The title of this article totally sounds like a self help book or some sort of sexual memoir. It really isn’t, it’s actually all about Netflix television shows because I was pleasantly surprised by queer storylines recently while doing some binging. Now I’m not saying all of this plots were very big or picture perfect, but I still found myself enjoying them.
When I saw the trailer for Sex Education on Netflix the first thing that caught my attention was Gillian Andersen. I mean who wouldn’t be swayed to watch a show with her in it, especially if she is playing a therapist and rocking some epic jumpsuits. The trailer itself was so much fun and when I started the show I was not disappointed. While set in the present, Sex Education has this sort of American 80’s aesthetic about it. This reminded me a bit of Riverdale, which uses a 50’s sort of set up while it is also set in the present. Though social media does exist in Sex Education using a retro feel allows it to divorce certain elements of the present from the characters. What this really means is that there are fewer smart phones around and while tech does get used, the characters don’t rely on it. If you haven’t seen the show Gillian Andersen plays a sex therapist whose son Otis is convinced by the sort of outcast cool girl to start a clinic that will give students sex advice. Once they start their service they meet with a variety of clients, one of which is part of a lesbian relationship. This plot is relatively brief, but does provide some humorous moments related to lesbian sex. Otis at one point suggests they float in the school pool because he found lesbian synchronized swimming. Outside of this plot is a more emotional plot involving Otis’ best friend Eric, who is the only son of a large immigrant family.
Eric wears bright clothes and while not technically out he is still known at the school as gay. His father seems to know his son is different, but does not want him to embrace a lifestyle that could hurt him. While Eric has been comfortable in his skin at school an event on his birthday has him questioning whether he wants to be out. Otis had purchased them tickets to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch and both boys planned to dress as Hedwig. Due to a variety of circumstances, Eric winds up alone and in full drag at night. While he is just to get home he is attacked and pulls in on himself. I was devastated when this happened, but Eric does allow himself to fully embrace his identity and reemerge at the school dance in a bright outfit. This journey isn’t the only element that was striking. Eric early on in the series is bullied by the son of the headmaster, Adam. This particular character is actual the first person Otis provides advance to and is who kicks off Maeve’s plan to begin the clinic. Adam makes fun of Eric continuously, which admittedly had me wondering if something would happen between them. Adam’s original sexual issue is his inability to really have sex with his girlfriend and when we see him with her he just looks so bored and out of it. When Eric and Adam are forced together during detention my suspicions about Adam’s behavior were totally made valid when wrestling turns into a lot more. Not much happened with this plot, but I am hopeful that if there is a second season that they would explore this more.
Now switching directions completely I want to examine Peach from You. Now I did not watch You because of Shay Mitchell, but she became a character that I never expected. When I watched the trailer I actually assumed she was the body Joe was lugging out of his car so I sort of assumed she would only be in the show for a couple of episodes at most. I was pleasantly surprised when she was in the show for a lot longer. The focus of You is Joe and his obsession with a woman he meets at his bookstore, Beck. During his frightening quest to get Beck, he learns more about and becomes involved with her friends. The one he hates the most is Peach, who he realizes might be more like him than he originally realized. While digging up dirt on her he finds pictures of Beck and at one point even sees her spying on Beck while she takes a bath. Even though Peach never voices that she loves or wants to be with Beck her behavior shows a desire to maintain a strong connection, which borders on intensely controlling. Joe at some point confronts Peach and says that even though her parents wouldn’t accept her that she could find someone. The way Peach reacts reveals how much she is repressing herself in order to maintain her lifestyle through her parents. Even though I did not approve of some of her actions I did feel sympathy for Peach and actually am curious what a relationship between her and Beck would have been like.