We are well into Pride Month, and I thought it was the perfect time to bring up a slightly older LGBTQ show! SKAM premiered back in 2015 as an online show in Norway and quickly became a small cultural phenomenon in its own right.
It was early proof of just how well internet audiences could take to shows that didn’t speak their language or share their culture. The show made rounds all over Norway when it was airing and, as of now, has spawned seven remakes in different countries. Each of SKAM’s four seasons focuses on a different main character of the cast, but season three is one of the most well-known, especially among international viewers.
Season three focuses on Isak, a main character since season one, who meets Even. Isak already knew he was gay, but he was in the closet since the start of the show. He would often deny his sexuality to anyone who suspected it, and it was clear Isak was dealing with some internalized homophobia. The first two seasons work to build up his character on the side until he takes center stage in season three. When Even arrives as a new student at the school, we go on an 11-episode journey watching Isak fall in love with Even while also coming to terms with who he truly is. The show’s dedication to realism and intimate storytelling made season three one of the most impactful seasons. Many viewers talk about how this show changed their lives, and queer viewers mention how Isak’s season, in particular, helped them navigate their own journeys.
This season also put a focus on mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. This is a bit of a spoiler, but Isak learns that Even has bipolar disorder, and it leads to a heartbreaking climactic sequence toward the season’s finale. The struggles that Isak and Even face, both individually and as a new, young couple, feel very true to life, even when some moments might be a bit dramatized. The smaller sequences between the characters come together to create a lovely little slice-of-life story for anyone who sees their current or younger selves in Isak, Even, or any of the show’s characters.
If you enjoy shows about youth, discovering yourself, and the quiet moments that build up to genuine life-long connections, then I’d recommend checking out SKAM if you haven’t yet.
Finding the episodes with English subtitles may be a bit difficult at first, but I promise they’re out there, and the show is well worth it! The topics covered transcend language and culture and portray characters that are perfectly human and real.