A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the edgy Norwegian teen series Skam (which means "Shame") contains strong content, cursing, drinking, drug use, sexual encounters, and other risky behaviors that are sometimes more visible than in U.S. shows. It also addresses a range of important social issues, ranging from coming out and mental illness to religious differences and Islamophobia, in a smart and thoughtful manner. Norwegian, British, and American popular music is featured.
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What's the story?
SKAM (which means "shame" in English), is an award-winning and internationally popular Norwegian series about the daily lives of high school students attending Oslo's prestigious Hartvig Nissen School. Each season of the series, which went viral in December 2016, follows a different main character, including Eva Kviig Mohn (Lisa Teige), Noora Amalie Saetre (Josefine Fria Pettersen), Isak Valtersen (Tarjei Sandvik Moe), and Sana Bakkoush (Iman Meskini), and weaves these individual stories through vignettes about the friends' and frenemies' lives. It explores a wide-range of social issues, including sexual assault, mental illness, cyberbullying, homosexuality, and religious tolerance. Adding to the fun are a wide range of popular songs in both English and Norwegian, as well as featured one-liners that sum up the overall tone of the episode.
Is it any good?
This edgy Norwegian teen drama reflects the realities of modern adolescent life in a relatable and fun way. Like many of its European counterparts, it pushes the envelope when it comes to showing risky behaviors like sex, drinking, and drug use. But it also offers an interesting glimpse into Norwegian life, and the way the culture handles the various issues addressed.
While some of the Norwegian slang doesn't translate well in the subtitles, conversations are about subjects that are easy enough for American teens to understand. Meanwhile, the show's overall themes, which include love, romance, and friendship, are universal. No doubt that teens looking for a fun and interesting series with some grit will find that Skam fits the bill.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the issues addressed in Skam. How do discussions about issues like cyberbullying and Islamophobia in the series differ from what you see in U.S. TV shows? Are there similarities?
Is there anything about Norwegian culture and community that surprises you when you watch this show?
Shows from other countries, including Skam, often feature risky content that is more explicit than what is shown on U.S. television. Why? Is there any content that is featured stateside that other countries prefer not to show?