Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves is an incredible, unmissable story. Watch it as soon as you can. Really.
As I sit here thinking about what to write about Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves (Torka aldrig tårar utan handskar), my mind keeps wandering to the scene that left the biggest impact on me: the funeral of Paul (Simon J. Berger, Modus).
It was so filled with celebration — so fitting for who the larger-than-life Paul was in life — that I couldn’t help but laugh and clap through the tears streaming down my face when I first watched it.
Paul’s story might end there, but for viewers of this three-part miniseries about the rise and the impact of AIDS on Stockholm’s gay community in the early ’80s, it begins in 1982…
After graduating high school in his rural hometown, Rasmus (Adam Pålsson, The Bridge) moves to Stockholm to attend university and to explore life the big city’s gay community. Meanwhile, Benjamin (Adam Lundgren, Blue Eyes) evangelizes in the Swedish capital as a faithful Jehovah’s Witness who hasn’t fully realized or acknowledged his homosexuality. Each of these young men meets Paul, and through him they meet each other at his annual Christmas party.
As Rasmus and Benjamin grow closer in their relationship, fall in love, and move in together, the HIV virus is spreading to people they know and AIDS, becoming frequent front-page news now, is killing them. Then the infection reaches Rasmus. And Paul. And nothing will ever be the same for the lovers, friends, and families that remain.
Adapted from the books in the acclaimed trilogy by Swedish author Jonas Gardell, Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves is a stunning piece of television.
The story is told with such love and acted with such heart, it is nearly impossible to not become wholly absorbed in it and to not be deeply moved by it. And while fear and death are part and parcel of the powerful narrative, its nature, ultimately, is love- and life-affirming.
As it stands, Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Glove is my pick for best Euro TV series premiere of the year in the US.
The show — the winner of the Kristallen award for Best Television Drama and the Audience Award at Séries Mania in 2013 — costars Emil Almén (Real Humans), Michael Jonsson (Before We Die), Christoffer Svensson (Annika Bengtzon), and Kristoffer Berglund (100 Code) as friends of Paul, Rasmus, and Benjamin; Annika Olsson (The Sandhamn Murders) and Stefan Sauk (Millennium) as Rasmus’ parents; and Marie Richardson (Johan Falk), and Gerhard Hoberstorfer (Jordskott) as Benjamin’s parents.
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