Drama: AlRawabi School for Girls 9/10

This show is so good.

Netflix gets it wrong a lot, and recommends shows I’m not interested in, but they got it right this time.

The show is one part typical high school drama, with popular and unpopular kids, girls doing makeup in the bathroom, talking about boys and dancing to BTS. It’s about bullies and the bullied, the effect bullying has on a teenager and also the lengths they will go to to get justice. But it’s more nuanced then that, which is what makes it especially good.

The leads are all girls who go to a girls high school in Jordan. This includes popular girls, who are externally confident and unpopular girls who claim not to care about their status.

The main lead is not popular with her peers but she lives a good life She is good at studying, has a long time best friend, another friend who seems to have a crush on her, no money worries and loving parents. But overnight thanks to the bullying of another student who has more money and credibility then her, her life is tattered and she loses everything. At first she is miserably depressed and shocked by the sudden change but her grief turns to anger and she becomes determined to get even.

At this point in the show, there are clear delineations of good versus bad. Who to root for and who to dislike. And the revenge plot is fun to watch. At first. But then the mixed morality of the characters is introduced and it makes it harder for viewers to choose one side over the other side so easily, as the characters also grapple with this.

All this is happening as the characters careen toward destruction and possible tragedy in the last episode, which end on the worlds greatest cliffhanger.

The show is a great introduction to Jordan, which is beautiful. It also hits on themes related to Islam, and the role of women and girls within Muslim society. I saw an article that was critical of the show for this reason, but I felt the portrayal was true to life and also showed the tension between modern society, teenage hormones and religious traditionalism.

There were so many facets to this show, all of them interesting, and the acting was great. I was fully immersed in the story by the end, and I highly recommend watching this season and the second one, which is officially coming.

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