Review of HBO's 'Euphoria' & Netflix's 'Sex Education'

Euphoria and Sex Education

WE used to be so busy attending presscons, going to movies in actual theaters and going to various showbiz functions. But the corona lockdown has now given us so much free time to watch so many TV series on streaming channels, for which we didn’t have time before. 

Those we’ve liked and completed watching till the end, we already reviewed here like “Black Earth Rising”, "Unbelievable",“The Hot Zone”, “Feud” and “Wu Assassins”. But there are so many other shows that we started but didn’t continue watching till the end. After the first few episodes and and we feel it’s not clicking with us due to one reason or another, we drop it and watch some other show that we’ve lined up instead. 

Here are two shows we shelved: “Euphoria” on HBO and “Sex Education” on Netflix, both youth-oriented and about the unabashed hedonism of today’s young people in the Western world. “Euphoria” is set in the USA, while “Sex Education” is set in the UK. 

“Euphoria” stars Zendaya who used to be a wholesome Disney star in “The Greatest Showman” and “Spiderman Homecoming”. She plays Rue, a 16-year old who just came out of rehab. Her classmates refer to her as Ghost because they thought she had died of drug overdose during the last summer. 

Obviously, the rehab is not effective on her as she seems determined to consume as much drugs as possible now that she’s out again. This is not surprising as she has obsessive compulsive personality disorder and she’s also bipolar and has been taking medications since childhood. She herself is the narrator of the series and we are introduced to various types of high school characters with different kinds of aberration.

The series features a transgender actor, Hunter Schafer, who plays Jules, a new student in the high school who we thought is really a girl until he, or rather, she, had sex with the perverted dad of one of the school jocks who prefers sodomizing gays. 

Most the characters are damaged and it’s hard to relate with any of them. The way they indulge in unrestrained bacchanalia where they booze, use various drugs, engage in sex gratuitously (lots of frontal nudity for those who relish it) portrays an apocalyptic vision of young people wallowing in their own excess on the road to self destruction. We have no sympathy with them at all, so after the second episode, we decided to dump it.

Netflix's “Sex Education” is meant to be an endearing youth comedy starring Asa Butterfield, a former child actor best known playing the title role in Martin Scorcese’s “Hugo” and as a teener, starred in “The Space Between Us”. He looks somewhat like our own Alden Richards and he plays the role of Otis, a sexually repressed 16-year old dorky male virgin who is so uptight he has trouble even in jerking himself off. 

Ironically. his mom, Jean (Gillian Anderson of “The X Files” who sports a British accent here), is a sex therapist and yet, surprisingly, he acts as some sort of an expert dishing out advice to his classmates about life and sex (not at all convincing.) Otis has a big crush on the smart and sexually liberated Maeve (Emma Mackey, who looks like a young Margot Robbie), who is having fun in indulging in shameless sex bouts with the school’s black star athlete, but won’t commit herself romantically to him. She has no qualms getting an abortion when she gets knocked up. 

Otis has a gay best friend, Eric (Cuti Gatwa), and aside from this, the show also has lesbianism and a well-endowed school bully who has trouble achieving a climax (the actor playing this role doesn’t at all look like a high school student but more like someone taking post-graduate courses.) The show also features many odd kinds of love triangles that give the characters a chance to have many petty misunderstandings and reconciliations. 

We tried to give this show a chance up to it’s 5th episode. By then, we’ve realized that the septuagenarian that we are, we still have very conservative views and we cannot really take all its frank depictions of what the show (also “Euphoria”) says actual sex is now in Western high schools. We’ve watched “Gossip Girl” and “Riverdale”, but they were never as raunchy and salacious as these newer shows which are immersed in an environment predominated by sex, sex, sex. Sencia na po, old school pa rin si Lolo Gurangski.

Next time, we’ll tell you the reasons why we didn’t continue watching “Umbrella Academy”, “You”, “The Act”, “Servant”, “Strange Angel”, “Mindhunter”, “Dark” and “Money Heist”.