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Series / Skam

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"You know, you don't have to face everything in the world on your own."
Eskild Trygvasson

Halla! Skam (English: Shame) is a Teen Drama created by Julie Andem for the Norwegian public broadcasting company (NRK), and currently one of Norway's most popular television shows. It's been lauded for touching upon issues such as friendships, relationships, mental illness, bullying, slut-shaming, sex, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis, and sexuality with veracity and aplomb.

First airing September 25, 2015, it follows the lives of a loosely-knit group of high school teenagers. The scenes making up each episode are made available on the show's home page at irregular times and without prior notice during the week (usually five or six scenes per week), and between these scenes, other media are published in this stream, such as Facebook chats between the characters and pics or short videos from the character's (fictional) Instagram accounts, filling out the experience. On Friday night, the scenes from the previous week are made available as a regular episode (with "previously on" and credits) on NRK's web TV portal (more specifically here) and sent on linear TV (NRK 3) as well. Fan-created subs have appeared online as the show has gathered attention from international viewers as well.


Each season revolves around a different protagonist. Season 1 revolves around Eva and her difficult relationship with her boyfriend Jonas. Season 2 is about Noora, a feminist struggling with her feelings for bad-boy William. Season 3 centers around Isak coming to terms with his sexuality and his tumultuous relationship with Even. Season 4 follows Sana and her struggle to balance her Islamic faith with mainstream Norwegian youth culture.

An American version of the show, set in Austin, Texas, is currently in the works, and will also be directed by Julie Andem.

Skam is also being remade into a German, Italian, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Belgian version. Starting January the 6th of 2020, the French version grew beyond the source material, launching a fifth original season centered on Ensemble Dark Horse Arthur (Mahdi's counterpart), and a sixth centered on Original Character Lola. Not having the right to make it about Daphné (Vilde's Counterpart) they created her a little sister. Seasons 7 and 8 are programed for 2021, centered on the new generation, original characters introduced with Lola's friends.


This series provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • The ending of season 1 has Eva and Noora realize Isak is gay and possibly in love with Jonas. While Isak eventually comes to terms with his sexuality, his supposed feelings for Jonas are never brought up again.
    • After William's actor, Thomas Hayes, quit the show, his character stayed in London while Noora came back and it's mentioned several times in season 4 that William apparently has a new girlfriend. When William suddenly returns towards the end of the show, he and Noora get back together and nothing is mentioned of the apparent new girlfriend.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Vilde towards William, Isak towards Jonas and Chris towards Isak. They all get over it.
  • Back for the Finale: Eva's mother not seen since season 1, Emma and "Dr. Skrulle" (the school nurse) last seen in season 3 all return in the final episode. William returns a bit earlier, and appears in the last three episodes.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Towards the end of season 1, Isak told Eva that he tried to ruin her and Jonas's relationship because he had feelings for her too. Then Eva and Noora realize at the end of the season that the one Isak actually had feelings for was Jonas. As mentioned above, however, this is never brought up again. Presumably he simply got over him.
    • In-universe for Sana as well as the viewers, after she saw Noora and Yousef kissing she finds out they kept meeting and sees Noora messaging her that she wants to tell her "something nice", which Sana figures is that Noora and Yousef are dating. Then it's revealed that both Noora and Yousef regretted the kiss and once Noora found out Yousef actually liked Sana, they met to talk about his feelings and the "nice thing" Noora wanted to tell Sana was that Yousef liked her.
  • Big Damn Reunion: After a whole season of Sana being worried she was drifting away from the girl squad, all of them pull up in their very own "russebuss" while shouting Sana's name and let her on to show both her and the audience that they still love her and that the girl squad is still as strong as ever.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • A lot of the Norwegian songs playing during certain scenes involve lyrics applying to the character or situation at hand.
    • We sometimes hear Sana and her family speak to each other in a foreign language (most likely Moroccan Arabic) without subtitles.
  • Book-Ends: The series begins with a montage of clips while Jonas talks about capitalism, and ends with a montage of clips while Jonas talks about spreading love.
  • Break Them by Talking: After Sonja informs Isak that Even has had a manic episode, she goes on to say that their relationship is merely a sick idea he has because of being bipolar and that he should stay away, leaving Isak shedding a tear as she walks off.
  • The Bus Came Back: William returns for the last three episodes of the series.
