Gillian Anderson Says 'Sex Education's John Hughes Similarities Are Not Accidental

John Russell
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In Sex Education, British teen Otis (Asa Butterfield) just wants to get through school unnoticed. That is, until bad-girl-with-a-heart-of-gold Maeve (Emma Mackey) persuades him to use his expertise to help their lovelorn and frustrated classmates — for a price.

Turns out, growing up with sex therapist mom Jean (The X-Files' Gillian Anderson) has equipped Otis for dealing with an array of teenage angst. Pretty soon he's holding counseling sessions in school bathrooms.

If Sex Education sounds less like stuffy British fare and more like American teen comedies of the '80s, such as The Breakfast Club, that's no accident. Says Anderson, "Our executive producer was obsessed with [John Hughes films] and was trying to find something that was going to fit the bill."

But as raunchy as the series gets, the advice Otis gives out is all grounded in a contemporary sex positivity. "It's very, very frank," Anderson explains. "[The show is] so honest and up-front to destigmatize it" — even for the cast, thanks to some racy scenes they filmed.

Notes Butterfield, "Very quickly, all our boundaries were out the window."

Sex Education, Series Premiere, Friday, January 11, Netflix

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