Fans were confused by the aesthetic
Sex Education director Ben Taylor has explained why the Netflix show looked so American, after fans and critics voiced their confusion over its aesthetic.
Released in early January, the Brit comedy followed awkward teenager Otis (Asa Butterfield), who discovers he has a talent for solving his classmates’ sexual problems. Capitalising on his newly realised skill set, he and school bad girl Maeve (Emma Mackey) set up an underground sex clinic to help their peers and earn a bit of cash.
While viewers praised the show’s forward-thinking storylines, there was confusion over why the British school, called Moorfield High, contained so many American aspects such as Letterman jackets and lockers.
“I know it’s frustrated some viewers, but at no point were we trying to pass it off as America. We were just trying to pass it off as a slightly heightened ‘Nowheresville’,” Taylor told Digital Spy. “I think it was certainly intentional – like it wasn’t an accidental by-product of it.
“It’s a very designed show. I think one of the accusations I’d definitely love to push back on is that we did it to appeal to America. That really wasn’t the case,” he continued.
“I just wanted to frame a British school experience in a slightly different way. I think it felt interesting, not only visually, but I think it does something to the story and the setting and the characters that it is a heightened world, it’s a heightened script.
“It’s slightly idealised in terms of its intelligence and its forward-thinking and its positivity. And I think if you were to render… say if you did an Ackley Bridge, which is a good-looking show. It very much is contemporary and everything about it is totally the year that it was made.
“If you were to do that, I don’t think our characters would have lived comfortably in that. I don’t think we are a straight show, and I don’t think the story of Otis at its centre would be believable if you were having this harder-nosed, grey rendering of what it’s like to go to school in the UK in 2019.”