Review: SKAM Austin

Norwayʼs beloved hit heads to the USA.

If by some miracle you haven’t been exposed to the Norwegian teen drama known as SKAM you’re most likely in the minority. The show about the daily lives and struggles of Norwegian youth that aired in 2015 became a global phenomenon, much to the surprise of the director, the cast and the Norwegian public.

The show, with its unique way of immersing the viewer in the lives of the protagonists, captivated everyone. By giving the lead characters their own Instagram and Facebook, you could follow each person in real time as the plot unfolded.

To be honest it feels a waste trying to explain the concept of the show. It was one of the first shows that managed to capture the way it felt for many to be in high school. The cast, the way it was shot, the music. Just the way people talked to each other. The scripts didn’t feel as if adults were trying to make a teen drama. No other show has managed to appeal to the target demographic in such a way – certainly not in Norway, maybe not even internationally.

SKAM Austin does the same thing.

The exact same thing.

Megan has her own Instagram presence, a real-world immersion tool the original show also used.

Eva goes to America

Norwegian creator Julie Andem is once again directing the show, which it turns out is basically SKAM Season 1, but shot to relate to American high schoolers. Since this America people drive everywhere. There are no ‘Russebuss’ or ‘Skolerevy’. Instead there are dance teams, cheerleaders, and high school lunch tables.

Only two episodes have aired, but they are more or less an exact copy of season 1. Here we find Eva – I mean Megan! –⁠ a quiet girl insecure about her place in the world with little to no friends. Well not since she quit the dance team. Megan (played by Julie Rocha) has a boyfriend (played by Till Simon), a cool kid who is good at school, but actually only wants to work on his music.

SKAM Austin follows the same story as its Norwegian sister. The locations and setting are different, but other than that the characters and underlying plot is the same.

Diminishing returns

The acting is fine, the soundtrack is updated, the whole SKAM formula is there. Some memorable quotes from the original season have been translated and put into the show as wonderful fan service.

Grace (Kennedy Hermansen), our American Noora, comforts Megan with the memorable line: «You know, statistically speaking, girls who call other girls sluts have a 90 percent greater risk of catching an STD before the age of 18.»

For people who have seen the show before there isn’t much new to keep you glued in front of your screen.

The show is still good. It’s the exact same show, but in Austin, Texas.

SKAM Austin can be found on Facebook, with new full episodes every Saturday.