Norwegian Language Blog

Norwegians are not ashamed of Skam Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in Culture

Eva har startet på videregående. (Eva has started at High School.) Hun har ei mor som aldri er hjemme, og kjæresten Jonas, som hun er veldig glad i. (She’s got a mother who’s never at home, and her boyfriend Jonas, whom she loves very much.) Men hun har ikke så mange venninner. (But she hasn’t got so many friends.) Da møter hun Noora, Chris, Sana og Vilde… (Then she meets Noora, Chris, Sana and Vilde…)

Yes, I know it’s a little late to blog about a norsk tv-serie that first aired on the channel NRK in September 2015, but SKAM (Shame) has been so tremendously popular that it’s time to say bedre sent enn aldri (better late than never)… There’s been three seasons now, and the series has an enormous following in Norge – and even the neighbouring countries!

So, what is it all about? Basically, it’s a story about ungdommer (young people) aged 16-18 or so. They fall in love, they get jealous and drunk, they fight and help each other. Veldig mange mennesker kjenner seg igjen i scenene. (A lot of people recognize themselves in the scenes.)

Some fans say that Skam is more realistisk than American High School dramas. It’s not a ”Hollywood dream”, but also shows all the struggles and the pain of the persons, who are all very complex and ”real”. Norwegian television even has created fake social media accounts for Eva, Noora and the others. That’s helped a lot of people connect with the fictive persons and feel close to them.

For readers of this blog I guess it’s fun to see all the Norwegian kultur that’s part of Skam. Eva og vennene hennes (Eva and her friends) have påskeferie og juleavslutning (Easter holiday and Christmas end-of-term-celebration). They party på hytta (in the cabin), and they spend a lot of time preparing themselves for russetida – the long celebrations at the end of the three years of videregående school. Actually, the five girls  team up to save money for a russebuss – a special bus driven at the russ celebrations.

If you’d like to have a look into how being a teenager sometimes feels like in modern Norway, here’s a link to the first episode with English subtitles. A warning to people who come from ”careful” cultures: There’s a lot of rawness and direct talk, for example about sexuality and drugs. But don’t take it too serious, either. As the Skam persons sometimes say: Ha litt humor, da! (Have some humour, then!) 🙂

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


  1. Marielle:

    Jeg er trist. It’s blocked in the US. Maybe a VPN…

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Marielle @Dawn, Marielle – I’m really sorry it’s blocked. It’s a great series! Does anyone know where Americans can see it? (As I’m not in the US, it’s impossible for me to check if a link would work or not.)

  2. Dawn Hilson Hykan:

    So disappointed to find out the link is blocked for the USA. Would have enjoyed trying to follow the dialogue with help from subtitles.

  3. corky:

    I love watching Norwegian movies and such to help me learn… but, unfortunately you are a captive audience to all the propaganda and social engineering that you see on every TV everywhere. Norwegian [i]programming[/i] is no exception ;D.

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @corky Hei Corky, yes, I guess you have a point! 😀 NRK, which makes Skam, is run by the state (or used to be!) They might have some points they want to get across, so, yes, the viewers have to watch with that in mind! 😉 Otherwise, I hope you’ll enjoy the series (and learn some Norwegian through it).