‘Alrawabi School For Girls’ Season 2 Review: A Promising Series That Fails to Live Up To Its Potential

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After a successful first season, the Netflix Jordan series AlRawabi School for Girls makes a return. The adverse effect of social media on teenagers is the focus this season. Unlike season one, where the story was an authentic tale from the Arab land, this time, it has a global appeal. The culture and status of women in Jordan played a decisive role in the shaping of the story of Mariam and Layan, but the same cannot be said this time around. Perhaps taking the series to a larger audience has impacted the storytelling, and relatability is given a lot more importance. The lack of authenticity in season two is a major letdown, and AlRawabi School for Girls ends up becoming just another average teenage drama series one can watch on Netflix.

Tima Shomali brings Gen Z’s obsession with social media to light. Sarah, a teenager studying at AlRawabi School for Girls, was desperate for social media validation. Unlike her affluent peers, Sarah belonged to a middle-class family. She believed that the latest iPhone could change the trajectory of her social media presence, but it was not something her parents could afford. Failing to garner likes, Sarah resorted to uploading a parody video and typecasting her classmates. To her surprise, the video gained traction, and she became a social media influencer overnight. Season two of AlRawabi School for Girls is centered around Sarah and the effect social media had on her life. The instant gratification was attractive at first, but it soon turned into a curse. Managing school and a thriving social media presence was not easy for Sarah. Her life took a drastic turn the minute she gave in to a stranger’s request.

Tasneem was Sarah’s inspiration in her journey to fame. She closely watched everything that Tasneem did and tried to replicate her to the best of her ability. It was her dream to become friends with Tasneem, and her approval meant the world to her. She tried her best to grab Tasneem’s attention, but none of the videos she initially made ever went viral. Instead of focusing on all the things Sarah had, she was desperate to live the life of an influencer. Nadeen often tried to help Sarah realize the illusion that was social media, but it was impossible to make her see the truth. Unlike Nadeen, Sarah did not have much opinion about the world. She was impressionable, making it easier for social media to impact her the way it did.

Every character in AlRawabi School for Girls is explored to their full potential. Even though we mostly follow Sarah’s journey, she is not the sole focus of the series. Several issues that are pertinent to a teenager’s life are discussed in the course of the six episodes. The mean villains are also treated with empathy. None of the characters are entirely negative; most are just victims of their present situation. This approach adds layers to the characters, and it keeps the show interesting. The series comments on the idea of perfection that influencers often portray on social platforms. When teenagers scroll their phones and come across influencers of their age showcasing a lavish lifestyle, they tend to feel envious. But behind the one-minute viral videos are stories of extreme struggle (in all forms) that are always shoved behind the curtains. It is a phenomenon that we are seeing unfolding right before our eyes, and I do not mind watching another show discuss the same issue. The problem is its lack of a differentiator, and the series feels just like every other teenage drama that we have already come across.

School students wearing high heels and modifying uniforms as per their wishes might remind you of the popular Spanish Netflix series “Elite.” A liberal school principal is great news, but the idea of self-expression through makeup is stretched a little too far. The discussion on sex education was an interesting addition to the show. The teacher skipping a chapter on reproduction in class is all too relatable! This one scene brings forth the contradiction that exists in the lives of teenagers—they are exposed to everything on the internet, but there is a lack of an adult figure with whom they can discuss their concerns.

It is laughable how a student is shown to be fixing surveillance cameras all across the school campus without facing much repercussion. The series takes time to establish each of the characters and subplots, but the ending feels rather hurried. The opening scene builds interest with a fragment of a future event shown at the very beginning of the series. We already know that Sarah’s life will take a massive turn, and it helps build anticipation. The sudden turn of events was gripping, though not completely unexpected. There is a certain formula to teenage dramas, and unfortunately, AlRawabi School for Girls only makes minor modifications and mostly sticks to the usual.

Tara Abboud shines through her performance as the vulnerable Sarah. From the ignored girl in class to the new popular face, Tara is thoroughly convincing in AlRawabi School for Girls. Sarah’s best friend, Nadeen, is portrayed by Tara Atalla. Atalla brings to life the confusion that Nadeen experiences after watching her best friend become a social media influencer. Sarah Youseff, as the popular girl in class, Tasneem, skillfully brings forth the layers to the characters. Even though Tasneem might seem terrible at first, there is more to her story. Kira Yahnam plays the role of the school bully, Hiba. The fact that Hiba will make your blood boil goes to show that Yahnam has done a great job perfecting the role. Thali Alansari delivers an adequate performance as the class pariah Shams, and Raneem Haitham is brilliant as Farah.

Even though the characters in season two of AlRawabi School for Girls are interesting, the plot and the narrative are just about average. The effect of social media on the mental health of teenagers is a pertinent topic that needs attention, but can a six-episode series told in the most obvious way leave an impact? Let us know your opinion.


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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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