Skam is known for is verisimilitude. We all notice the way they re-wear their clothes and how they allow the characters to have acne and messed-up hair. Isak speaks, I believe, in that mile-a-minute mumble we all recognize from our own adolescence because they want him to sound like an actual teenager, who umms and says, ”nah” when he is trying to formulate his thoughts. It’s what has made us, frankly, love this show and why it resonates so much, especially for queer audiences. We all remember feeling like saying it out loud was impossible; we were tight there with Isak.
The authenticity is what gets us in, and the emotional work these characters do is what keeps us here. I was left flat, then, by today’s clip (I’m in California, so I watched it this morning…) because it felt like it was lacking both the verisimilitude and the opportunity for Sana to get some healing by connecting honestly with someone who cares about her. The fact that no one, not even Even, mentioned Ramadan felt wrong; we’ve seen that this dude knows what’s up. And if, according to lots of theories floating around, Isak is Sana’s mirror and their seasons are running parallel, this should be about time for Sana to stop being an island.
It seems like Julie and the rest of the Skam crew have dropped the ball, here, somehow making this season about Evak fan service and her precious Noora.
But then it hit me. Maybe this is exactly what it is like for Sana. Isak always knew, at some level, that Jonas, his oldest friend, was going to be OK with his sexuality. Isak has dealt with some shit in his life, for sure, but has also has a ton of people look after him, cough Eskild cough, so his fear of rejection was real and palpable, but not insurmountable.
But for Sana, it’s not at all clear that she will be OK if she makes herself vulnerable. All season, I have desperately wanted Sana to just reach out and tell her friends what was going on for her. I wanted her to reach out to the people who love her and get the love she so desperately deserves in return. Except unlike Isak’s friends, her friends have not checked in with her. She hears nothing but scoffs and bullshit dismissals from them. Couple that with past bullying and the ongoing marginalization she experiences, literally every day–yeah, lady on the bus, I am talking to you–no wonder she has no faith in her friends. I know it could be argued that she did this to herself by keeping herself closed off. Imagine, though, if you thought every interaction with your friends could turn into a cultural education treatise and that you felt you needed to keep them comfortable in order to keep them as friends. It is perhaps a self-fulfilling prophesy, to keep everyone at arms length in order to not make waves, but there it is.
And so now we get her (understandable) rage and her (justified) mistrust. That fact that she has continued to try to be a good person, as Isak said, this long is admirable. But folks can only be excluded for so long. While the gossip in me is psyched to see how she gets back at Sara, I’m worried that in the long run she won’t get the connection and hope she deserves. Maybe this season actually is full of the verisimilitude we have come to expect from Skam: the true emotional cost of racism on a Muslim woman of color in a majority white culture. And as my father so often liked to say, “Ain’t that a bitch.” And by “it,” I mean racism.
Sana won’t post those messages in the bus page. I think she’ll show them to Sara in a way to maybe say “look, I’ve got dirt on you.” To sort of get under Sara’s skin? (Then again, she did post those messages between Jamilla and her brother on a public forum…so who knows).
Then, I think Sara would confront Isak about showing Sana the messages, to which Isak would be dumbfounded because he obviously didn’t do it. I think it may cause Isak to be mad at Sana, which would probably lead to her realizing she went about things wrong and could have just asked Isak. This would send things into a downward spiral b/c of Sana’s whole “one thing I can’t stand is when someone fucks over their friends” thing.
Then I think it could go a few different directions:
First option: Even hears about it and reaches out to Sana because it just doesn’t sound like something she would do because it’s just not like her. This could lead to a much - awaited Even/Sana heart to heart.
Second option: Her mother sees her visibly upset and comforts her, and Sana then spills the beans on everything that has happened, bringing back that beautiful mother/daughter relationship they have.
Third option: Sana reaches out to Jamilla when she realizes she made a mistake. They’ve been dangling Jamilla over our heads for awhile so she’s bound to show up.
So… You do realize we have a show where two poc characters talk very calmly about religion while one of them is very religious and the other isn’t, right?
We have a boy who has chosen not to believe in the religion he is suppossed to because something happen that made him doubt about his faith. And a religious character who respects that, who listens, who tries to understand, who expains why that same religion is important to her. And he listens, he does.
And you also realize we are watching two people completely falling for each other without any hints at sexuality or touch, right?
And we have a main poc female character who isn’t reduced to a love interest and who is strong, independent and also kind, selfless and caring. We have that on tv. We /do/.