'Sex Ed' Shows Us Sex Comedy Isn't Beaten Up Yet

By 12/22/2009
'Sex Ed' Shows Us Sex Comedy Isn't Beaten Up Yet

sex-edThe Sex Comedy genre does not inspire a lot of confidence in me. Probably because those two words don’t sound right together, like “pump nuggets” or “bad sex.” Of course there are exceptions. Some people would argue Revenge of the Nerds belongs to that genre, like the way the Golden Globes nominated It’s Complicated as a comedy even though, from the trailer, it looks like they trapped three great actors inside a horror movie.

Web series Sex Ed is the latest online iteration of the Sex Comedy since Blue Movies. An ensemble cast play eight students all in the same college sex education class. I had no idea colleges offered sex education as part of their curriculum, but then again I got treated for hysterical blindness as a result of excessive masturbation my freshman year at Oral Roberts. (By the way, I understand those jokes now that I heard around the office whenever I wear my alma mater’s sweatshirt, and they are not appreciated.)

Sex Ed hammers home the main grab of the show in a 2 minute 45 second long credits sequence in Episode 1. We meet each cast member during their morning ritual: Milo (Casey Graf) times himself masturbating in the toilet stall; Kate (Andrea Lui) locks herself in the bathroom and spreads out an assortment of dildos on a towel like Ginsu knives; Sarah Ann (Laura Clery) reaches an orgasm while bouncing on an exercise ball during morning aerobics; Dean (Matt Barr) pounds away inside his partner, seemingly bent on revenge; Stormy (Caroline Aaron) pretends to bounce on top of a man’s genitals alone in bed; and Billy (George Finn) behaves like a good Protestant and masturbates to a nudie magazine. It’s almost as emotionally and physicall exhausting a sequence of events to watch as actually having sex.

Later the students convene in a classroom taught by an emotionally distressed, but more importantly tenured, Professor Trevase. Prof. Trevase takes immediate control of her classroom with a long monologue about what sex is and what it isn’t. The performance is a star turn delivered by seasoned actress Joanna Cassidy, best known perhaps as Zhora the off-world Replicant in the movie Blade Runner – turns out Zhora isn’t retired.

Sex Ed is produced and directed by Tamela D’Amico and written by Ernie Vecchione. It’s shot and paced quite professionally, and the young actors are freshly scrubbed and interesting to watch. I was most intrigued by Stormy, a shy yet mysterious sex-starved pupil whose mother (the wonderful Caroline Aaron) smokes a Hookah on her couch and watches a Turkish version of $100,000 Pyramid.

It would be nice to see the show evolve into something closer to those scenes. Hammering away at horny teenage sexual appetite can begin to get one-note. Generally speaking, my main problem with Sex Comedies is that the jokes are always way too easy, but to Sex Ed’s credit, it’s not dumb. It shows more awareness in a handfull of short episodes than all the garden-variety straight-to-video Lampoon comedies combined, but that is the faintest of praises. If the writing allows itself to open up more as the storylines progress Sex Ed might start to resemble less the DVD of Van Wilder: Freshman Year and more the NBC comedy Community.