AlRawabi School for Girls
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When her high school’s mean girls push Miriam one step too far, she gathers her friends and creates a plan to take her tormentors down, one by one, in this fresh take on the teen drama set in Jordan.
Created by Tima Shomali, who has been described as the Arabic world’s version of Tina Fey, the series stars a group of impressive Jordanian actresses who weren’t previously well known in America, but are now thanks to this series. They include Noor Taher, Yara Mustafa, Rakeen Saad, Andria Tayeh, Salsabiela A, and Joanna Arida.
There are few shows or films out there that reveal what life is like for young Arabic women and girls. AlRawabi School for Girls opens a window into their world through a binge-worthy teen comedy-drama that is smartly written and performed — and by a stellar cast of newcomers.
The story and the tensions of modern teen life feel universal, but the insight it offers into Jordanian culture makes it especially compelling. Think of it as an international cross between Mean Girls and Gossip Girl, but better than both of them. Each character is well written and fully developed. This are no one-dimensional bullies. Layan (Noor Taher), the leader of the mean girls, is extremely wealthy, which allows her to flaunt her money and threaten the school staff. Then we get a window into her life at home, and witness the extreme control of her family. Suddenly her rebellious streak makes more sense. Roqayya (Salsabiela A.) is considered “the muscle,” but she’s held to intense standards by her family, especially when it comes to appearing modest. Rania (Joanna Arida) is the joker, but she struggles at home with her violent alcoholic father.
The show’s insight into how cyberbullying impacts teenagers – a global problem – and the pressures of wealth and class on young Arabic women make AlRawabi School for Girls a fascinating and timely binge watch.
While it may not be the most accurate look into high school life in Jordan (just as Gossip Girl isn’t the most accurate reflection of American high schoolers), AlRawabi School for Girls brings a fresh perspective to the universal challenges facing teenagers today. It’s a fun and addictive watch. Stick around for the ending; it will haunt you for days.
This is a series that has to be watched chronologically. Each episode builds upon the previous one. AlRawabi School for Girls can be enjoyed alone or with your friend who lives for soapy teen dramas.
The series has caused quite a bit of drama in Jordan. Not all Jordanians like how the series portrays their high schools, while others find that it focuses on problems that are hardly addressed in Jordanian society.