“When everything seems hopeless you need to take it one day at a time. And if one day becomes too much, then just take one hour at a time. And if an hour is too much, just take a minute at a time”. I came upon SKAM when I was at a low point, the post is quite long as I am writing about a show which has renewed my perspective on life and the world around me. I started watching SKAM through an article I read in Dazed & Confused. It really drew me in and I binged watch half of season 3 in a night and couldn’t wait for new clips to come out sooner enough.
SKAM just wrapped up its final season two weeks ago. It is a Norwegian teen drama set in a high school in Oslo. It has four seasons, each season told from the POV (point of view) of a different character. Throughout the week, new clips and updates with a time stamp are released which are then compiled to form an episode which airs on Friday night at NRK. The screenshots of messages between the characters and their updates (each character has their own Instagram), is a new format where you can peek into the lives of these characters in the current social media age.
The most amazing about SKAM, is its intimate conversations among the characters (a realistic portrayal of the generation). The actors are all of the same age as their SKAM characters. Amazing music (the kind of music on Isak‘s or Jonas‘ playlist, music which you and I listen to) and beautiful cinematography. The fashion is on point, be it Noora’s signature lip, her bob and high waisted jeans, Sana‘s hijab and makeup expressing her mood or Eva‘s hats. Winter fashion never looked so hot before.
That’s Isak (season 3), Noora (season 2), Eva (season 1) and Sana (season 4). I am going accordingly to the season I watched and not chronologically. Each season covers a variety of issues that the teens (and us, we are still experiencing it every day) go through while growing up. It addresses a lot of questions that the current generation is facing in this social media age, be it personal or social.
Season 3 was my first and favourite, how I could instantly relate to what Isak and Even were going through, I rooted for their love and healed myself in the process. The season deals with sexuality, mental illness, love, heartbreak and prejudice. Isak has been in denial of his homosexuality but he can’t help it when he meets Even. While he falls in love with Even, he distances himself from his friends because of his internalized homophobia.
The scenes are so real and truthful, Isak taking an online gay test (don’t we always google when we are struggling to find answers while we are confused), Even calling out casual homophobia, Eskild (Isak’s flatmate who embodies gay stereotypes) saying that you don’t have to face everything in the world alone. After struggling for a fair amount of time, Isak comes out to Jonas (his best friend) and eventually everyone. However, his relationship with Even is difficult as Even has his own issues to deal with.
Isak about Even : Yeah! Now it’s great, but a week ago it was..very bad. So it’s a bit up and down. anyway, that it’s so good when it’s good is also the reason it’s so bad when it’s bad, if that makes sense? And suddenly it can be over tomorrow, but nonetheless I’m thrilled that I met him. because I was just fake, before that. I was just at home watching Narcos and was gaming and stuff. I’m done with that. Now I want my life to be genuine. Even though that means that it will sometimes be terrible, it’s much better than for everything to be fake and boring. It’s a bit of a cliché to say it, but you never know who’s gonna die tomorrow, y’know..and whether you believe in Allah or Jesus or the theory of evolution or parallel universes, there’s only one thing we all know for certain and that’s.. That life is now.
Now, let’s focus on Noora. Season 2 deals with feminism, sexual assault, eating disorders and the importance of friends. Noora is a smart, confident girl who isn’t keen on drinking and hooking up. She starts falling in love with William, the school playboy after his continuous flirtations. She is conflicted as she is prejudiced against William.
She says outright that William is the most selfish and unsympathetic person she has ever met. As much as she wants to be with William, Noora can’t seem to accept his violent nature and worries that being in love with him is changing her strong, independent nature. She doesn’t want to change her opinions for a guy. Sana comes to her rescue.
“You are strong and independent when you can change your opinions. No matter what gender changes you. There is nothing wrong with him challenging the way you think. If you are not afraid to say what you mean, then you don’t have to worry about him controlling you. War doesn’t start with violence. it starts with misunderstandings and prejudice. If you are in favour of a world full of peace, you have to try to understand why others think and act the way they do. You have to accept that not everyone sees the world the way you do. You can’t just believe that everyone has the answers to what is right and wrong. If you haven’t made an effort to understand the one you love, then I will be pessimistic on behalf of the whole world. you don’t have to be with him, but you can’t decide it without even trying to understand him. Its not certain it will go well. it may as well go to hell. But thats life. its impossible to know for sure.”
Every girl can connect to Noora (and her squad, Eva, Vilde, Sana, Chris), when you are trying to find your way in the world amidst all the sexism and discovering yourself through love. When you lock yourself up in midst of overcoming a personal crisis and eventually find a way to work through it. There are always people you can reach out to. There are number of comforting scenes which I can watch over and over again. Watch it for the fun banter among the friends, the inside jokes, the slangs. It’s the same as you hanging out with your gang, without the sugarcoating that usually happens in other shows.
I might write about the other two seasons in a future post. It has been a week since I started writing this post and I feel I haven’t done much justice to an amazing show. There are still so many things I want to talk about. I realise that the content is heavy for light reading but these issues need to be addressed. I have always believed that who you love doesn’t change the person you are. It is important to stand together and make everyone feel welcome. We should embrace our differences and support each other. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
Alt er Love. ❤
Picture credits to NRK and tumblr.