  • But Not Too Gay: Completely averted and one of the show's praises: Isak and Even are shown kissing just as much as the straight couples are, as well as being given a subtle lovemaking scene. Eskild also firmly tells Isak off for demeaning men he sees as "too" gay.
  • The Casanova: William and Penetrator-Chris.
  • Character Focus:
    • The focus changes each season, Eva in season 1, Noora in season 2, Isak in season 3 and Sana in season 4.
    • The series finale contains scenes from the point of view of several recurring characters that did not get a season of focus, they are: Vilde, Penetrator Chris, Jonas, girl Chris, Even, William, Eskild and Linn
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In season 2, the girl Mari that Noora occasionally sees and who also happens to be in the bed that Noora wakes up naked in, is the one to finally tell Noora in the end that nothing sexual happened while she was drugged, and also gives her Nicolai's backstory.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Emma from season 3 doesn't appear to be all there.
  • Coming-Out Story: For Isak.
  • Cultural Translation: Averted. The "Russ" concept is a recurring theme in the show (as is expected of the characters' age group), but since this is a celebration unique to Norway, there really is no good way to translate the concept and so most of, if not all subtitles of the show, translates it all directly, perhaps with a side note at most.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: Even's ex-girlfriend Sonja tells Isak that Even isn't in love with him, he's bipolar and thus it's just a "sick idea" he has. This crushes Isak and causes him to withdraw from Even until one of his friends, who has a bipolar mother, tells him that being bipolar doesn't mean you don't know how you feel and he should go get Even back.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The trailer for season 3 has Isak watch all the shirtless boys spray water at each other, ending with someone throwing a milk carton that breaks over Isak, spilling all the milk in slow motion over his face, with Isak looking like he's enjoying it.
  • Drugs Are Good:
    • Alcohol and marijuana are consumed reasonably freely by many of the young characters, even those who are not yet 18. But a few characters (most notably Sana, due to her religious beliefs, and Noora) choose to consume neither, and aren't shamed for it, which makes it a quite realistic representation of high school students on that aspect at least.
    • Horribly, horribly averted with Noora in season 2.
  • Easily Forgiven: Sara in season 4. Sana creates a secret account to post all the dirt Sara's been saying about people behind their backs, including her own friends, only to find that the "Pepsi Max" girls barely cares what Sara said and is instead more concerned with who made the account. Sana tells Isak that she just wanted to expose Sara, with him explaining that they don't care she's like that, because they're like that themselves.
  • Eating the Eye Candy:
    • Season 4's very opening sees Sana staring at a couple of boys' abs out of a window. When the girl squad enter a gym later on, they also admire the scenery, mostly provided by Sana's brother.
    • Noora was clearly very impressed by Even in the season 3 breakfast scene.
    • The trailer for season 3 is Isak nervously staring at all the shirtless boys in the locker room while they have a water fight in slow motion.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Isak finishes the season together with Even and happy after all the hardships they went through, but at the same time reflective on how difficult it's been and with a focus on living purely for the moment.
  • The Eeyore: Linn.
  • Enter Stage Window: Anyone going into Eva's room (except her mother) is likely to enter via the window. Happens particularly often in series 1 when the focus is on her relationship with Jonas and he frequently enters her room through the window.
  • Everyone Has Lots of Sex: It's treated as an oddity that Magnus is still a virgin, and while most people are understanding about Sana's religion, it alienates her from everyone else. Just about everybody else hooks up with everybody else. While Noora is averse to having sex with William in Season 2, this is partly because he has hooked up with so many people and because she lost her virginity at a guy who dumped her the next day.
  • Freudian Excuse: William's brother, Nicolai, is a Jerkass who nearly ruins Noora and William's relationship through lies, drugs and apparent sexual assault, but is revealed through an old acquaintance of his to have had a tragic childhood where his parents neglected him (read: his mother shut him in a room and locked the door when he had tantrums, while his father didn't care much) and he accidentally caused the death of his and William's little sister, which no doubt affected him a lot. As Mari explains, it doesn't excuse his actions, but it's small wonder he became so messed up.
  • Friendship Moment:
    • Many of these between the girl squad.
    • In season 4, Isak at one point, unbeknowst to Sana, lets himself take the blame for her secret account because, like he says himself, he doesn't care what the "Pepsi Max" girls think of him, though he thoroughly confronts Sana about her actions afterwards.
  • Gender Flip: The Spanish remake of Skam has season 3 be about two girls in love instead of two boys.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Noora after she believes she was drugged and raped by William's brother.
