Bleats

We All Wish We’d Had This Kind Of Sex Education In High School, And A Mum As Cool As Gillian Anderson

It's like Skins meets The Breakfast Club.

Warning: this article may contain spoilers.

If you haven’t already watched Laurie Dunn’s Sex Education on Netflix, please start watching it as soon as you’ve finished this article.

It’s a British show, set in college (the two years after high school and before university), and it’s focused on a guy, Otis, whose Mum (played by Gillian Anderson) is a sex therapist. His friend, played by someone who looks amazingly similar to Margot Robbie, convinces him to start offering sex and relationship therapy to their peers, because he’s picked up a thing or two as a result of listening to his Mum over the years.

There’s obviously other stories involving other characters, but that’s the gist of it. It reminds me an awful lot of Skins, if Skins were set in the 80s and directed by John Hughes.

That’s another thing about the show – you aren’t quite sure when it’s set, because everyone is dressed like it’s 1985, and the soundtrack is a mix of 70s punk, 80s pop, 90s riot grrl and Ezra Furman songs, which makes sense since he was the brains behind the soundtrack.

As a lifelong devotee of 80s teen movies, I loved this homage to the films of beloved directors from the decade like John Hughes, even if it did leave some people confused as to why these British kids were apparently going to an American school.

Another great thing about the show is the LGBT representation. Otis’ best friend is a guy called Eric, who is one of only two (out) gay guys at the school. One of my favourite moments in the show (even if it is followed up by one of the worst) is when Eric gets dressed up as Hedwig from Hedwig and the Angry Inch to watch the movie with Otis for his birthday, as is their tradition.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a cult favourite, largely within the LGBT community, and it’s also my favourite musical, and I’ve never seen it referenced in pop culture before.

In addition to Eric, Otis advises a lesbian couple on how to make their sex life work, and it’s one of the few times I’ve seen lesbian sex discussed frankly and without fetishisation, let alone on a show for teenagers.

Most of the cast are newcomers, although Asa Butterfield, who plays Otis, has previously starred in Hugo and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and Gillian Anderson is probably (probably? definitely, I hope) a household name. It’s great to see her let loose in a comedic role, and she does a fantastic job, because of course she does.

The show’s crowning achievement is the frank way it talks about and portrays sex between teenagers – in all its hormonal, adolescent, awkward, often underwhelming, messy glory. It also includes one of the best depictions of abortion since 2014’s Obvious Child. 

And according to Netflix, the viewing public agrees. They tweeted that the show is ‘on pace’ to be watched by over 40 million accounts in its first month on the platform.

Given those numbers, here’s hoping Netflix renews it for a second season ASAP.

Sex Education is the kind of show I wished had existed when I was a teenager (although we did have Skins, so we weren’t completely deprived), and if I could recommend it to teenagers without coming across like a huge weirdo, I would do it in a heartbeat. Instead, you can just send this article to the teens in your life that you want to impress with your pop culture savvy. You’re welcome.

The Choose Your Own Adventure Publisher Is Suing Netflix Over ‘Bandersnatch’, Because This Story Will Never, Ever End

Will Netflix choose Sugar Puffs or Frosties to help them out of this one?

The publisher who owns the trademark for the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series of books is suing Netflix for a whopping $35 million.

Chooseco, the publisher behind the lawsuit, claims that Netflix had been pursuing a licence to use the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark since 2016, but no deal had been reached. Chooseco trademarked its ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series in the 1980s.

Their complaint in Vermont Federal Court also said that Chooseco had previously sent a written cease and desist to Netflix asking them to stop using ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ to market another TV show.

They added that 20th Century Fox currently holds an options contract to create an interactive series based on the books, so the fact that Netflix came in and stole their thunder with the biggest release of a Choose Your Own Adventure movie to date probably left them a little miffed.

The company also claims that the association with the ‘adult themes’ in the Black Mirror movie has been damaging to their brand.

“The use of Choose Your Own Adventure in association with such graphic content is likely to cause significant damage, impacting our book sales and affecting our ability to work with licensing partners in the future.”

They also claim that Netflix is benefitting from its association with the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ brand.

Am I the only one who had no idea that ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ was a trademarked series of books? I thought it was a general concept used by a variety of publishers. Evidently not.

ABC notes that Netflix has avoided using the words ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ in the marketing material for ‘Bandersnatch’, probably in an attempt to prevent this exact thing from happening. Maybe they can go back to the start and choose a different path?

Penn Badgley Is Determined To Make Sure Nobody Falls In Love With His Character From Netflix's 'You'

You'll just have to try harder to resist his smouldering good looks.

Penn Badgley, famous for playing Dan in Gossip Girl, is very alarmed by some of the responses to his latest show, You. 

You was picked up by Netflix after initially being broadcast by Lifetime in the US, and debuted on the platform late last month.

It’s about a bookstore employee, Joe, who lives in New York and is obsessed with romantic tropes. Joe sees himself as a good guy, a ‘nice guy’ if you will, and as someone women should want to fall in love with.

Joe is also an incredibly creepy stalker and, spoiler alert, murderer. In case that doesn’t make it clear: you are not supposed to root for Joe or find him attractive. He’s a deconstruction and dramatisation of the ‘Nice Guy’ trope, and, again, he’s a stalker and a murderer.

This hasn’t stopped people from thirsting over him though, because Penn Badgley is just too damn irresistible, I guess.

But Badgley himself is concerned by the things people are tweeting about his character. His Twitter is full of responses to fans who don’t know what to make of their crushes on Joe.

At least some people are reacting the right way.

Frankly, I haven’t trusted him ever since it was revealed that he was Gossip Girl the whole time. I realise actors are playing characters and not actually embodying them, but the reveal of Dan Humphrey as Gossip Girl affected teenage me very deeply.

I’m having flashbacks.

Someone mentioned Badgley’s transition from teen crush to terrifying stalker, and Badgley’s response is interesting: perhaps our perception of his previous characters has changed as we’ve all matured.

Because seriously, you aren’t meant to crush on Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl ruined lives and caused nothing but drama, and it was all Dan’s way of getting Serena’s attention because he had a crush on her.

In hindsight, he wasn’t so different from Joe, aside from the lack of kidnapping and murder.

Evidently Badgley is interested in these types of characters – ones that put a spotlight on harmful tropes we’ve all grown up with, that many of us never really questioned. In addition, Badgley seems like a genuinely good guy, so maybe it’s time for me to forgive him for playing a character who was eventually revealed to be Gossip Girl.

If you haven’t seen You, it’s worth checking out, although bear in mind it’s a tough watch, particularly if you’re sensitive to issues of abuse and violence. But it does a good job of critiquing a lot of troubling notions about romance and dating that society has normalised, and Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail do a great job.

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