More Shows Should Take a Cue from 'Sex Education's Diverse Cast
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2 of Sex Education.]
Netflix's offbeat teen dramedy Sex Education has returned for Season 2, and along with upping the ante in terms of raunchy escapades, the show added a commendable cast expansion, progressive plotlines, and more.
The British-based series follows the trials and tribulations plaguing the students of Moordale Secondary School and the various parents and teachers linked to them. In Season 2, the focus shifts from protagonist Otis (Asa Butterfield) to settle on a wider range of characters in this grander ensemble piece.
Despite the MA viewer rating, this endearing series tackles a myriad of topics separate from its choice title. Employing a varying cast of actors is one of its most appealing factors.
Among the new characters included in Season 2 are paraplegic actor George Robinson as Maeve's (Emma Mackey) trailer park neighbor Isaac, newcomer Chinenye Ezeudu as lovelorn Viv, and Sami Outalbali as a new student and Eric's (Ncuti Gatwa) love interest Rahim.
Along with featuring Viv and Rahim, the series takes a leap that some shows before it have been too afraid to do in the past by actually having a paraplegic actor fulfill the role of a wheelchair-bound character, and it's truly heartwarming to see the representation.
Meanwhile, there's representation in plot that a lot of shows don't have. The fact that the school star athlete Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) is the son of a lesbian biracial couple is, in and of itself, not something you see onscreen often.
Add in the fact that one of our three protagonists — Eric — is a proud and out gay man, in juxtaposition with previously stifled Otis and angsty Maeve, leaves room for more storylines deviating from the bland cliches of a cookie-cutter teen romance.
Season 2 also highlights the problems apparent in the parents' lives, including Otis' divorced sex therapist mother and father, and Adam's (Connor Swindells) family — which continues to feel strained under the strict control of patriarch and Moordale headmaster Mr. Groff (Alistair Petrie).
One storyline that brings together the diverse cast of women involved is Aimee's (Aimee Lou Wood) encounter with a pervert on the local bus. During a detention session, the vastly different girls are forced to find one idea they can agree on. When they learn about Aimee's fear of riding the bus, it's their shared disgust for inappropriate behavior at the hands of men that bonds them.
The overarching theme is that no matter how different we all are, there's always going to be something that we can agree on. If there's one thing viewers can agree on after viewing Season 2 of Sex Education, it's that the show has set a high bar for diversity.
Can't other shows strive for the same?
Sex Education, Seasons 1 and 2, Streaming now, Netflix