There always seems to be a new show that everyone goes crazy for; Stranger Things, This is Us, Orange is the New Black, etc. But there’s one show that’s been making the rounds of the internet lately and you might be surprised about its origins.
Skam (meaning shame in English) is a Norwegian web/television series created in 2015 by Julie Andem. The show is set up like an anthology so that each new season focuses on a different character in a group of highschool friends. So, for example, season one starred Eva Kviig Mohn, season two starred Noora Saetre, and the latest season that just wrapped starred Isak Valtersen.
The show focuses on a lot of different topics ranging from relationships, sexuality, sexual assault, religion, eating disorders, and anything else you can think of that plagues the average (Norwegian) teen. What’s so different about Skam, though, is how authentic it is. Julie Andem, the creator of the show, didn’t write the characters until she chose her group of actors (and, mind you, they’re all actually teeangers, not 30 year olds playing 16 year olds).
Andem also takes the feedback from the actors and their friends on the direction of plot and character development as the show progresses. The actors all have their own lives, too, and aren’t famous celebrities (fame in Norway is way different than it is here in America). Some actors, like Tarjei Sandvik Moe, go to the actual school where the show takes place (Hartvig Nissen). Others like Josefine Petersen, and Henrik Holm, who plays Even, work part time jobs (telemarketer and waiter, respectively.) Oh, and they’re all actually friends in real life.
Skam also takes into account social media and more modern means of communication in a genuine and realistic way. Almost every character has their own Instagram account (that you can actually follow) and they post things regularly as if they were real people. The site skam.p3.no also posts text messages between the characters that are sometimes essential to the plot line, so you become obsessed with keeping up on the happenings of the characters outside of the show. (During the seasons, I probably refresh that page 20 times a day…)
The show airs in real time, also. So, if one scene takes place on a Monday, a 5-10 minute clip is actually posted on Monday on the site. This continues for the rest of the week and on Friday, all the clips are compiled into one episode, so you can either watch as you go or binge during the weekend.
If you’re still looking for some more reasons to watch it, here they are:
1. It’s realistic, not dramatic. The show never becomes over the top or crazy – it’s very much about lifelike situations that are handled in relatable ways.
2. The dialogue is so true to life you’ll think someone has been following you around and writing down what you say.
3. The acting is incredible. Not cheesy, not fake – it’s almost as if you’re watching a documentary.
4. On a similar note, all the actors are crazy sweet and funny.
5. The chemistry tween the characters/actors is crazy hot.
6. The friendships will bring you so much joy.
7. It’s even more fun when you’re NOT in Norway because you have to find creative ways to watch the show. (There’s no subtitles on the orignal videos from the offical site!)
8. Even the side characters are great.
9. The memes are pretty funny, too.
10. Sana. Bakkoush. The most badass Muslim character to ever exist.
It’s recently been announced that Simon Fuller (creator of American Idol) is planning to make an American version of Skam. But, if we’ve learned anything from previous American remakes, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. That being said, watch the OG while you can – you’ll absolutely love it.