There is a reality-blurring television show about teenagers that is blowing up in Norway, and, now, worldwide. Skam, presented by Norwegian government-owned channel NRK and directed by Julie Andem, follows the life of a cast of high schoolers as they navigate all the obstacles that come with growing up: love, depression, mental illness, sexuality, religion, and all that’s in between. Think Skins for a new generation.
What makes Skam special is its authenticity, a point first, and accurately, made by the New York Times. Its stars aren’t blemish-free just like their character’s life, and most of them still have day jobs or are still in school. One lead still works as a telemarketer. The dialogue mirrors teen talk well, too, mostly because the entire cast is actually the age they’re portraying, which is something that American television can’t seem to grapple with. How many times have you seen a 26-year-old play 18? With that mix of elements, the show stands in stark contrast to the big-budget teen-targeted shows of MTV, and the silly, contrived dramas of primetime television.
The show’s rollout adds to its uniqueness; each week different snippets of the forthcoming show are released in “real time.” If a party scene is happening at 1 AM, then the clip will be posted at 1AM. At the end of the week, the entire episode is released with additional content. This unique unveiling has some fans ditching school or staying up all night in the hope’s of catching a clip. To say the show’s following is obsessive, would be an understatement. Just venture to the popular Twitter @ISAKxEVEN, and you’ll see. That account is also a great way to keep up with the show’s happenings, especially for those outside of Norway.