In one of the most poignant scenes in Netflix’s hit series Sex Education, Eric — the loveable french horn player with eccentric wardrobe taste — is pinned to the ground by Adam, a boy that has bullied him relentlessly for most of his school life. In an act of defence, Eric spits directly into his bully’s face. Adam retaliates with the same. Then they stop. A second passes. Suddenly, they kiss.
It’s a moment that can’t help but leave you electrified — by its tenderness, its innocence, but, above all, its spontaneity. A kiss is the last thing the viewer expects to see, and, by the looks of things, it comes as a bit of a shock to Eric and Adam, too. However, the truth is, of course, that hours of planning went into these brief few seconds. Each beat of the scene was choreographed with detailed precision.
Ita O’Brien begins with the basics. Where will the two boys be positioned? What areas of their bodies will be touching? How long will the kiss last? How many kisses will there be?
Then there’s the more complicated stuff. The spitting.