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TV Critics Johndy Faustino Surio III and Christopher Eickhoff review the hit Norwegian show Skam which focuses on the lives and loves of teenagers in an Oslo school
Skam is a hit Norwegian show which focuses on the lives and loves of teenagers in a Oslo school. Since its first episode airing in September 2015, it managed to reach over 1.3 million views in season 2 (over 1/5th of the country’s population) and has recently finished season 3. The show has also gathered a large international cult following, becoming one of Norway’s most popular programmes.
Each series is based upon one character’s life and their personal issues. Over its three seasons, Skam has tackled multiple real-life issues teens are introduced to at that age. This includes mental illness, sexual harassment, date rape, homophobia, and Islamophobia. Each one is handled incredibly well, either through showing that solutions can come from the support of the victim’s close network of friends or through strong independence.
“Over 12 days, the Skam Spotify playlist has had over 67,000 listens and is incredibly eclectic
Throughout the show the soundtrack, using current chart hits, is incredibly well-done. Each song accurately reflects the mood of a scene. Over 12 days, the Skam Spotify playlist has had over 67,000 listens and is incredibly eclectic. Group powerwalk? There’s a song for that. A fan of Pop and Rap? Skam’s got your back. If you’ve never heard of Nas before, you will be on Spotify in a heartbeat. Skam has plenty of well-timed music and it’s sure to make those cute little moments in the show even more delightful.
First there was Beatlemania, now there is Skammania. The show has Norway’s teenage population glued to their screens. So much so that Norway is facing a truancy epidemic; students all over Norway are skipping lessons to watch the latest clips. This hysteria can be explained in NRK’s somewhat innovative means of distributing the episodes. Scenes are posted in real-time (if a clip is set at 5:00 on a Wednesday evening, then it will be released at that time), leaving teens itching to watch the next snippet. The excerpts are then assembled together and released as a complete episode on Friday. NRK have even received numerous fan mails detailing their inability to sleep due to their constant refreshing of the Skam website.
The appeal of Skam does not stop here. Each character has their own social media account and they will often post photos and videos of their daily lives on Instagram. Similarly, text messages exchanged between characters are also released on NRK’s website. This allows viewers to delve deeper into the conversations of their favourite characters. Events that occur in an episode can then be further explained by these interactions.
NRK gives the viewers what they want. Teens can feel so much more involved with their favourite characters on-screen. After all, getting to know the ins and outs of their favourite character’s personal thoughts fuels the fan-base’s interest. These features have allowed Skam to enter the everyday fabric of teenagers’ lives. It’s not just a TV production, it’s an investment. Not only this, but in a country which is gradually turning to Netflix and other sites online for TV shows, Skam helps to return attention to Norway’s cable channels such as NRK through this online disclosure.
Of course, as a Norwegian cable show, there is a certain difficulty in obtaining subtitled episodes online. However, this has not stopped the rise of Skam’s international popularity. Although the show seems at first to target a fan base concerning teenage girls, this is not the case. Both of us are males (20 and 21) and are anxiously awaiting the fourth season.