HOW SKAM’S ISAK AND EVEN REVOLUTIONIZED TEEN TV
The third season of Norwegian teen series Skam dismantled stereotypes, coerced schoolkids into skiving off classes and turned homophobes into rainbow flag-waving defenders—and it first began airing one year ago today. It was the “gay” season, charting the blossoming relationship of Isak Valtersen and Even Bech Næsheim, both coming to terms with their sexuality amidst a cutting background of teenage angst. Taking every fan poll I’ve ever come across into account, season three was by far Skam’s most popular. It broke streaming records in Norway, and television viewership records in neighboring Denmark and Sweden. Throughout its 10-episode run, it hardly left the list of worldwide trending topics on any given social platform.
With a short promo clip that could have been a stand in for a gay snuff film—jockish throbs in a locker room being showered with milk in slow motion—the series wasn’t afraid to shy away from explicitly homosexual subject matter. Or any hot button subject. Homophobia, bullying, mental health—nothing was off the cards for series creator Julie Andem.