    • Isak a couple of times in season 3, most notably when he sees Even kissing ex-girlfriend Sonja at a party.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Sana often talks condescendingly to Vilde, and is understandably frustrated with her ignorance regarding Islam, but she threw water on Ingrid and Sara for calling Vilde a slut in season 1, and is seemingly still holding it aganst them a year and half later. Vilde herself, while often bickering with Sana, eventually states that if anyone fucks with Sana, they fuck with the rest of the girl squad.
  • Informed Attractiveness: In season 1, Sana at one point refers to Eva as "the prettiest" of the girl squad. While Eva is certainly beautiful, Sana still says this while Eva sits right next to the gorgeous Noora.
  • Internal Reveal: In season 2, Noora eventually tells the girl squad that she believes she was raped by Nicolai.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Isak and Even are about to share their first kiss when they're interrupted by someone walking through the door. In season 1 Isak also walks in on Eva and Jonas, interrupting them while they're making out.
  • Invisible Parents:
    • Mostly played straight. The main characters are all youths, and the only parent we get to meet for some time is Eva's mother in season 1, and that is mainly to emphasize that she's mostly absent anyway. In season 3, some of the action concerns Isak's relationship with his parents, but their interaction happens mainly through texts and a few phone calls. Even in the penultimate episode, when Isak goes to a church concert with both his parents, the parents are never shown in focus and we do not see their faces at any time.
    • Sana's mother however notably features in season 4.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: In a show about teenagers, there's plenty of this.
    • In season 3, Isak didn't want to be gay or have any mentally ill people in his life. This lead to Even trying to hide his bipolar from Isak; first by dumping him, then being with him but not telling him the truth to try and seem 'normal'.
    • Throughout season 4, Sana finds herself longing for things omnipresent among her peers that she sees as incompatible with her religion like dating who she chooses and supporting homosexuality and begins to feel in crisis.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Sana thinks she is in a love triangle with Yousef and Noora.
  • Irony:
    • In season 1, Eva finds out Jonas didn't cheat on her right after she cheated on him in revenge.
    • A particularly cruel example in season 4 episode 5 where all the characters are at a karaoke bar and join in on singing John Lennon's "Imagine", which is about unity among people, only for the remainder of the episode to escalate into a series of fights and betrayals based on (presumably) homophobia and Islamophobia, both towards Sana's brother and Sana herself. Thankfully it turns out a Bait-and-Switch, at least in regards to why the guys were fighting.
    • In season 3, Sana often catches Isak thinking of, or looking up Even on Facebook, and eventually gives him a speech on what Islam is really about and how he should respect religion when he rudely questions hers. In season 4, Isak is now the one catching Sana looking up Yousef, and eventually has to tell Sana how she needs to accept that "dumb" questions about religion exists and she should answer these questions to educate people instead of ignore them and just dismiss everyone as racists.
  • Jerkass: William's brother, Nicolai, in season 2. Sara in season 4.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: Jonas says this to Isak on Elias's (not Sana's brother) behalf, after he called Isak gay (though Jonas probably didn't know the real reason Isak got so offended and defensive).
  • Karma Houdini: Noora reveals in season 4 that she couldn't bring up the nerve to witness against Nicolai, meaning he walked free.
  • Last Het Romance: Emma is this for Isak. It´s not hooking up with her that makes him realize that he is gay, and they never officially date, but she is the last girl he hooks up with before coming out of the closet.
  • Last Minute Hookup: The end of the series has Eva get back together with Jonas, while Penetrator-Chris hooks up with Emma.
  • Lady Killer In Love: William falls for Noora.
  • Left Hanging:
    • Sana's season ends without making it clear if her mother will ever approve of her dating Yousef.
    • Strangely, for all the talk and lead-up to the "russ" celebration, particularly in season 4, we only get a glimpse of the girls in their own bus, but never actually their participation in the event.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Being a teen drama this isn't unexpected, though it isn't as extreme as in some others. Before the show started, Jonas left his girlfriend Ingrid for her best friend Eva. When the show starts they are together, but Jonas's best friend Isak has a crush on him. Eva's friend Chris has a crush on Isak. Meanwhile, P-Chris is hitting on Eva, while in relationship with Iben. He also hooks up with Ingrid.In season two, Isak is dating Sara, but Chris is still crushing on him. She starts dating a guy named Kasper by the end. William winds up dating Noora, after previously hooking up with Sara and Vilde, who is deeply smitten with him. Sara also hooks up with P-Chris. In season 3 Isak hooks up with Emma in season 3, but starts dating Even who is in relationship with Sonja when they meet. Sana falls for Yousef in season 4, but is worried that he likes Noora, who makes out with him while she's trying to forget William. At the end of the season, Jonas is dating Emma, but she leaves him for P-Chris, who was sleeping with Eva. Eva and Jonas then get together.
