Norwegian TV-series helps young Australians accept themselves

The five female main characters in the Norwegian teen drama SKAM (SHAME). Photo: NRK

For half a year, Scandinavians have gone nuts about a Norwegian youth TV-series called SKAM (SHAME), and now the admiration for the path-breaking series, which right now is on the fourth season, is spreading among Australian teenagers.

Since mid-January, the Instagram account skam_aus has obtained almost 9000 Australian followers who like and discuss the characters and stories of SKAM.

The 19-year-old university student, Brooke Annesley from Western Australia is the person behind the fan site. She started it because she wanted to share her love for the series with other young Australians:

“Now, it is like a little family. We all just care so much about SKAM and the characters. Everyone here is super supportive and loving.”

Groundbreaking way to release a TV-series

The series follows a group of high school students and their life and struggles. Each season has a new main character from whose perspective the audience experience what is going on. The series comes in small sequences which are being released as they are happening. For instance, if a scene takes place on the dance floor at a late-night party, the clip comes out at that time.

In addition to this, the audience can follow the characters on social media, where they share their everyday moments just like teenagers do. Simultaneously, they can follow the characters’ internal messenger correspondence. All the content is posted on the Norwegian Public Broadcasting Corporation’s  SKAM-website.

The story of a generation

One of the reasons why SKAM has been highly praised is it tells more than just a classic teenage love story. It paints a portrait of the teen generation and draws the audience’s attention to issues like sexuality, religion, mental illness, and revenge porn. Brooke Annesley agrees:

“The reason why I love SKAM is because it feels so real. The situations and circumstances that we follow them through can be relatable to most people that age in some way or another.”

Helps young accept themselves

In Scandinavia, the story of the main character in third season, Isak, has helped young people to come out of the closet.

Brook Annesley relates to several of the character, but she feels a special connection to the boy, Even:

“Even is someone who has a mental illness and I personally know what it is like to live with one. I found his development just incredible. I know what it is like to be very insecure about letting people in, letting them see your mental illness. I hid it until I decided that I needed to let people in.”

• to Henrik • it's so important that when mental illness is portrayed on screen that it's real, that it's truthful. This doesn't occur that often and with 13RW getting some unkind words from some people who don't think that it represents it well (don't have anything against the show), I wanted and needed to give a special mention to @henkeholm. The work you did to portray Even in such a way that I could understand exactly what he was feeling with a simple expression is beyond any words that I can write. I don't think I've ever felt something more powerful, more raw and more honest. It made me feel something that I very rarely do feel. It made me feel okay. And if you have a mental illness you will know that being just okay isn't something that comes around that often, being okay is a prize to me. It's what brings me happiness, knowing that I'm content in that moment. So Henrik, this isn't just from me, it's from us all; The whole skam family. I'm so thankful that you got to be our Even, that you portrayed a mental illness in a way that didn't seem overdone or fake. I'm thankful that I'm now in a place where I feel comfortable even mentioning my own problems, because a year ago I could barely leave my house. You've got to work with your mental illness, you've got to recognise that its always going to be there, but don't let that make you feel unworthy. It's not who you are, it's merely a small part of all the wonderful things about you. LIFE IS NOW guys. Much love xx #skam #skamfans #tv #evak #noorasætre #josefinepettersen #noorhelm #Williammagnusson #skamdaily #jonasVasquez #evamohn #lisateige #vildehellerudlien #penetratorchris #pretty #evenbechnæsheim #Isakvaltersen #Oslo #Norway #terjeisandvikmoe #ulrikkefalch #hermantømmeraas #thomashayes #henrikholm #love #beautiful #tvshow #cute

A post shared by Skam Australia (@skam_aus) on

“Even’s story has helped a lot of people including myself deal with the situation they are facing. This helps me accept myself and my illness and ultimately allows me to open up to friends.”

Due to music rights issues, the series can only be streamed from the website in Scandinavia. Australian IP addresses are blocked. The access to watch SKAM for Australians is on YouTube, where the contents are illegally subtitled and shared.


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