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5 reasons to watch the new Netflix series Young Royals

In the never-ending sea of Netflix teen dramas, it can be hard to muster the energy or interest to watch one more. However, *this* one stands out from the crowd. Following Swedish Prince Wilhelm, who, after a public scandal, is forced to attend an elite boarding school to instill his duty and expectations into him, everything changes when he meets the charming, Hispanic scholarship kid, Simon. Here are 5 reasons you absolutely need to watch Young Royals.

1. They look like *actual* teenagers

As much as we like to gush over the gorgeous characters in our fave teen shows, their ages are usually much younger than the actual birth dates of the actors who play them, to the point where it's become pretty common for 30-somethings to portray young adults (see: Paxton Hall-Yoshida on Never Have I Ever). The result is the expectation of teens looking mature with perfect bodies, glowing skin and a fresh face of masterfully done makeup. 

Edvin Ryding (Wilhelm) and Omar Rudberg (Simon), who play the two main characters in the show are 18 and 22 respectively, so they're around the age of their characters. They, along with the rest of the cast, sport minimal makeup, normalizing faces spotted with blemishes and acne. Another major character, Felice, whose body doesn't fit society's typical beauty standards, isn't thrown in as an outcast or comedic relief like most mid or plus-size characters, but rather someone with a lot of status and likeability. In fact, everybody who attends the boarding school looks like a *real* student you would see at your local high school. 

2. Refreshing rep of the LGBTQIA+ and autistic communities

This show checks all the diversity boxes, and not only on a surface level. From POC actors to a queer romance to an autistic supporting character, this TV show has it all. Sara, said autistic character, has Asperger's, but instead of it being a dominating part of her story and personality, it's normalized and understood by other characters who aren't super familiar with it. 

Considering the show follows the central romance between its two leading male characters, Young Royals delves into the dynamics of gay teen life in a delicate, refreshing way. Without dipping into fetishization or romanticized storylines like the coming-out journey, the show manages to depict queer life in the closet and on the down-low. It portrays a genuine attraction and connection between two teens navigating romance and sexuality and the complications that come with—namely, Wilhem's position in the Swedish monarchy. In doing so, there's also a discussion of classism and what role it plays in relationships, especially ones that are as high-profile as this one.

3. A romance prioritizing emotional connection

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Edvin Ryding (@edvinrydings)

Too many times we see movies and TV shows with drop-dead gorgeous characters who are immediately attracted to other drop-dead gorgeous characters, even if it's not in the most healthy way. (Alexa, play "Toxic" by Britney Spears.) While, yes, Edvin and Omar are extremely pretty actors, the relationship their characters cultivate is deeply entrenched in emotions and feelings. Stomping on toxic masculinity, Wilhelm and Simon don't shy away from expressing emotions, whether that be joy, anger, sorrow or fear. Their relationship is told through small, sentimental vignettes—giant bear hugs, holding hands while watching a movie, long stares that convey a million thoughts and feelings. This is magnified by the absolutely beautiful cinematography and attention to lighting and sound, casting everything in a soft, romantic tone and glow that is very female gaze-y. (Bonus: the show was created by 3 women!) There's no other option than to root for them *every* single time they're on screen.

4. The perfect blend between exciting scenarios and raw relatability

So, maybe a Swedish royalty romance isn't the *most* relatable, but the show somehow manages to make even the most fantastical narrative something raw and authentic, something everyone can find some part of themselves in. Between dramatic plot points and scandals are the small things that we all experience—insecurities, anxiety, crushes, puppy love and the joy of being around the person who brings out the best in you. The writing, chemistry and characters are so realistic, it's tangible. 

5. The most charming cast ever

The Young Royals cast is small, but certainly not insignificant. Besides the two leads, there are 3 supporting characters—August (Malte Gårdinger), Sara (Frida Argento) and Felice (Nikita Uggla). In a mere 6 episodes, these 5 talented actors and actresses manage to flesh out their characters into complex and interesting teens. Edvin and Omar, who are best friends IRL, have a chemistry that is off the charts, and everybody else slots in together seamlessly like an intricate, drama-packed puzzle. Let's not forget that most of the cast is bilingual (or in Omar's case, trilingual—Latinx rep!), dubbing most of the English audio with their own voices. Plus, amazing vocals courtesy of Omar in the soundtrack and choir songs. Seriously, what *can't* they do?

What are your thoughts? Tell us on Instagram @girlslifemag!

Slider via Netflix.

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by Sophia Zhang | 7/15/2021
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