So here’s a random realisation.
I consume a lot of content, like A LOT, (tv, movies, books, music, etc you name it) and more often than not, particularly with the visual form of content, I find myself consuming content passively. What I mean is that I just sit there and watch things without really processing them (most of the time after a really tiring day, it’s the kind of content I prefer, because I don’t really have to think too much about it). But here’s the great thing about this little Norwegian tv show, it doesn’t allow us to do that. Skam feels like what the future of media content should be. Active audience engagement. The fact that you have to seek out the website, wait for updates, integrate that with other social media updates. It makes you less likely to consume the show without thought. Here’s Julie saying, this show isn’t going to play by the rules, we’re not gonna spoon feed you, figure it out yourself.
And because your participation in it is self-initiated, you’re more likely to start actively assessing what you watch, and start thinking about implications and making predictions. And substantiating/backing up those assertions you make and this is where metas and analyses comes in. what I love so much about this show is the sheer amount of discussion that goes on in the fandom as the seasons progress and everyone’s active (im using this word a lot am i?) involvement in these discussions. Not only does it cultivate a mindset of critical analysis, but also you learn to be more engaged with the characters and their development which in turn teaches us empathy.
Ok, but like, don’t a lot of shows have fandoms that discuss things and have fans who relate to characters? Well, yes, I’m not saying they don’t. But another thing that sets skam apart from most shows is the audience engagement is much more of a two way street than most tv shows (which incidentally makes the audience interest more sustained in the show). a lot of the times, most tv/movies get produced first and then the audience gets the finished product and the feedback from the audience is delayed by 4 to 5 episodes. If its something the audience isn’t receptive of, shows probably only start pivoting in the next season. And some show creators don’t really care about the audience feedback beyond the numbers and ratings. and on some shows, all they care about are the review critics. and tv networks and movie producers generally don’t care about fans so long as the content makes money. There have been fandoms where the creators have actively worked against what the general fandom wants, which creates a negative dichotomy where the fandom still engages in the media that doesn’t want to cater to them.
But so far, skam is, fortunately, different in that fan discussions are welcomed and even addressed (re: all those fourth wall breaking). And the response from the creators is often almost instantaneous, fluid and flexible. It creates a lively environment that fosters creativity for both fan and content creator (albeit challenging for the show runners). And because the content creators listen, viewers are more likely to become much more discerning, critical thinking people who form opinions on their own and want to actively (there’s that word again) throw these ideas out there to the creators and have some sort of autonomy over the content that they’re consuming rather than just sitting staring at the screen being fed ideas passively. Basically, what im saying is, watching skam helps me become smarter lmao.