand in the mud) on a mission to get what the press has dubbed “The Sex School” back on track. Otis (Asa ButterfieldMaeve (Emma McKee) Nationality Clinic is history. In its place come school uniforms and lines drawn (literally) in the aisles, so everyone walks in a row.
Everyone seen Frame one of the first two series He’ll know this won’t end well. A show that’s all about teen self-expression won’t let abstinence and overall regulation have a whip hand. Everyone looks ridiculous in their jackets and ties (especially since Sex Education has one of the best wardrobes on TV). The first and second series were all about encouraging characters like Amy (Amy Gibbs), Lily (Tanya Reynolds) and Adam (Conor Swindells) the gorgeous to blossom. The idea that they should be returned to their chest met with predictable resistance.
Elsewhere, Otis, a geek geek, meets Queen Bee Ruby (Mimi Kane). It’s no strings attached, casual sex, and we all know how well this arrangement works in the long run. (At least, as you’ve seen on TV).
All this is manifested in the signature style of sex education. On the face of it, what we have here is a classic American teen drama, with all the make-up and breakups, freaks and geeks, backpacks and heavy petting that define the genre. It has a soundtrack as good as any on TV, and it manages to get away with putting actors in their twenties in their school uniforms. But it is inhabited by the British and set in the United Kingdom. Exactly where it is isn’t clear – somewhere between Laurel Canyon and Newport (Welsh), I guess – but that sense between and between serves the show well, as it lends a timeless vibe to something that could otherwise be secluded and light.
Everything was done so cleverly – creator Laurie Nunn and director Ben Taylor clearly studied every drama at West Coast High School from Happy Days to The OC. They know the rules and metaphors and, in general, play with them. But they double it up, too—on top of a high school jinx, there’s some couples therapy, plenty of self-empowerment, and a dose of family drama and toilet humor that would shame The Inbetweeners.