seeing that robert sean leonard comparison made me wonder since he is such a wonderful actor: what do you think are the most well acted moments of skam? (personally my favorite is the phone call scene in 3x09. that was extraordinary, so natural, i really felt like i was the one calling and the nerves would destroy me.)
Hey, sorry, I was thinking about this question for a while! It’s so hard to choose because the bar is so high. Also, I’m just watching this as a layman without any technical knowledge so separating what I love because of the production choices vs what really features the acting can be tricky. I’m probably biased towards the moments that really feel like a punch to the gut too? My simple answer: “anytime Tarjei’s face (or even the back of his head, really) appears onscreen and also Henrik really getting to dig in during episodes 8-10 and also all eye contact they have together because that can tell their whole love story”. But I tried to do a top five, since you asked!
Honorable mentions: Tarjei in 6.10 part 3 - Kan du varme et til meg også, Henrik in 8.10 part 1 - Tenke det du føler, both in 5.10 part 1 - Hjernen er alene, both in 9.10 part 4 - O Helga Natt.
5) Henrik in 5.10 part 4 - Pause. I love love love that such a quiet scene is so pivotal and that it really only gets its significance from what they aren’t saying. They’re both good here but I single out Henrik because he goes through a complete emotional rollarcoaster in four and a half minutes. He’s nervous, then maybe the most simply happy we’ve seen him on “I’m not sad!”, then alarmed… resigned… saying goodbye. The first time around though… I didn’t see it all. This was second clip that aired after I started watching the show in real time and at that point, I still hadn’t figured out what was going on with Even. So, my first watch through, I was taken in by the way Even forces himself to remain casual and thought it was empathy for Isak rather than a personal reveal. Henrik in this scene is so good because there was just enough there, it was only when I watched it a second time that the alarm in his initial reaction and the moment he looks down clued me in that something was wrong here for him. When I watch it now though, I can almost see the thoughts flitting across his face the whole time as if he’s actually speaking them. It’s a love being built up and then suddenly slipping away right there in that locker room.
Standout detail: When he averts his eyes and takes a second to process:
4) Tarjei in 9.10 part 3 - Sees fredag. Already mentioned in the ask but this scene is done entirely through watching Tarjei go through different emotions in a room by himself. You don’t need to do anything but watch him to get how nervous he was: how he holds the phone to his heart, how he was steeling himself and running through his opening words in his head, how he closed his eyes and chanted silently “pick up, pick up” no matter how anxious about this conversation he might be. And then on the phone with his dad, how he sounds so defeated but he doesn’t break until he has to deny he’s upset… and then all the emotion just comes flowing out. I don’t think anyone could watch this scene without relating deeply?? I think everyone has had phone calls where you’re heart is beating out your chest like this, everyone has burst in tears just like that before. He nailed it.
Standout detail: When he just cracks as he denies he’s upset:
3) Tarjei in 6.10 part 5 - Vært litt spess i det siste. I’m just retreading what’s already been said here but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more true-to-life coming out done? I’m getting a little teary just thinking about Isak on that bench, steeling himself to make that leap. It’s the sheer reality of this moment that has this so high on the list. Really, kudos to Julie and to Tarjei for getting it so right and putting this on screen. It’s such a universal experience for people who’ve lived this but I’ve never seen it done quite this well. All the little moments of waiting, the tension he’s holding as they go get food first, how nervous he is the whole time as they circle closer and closer to it, the overwhelming RELIEF after they’ve started to laugh about it. It’s just… pitch perfect.
Standout detail: When we cut back to his face as he’s waiting anxiously for Jonas’s reaction after he said “It’s not a girl”:
2) Both of them in 10.10 part 1 - Minutt for minutt. I cryyyyyyyyyyy. First of all, I’m in awe of how Henrik’s face looks completely different in this scene?? He’s getting help from makeup and lighting and camera angles but it’s amazing how different he looks having turned off that light in his eyes. He’s fallen open in a way that we’ve never seen. We’ve caught him turned inwardly, seeming to struggle or be wiped out by something, for brief snatches of time before but now, he doesn’t have the energy or motivation to keep any sort of guard up and you can see it all. He portrays the weight of depression so well too, the physical exhaustion he can barely speak through. How he believes what he’s saying but he doesn’t want to… I’m just really impressed by how well he plays it. And Tarjei, he’s always great, but I especially love the self-consciousness in what he’s doing in this scene. Like how when he reaches out to hold Even and stroke his face, it doesn’t come to him easily, he’s a little stiff at it. The shaky resolve of his voice. And his determination, the fire in his eyes in contrast to the blankness of Even’s.
Standout detail: Henrik’s face when Isak first denies the ‘truth’ he’s telling him and Tarjei’s slight clumsiness as he reaches out and holds Even’s face:
1) Both of them in 8.10 part 4 - 15:15-01:01, from 5:28 to 8:58. I still haven’t rewatched this clip in full, it was almost too effective, but this part is the very heart of it for me. Tarjei’s face as he’s starting to put together that something isn’t right here… my heart is in my throat. And I just never can say enough about how well Henrik played this. I think it would be easy for what happened to be something shocking, something off-putting that puts distance between the audience and characters, even increases the stigma about someone going through a manic episode. But I never felt like that, I felt like the audience was Isak here… it slowly dawned on us. The emotional impact of this scene hinges on both seeing Tarjei slowly putting it together but also Henrik walking that fine line where you can almost think nothing’s wrong at first, but you’re talking yourself into it… it’s just a little too much… and then it gets to the point you can’t ignore. We’re alarmed because we know Even and we know something is off. The way they intercut this with their conversation on the bed, which is another great performance, that’s about things they’re not saying creeping closer but in a much quieter and more intimate way, Even realizing he needs to backtrack and adding “I’m just kidding” and how much both of their eyes are saying there…
I can’t really put it into words. I think the editing and sound help create a lot of the fear you feel with this scene but the empathy, what keeps you with Even and with Isak’s worry for him, what keeps this from ever seeming like a spectacle but instead deeply personal, comes from the performances the two of them gave here.
Standout detail: When Even starts talking about the wedding and it’s just not… hitting… right and the complex mix of emotions in Tarjei’s eyes here, the fear and concern and knowing:
To whatever is the name of the man who wants do make a American version of Skam:
Are you sure that you still want make a American version of Skam after this clip? Do you really think that you’ll be able to produce something as beautiful and emotinal as this? Because I’m fucking serious when I say that NOBODY has the right to mess with this scene that is now one of my favorites.
ONE OF MY ACTUAL FAVORITE SCENES IN THE PJO BOOKS WAS WHEN AFTER THE WAR, PERCY AND GROVER SIT ON HALF-BLOOD HILL AND WATCH ALL THE NEW CABINS BEING BUILT (aND IT’S BASICALLY MIRRORING THE PART IN THE LIGHTNING THIEF WHERE THEY SIT ON THE HILL AND GROVER EXPLAINS STUFF ABOUT THE GODS TO HIM) AND THEY TALK ABOUT THE CHANGES THAT ARE HAPPENING AND GUESS WHAT THEY FOLLOWED IT UP WITH IN HOO? LIKE A MINUTE IN A DREAM WHERE PERCY OFFERS TO GIVE HIM SPARE CHANGE