  • Love at First Sight: Isak and Even.
  • Love Interest: William to Noora in season 2, Even to Isak in season 3, and Yousef to Sana in season 4.
  • Maybe Ever After: Sana and Yousef don't actually get together as Yousef leaves for Turkey before the ending to stay for a few months, but he and Sana are aware of their feelings for each other at that point and have a fond parting, with the strong implication that they will likely start dating as soon as he returns.
  • Meaningful Name: In the cabin episode in season 2, the boy that some of the girls are led to believe is a ghost is named Kasper.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailer for season 2 begins with Noora waking up in bed next to a naked girl, giving the impression that she might be gay or bi, or that the season in some way or another anyway will address homosexual girls. Turns out none of this was the case.
    • The trailer for season 3 features William, even though he's absent from the season.
  • Not Himself: This happens to Even, brought on by bipolar disorder.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: Season 3 has the straight version and then the common subversion with Even and Isak.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Isak throughout the hotel sequence late in season 3 as the signs of Even's bipolar disorder escalate in front of him.
    • Sana in season 4 as her online fraud is being found out.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Sort of in season 1. Eva tells Isak how great friend he has been to her, after he told Iben about her kissing Chris. However Eva is both doing this intentionally as she already found out about it, and she is making him feel guilty about something he has already done. Played straight in season 4 with Sana and Isak, when Isak tells Sana she is a good person, while she plans to use his facebook page to find proof that Sara isn´t as nice as she acts. She goes through with it anyways.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Averted. The very first episode has the introduction of both a girl and guy being nicknamed Chris and the brief confusion that follows from this. The male Chris is subsequently nicknamed "Penetrator-Chris" in-universe (for his ladykiller tendensies) to avoid further confusion.
    • Less notably are Elias, a friend of Jonas, and Elias, Sana´s brother. They don´t appear in the same season (one of them appears in the first season, the other in the last) so it is never brought up.
    • In season 4 there is a girl name Lea in the Pepsi Max gang. In season 3 Emma mentions a Lea, and in season 1 the name Lea is shown on a sign outside of Isak´s home. It is never clearified if any of these girls are the same, but presumably the Lea living with Isak is a separate person.
    • In a season 2 episode, a character mentions Yousef. It's unknown if this would be the same Yousef of season 4.
  • Out of Focus: Due to the change in Character Focus every season this happen often. Jonas and Isak have greatly reduced roles in Season 2 and all of the girls are out of focus in Season 3. This is most notable with Eva and Chris who don't even appear in most of the episodes. Season 4 also sees barely any appearances of Eskild, Jonas or Penetrator-Chris.
  • Pair the Spares: Right at the end of Season 4, Jonas and Emma, Isak's beard from Season 3. While that's the clearest example, the sudden reunion between Jonas and Eva has gotten this reaction, but it's also played pretty clearly in when she and Jonas break up, Emma gets together with Penetrator Chris...who appeared to be in love with Eva prior to this.
  • Pop-Up Texting: Frequently used in the show.
  • Properly Paranoid: William is this around his brother, Nicolai.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who is Lea, whose name is on the sign on Isak´s house? A sister? A pet?
  • Rule of Symbolism: Throughout Isak's season, he's often shown struggling to open his closet at school. At one point, Even opens it for him, showing how Even is the one that will make Isak 'come out' of his closet. Later, after Isak has told his friends that he's gay, the closet now opens without trouble, showing that he finally did 'come out'.
  • Running Gag:
    • Noora referring to William as "Wilhelm" through season 2 as a "suppression technique", which she even occasionally does after they start dating to have fun with him.
    • Every time we see Isak and Sana's female teacher in season 3, the camera focuses on her bra-less chest.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • No sooner than Noora and William end up happily together in season 2, do they start having problems and separating in season 3 with season 4 hinting that William might be dating someone new. Whether this would have happened regardless of William's actor quitting the show or not is unknown, though it's reasonable to assume it plays a part in it. This is then subverted towards the end of season 4 when William returns and, after several days of an off-screen conversation, he and Noora are together again and look happier than ever.
    • Eva and Penetrator-Chris appeared to become a couple towards the end of the series, only for P-Chris to suddenly fall for Emma instead.
  • Ship Tease: Eva and Penetrator-Chris.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Penetrators mascot is the Terminator.
    • Noora's Season 1 Halloween costume and Instagram username are of the Log Lady from Twin Peaks.
    • Noora learned how to take people down by watching Suits.
    • Isak frequently mentions that he watches Narcos.
    • Isak tells Emma she looks like Eleven from Stranger Things.
    • The romantic scenario Even describes for him and Isak while they're at a hotel is from the ending of Pretty Woman.
    • Many in Season 3 to William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
      • Isak watches it when he hears Even say that his favorite director is Baz Luhrmann
      • Songs from the film are used in the show; "Talk Show Host", "Kissing You", and "Local God" specifically.
      • Isak and Even have their first kiss in a pool. To "Kissing You", no less.
      • The church where Isak goes for the Christmas concert has a long aisle-way lined with candles and a kitschy neon cross
      • Romeo and Juliet commit suicide and it is implied that Even was preparing to kill himself (his goodbye text to Isak and his belief that death is required for an epic romance). Luckily Isak puts things together in time to stop him.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The reason the show feels so realistic and relatable to so many is that it was based of interviews the creators made with ordinary teenagers in school, asking them about their life with their problems and experiences.
    • Sana's whispered Muslim prayers in season 4 are entirely accurate prayers and not just random words. She is also shown turning her head to both sides if she has to interrupt a prayer, the correct gesture expected.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Vilde and Magnus in season 4.
  • Title Drop: Mostly averted, although the feeling of shame is prevalent in the main characters. In the first season, Eva deals with the shame of having stolen Jonas from Ingrid and of having kissed Penetrator Chris at the Halloween party. In the second season, Noora is ashamed of falling for William because he's a player and a badboy and she's a feminist and William is ashamed of his family (with good reason in the case of his brother). In the third season, Isak is ashamed of liking boys and Even is ashamed of being bipolar.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Noora will give these whenever they're called for.
    • Emma to Isak for getting her interested in him even though he was gay.
  • The Reveal:
    • In season 1, the reason Eva is not on speaking terms with Ingrid is because Jonas was Ingrid's boyfriend that Eva "stole" from her.
    • From the ending of season 1, Noora and Eva realize Isak is likely gay when they find tabs of gay porn on his phone.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Quite a lot because of the level of detail put into the show.
    • The symptoms of Even's manic episode are much clearer on the second viewing: impulsive decision-making, lack of need for sleep, inappropriate behavior, excessive talkativeness...
      • In the fourth episode of season 3, Even at one point asks Sonja to "stop surveilling" him, which likely was a reference to how she was aware of his diagnosis and was watching him.
    • Vilde and Chris's clips in the last episode of season 4 heavily imply that Vilde's mom is clinically ill. Vilde telling Isak that Linn is depressed and to take responsibility for making her socialise with others gets a new meaning.
    • The last two episodes of season 1 shed different light on Isak and his actions throughout the season, including his joke about Jonas's behaviour around Elias (not Sana's brother), his behaviour towards Eva and his reactions when Elias and Jonas make gay jokes at his expense.
    • While the racism she faces daily is shown from the start and could explain her tough attitude, Sana's standoffish behaviour at the beginning makes even more sense when season 4 reveals the bullying she went through in the past..
  • Romance-Inducing Smudge: How Eva and Jonas get back together in the final episode.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Eva, Isak and Jonas at the start of season one.
  • Wham Line:
    • Yousef telling Sana over text messages that he's not a Muslim.
    • At the very end of season 1, episode 10, when all has cut to black: "I think I killed William's baby tonight".
    • Iben telling Eva that someone using the account "isakyaki" told her about her kiss with Chris.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The ending of season 4 episode 8 sees the sudden return of William, despite his actor previously having quit the show and thus no one expecting him to ever show up again.
    • Yousef and Noora making out.
  • Written-In Absence: As mentioned above, William's actor, Thomas Hayes, quit the show after the second season to focus on other projects. This is explained in the third season as Noora and William moving to London together, with Noora eventually coming back when things get complicated between them again because of Nicolai. She waits for William to follow and get her back if he really loves her, but as his actor's quit, one might assume he never will. Until he suddenly showed back up in season 4 episode 8 that is.
  • You Are Not Alone:
    • Said word for word by Isak to Even in the penultimate episode of Season 3.
    • Chris to Vilde in the final clip of season 4.

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