Scandal, conspiracy, lies and dicks. These are just a few of the themes from the new Netflix original, American Vandal. This eight-episode mocumentary will have you biting your nails and sitting on the edge of your seat. With a cliffhanger at the end of every 35-minute episode, there is no way that you won’t binge-watch American Vandal.
It was an in-service day for teachers and the students all had the day off. 27 cars got tagged with 27 dicks in red spray paint. Senior Dylan Maxwell is immediately pegged for doing it, being the class clown and known “dick drawer”, it just made sense to the school board and one specific teacher who has it out for him, Mrs. Shapiro.
Sophomores Peter Maldonado and Sam Ecklund think otherwise.
Peter and Sam are the two students that make a documentary, that may not prove Dylan innocent, but will reveal the truth as to what happened on that day. With a supporting cast of students to interview, Peter and Sam seem to have their work cut out for them. Through clever and somewhat crude means, the boys point to Dylan’s innocence, with silly things like the lack of ball hairs, and the different shape of the head than Dylan’s usual drawings.
The idea for American Vandal came to creators Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault in 2016 after seeing the success of the Netflix original documentary How to Make a Murderer. They set out to emulate such documentaries as How to Make a Murderer, Serial and The Jinx. In many ways, American Vandal makes light-hearted fun of the way documentaries like these are set up. An article from Vanity Fair does a great job discussing this.
When they went to Netflix with the idea, they had to assure the creative executives that their series would be “more than just a dick joke sketch”. American Vandal premiered on Netflix on September 15, 2017. Ever since its release, critics and audiences alike have been raving about American Vandal. It has a critic review consensus of 96% and an audience rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. It also received 8.3/10 on IMdb.
One of the greatest things about American Vandal is how relatable it is to actual high school students. Through social media and obvious, but classic, stereotypes you really feel immersed in their world. Yacenda was quoted in an article on The Verge saying:
“The common threads were that high school kids don’t use Facebook much. Certainly not with their own friends. They use a lot of Snapchat. Instagram is the main one. But I guess you learn that kids have their public Instagram, and then they’ll have a private Instragram for just their close friends, so they can post memes or whatever.”
Yacenda and Perrault do a great job of showing all types of high school students. Alex Trimboli is the brown-nosing honor student who is referred to as “a little bitch”, Christa Carlyle is the student body president and is always doing crazy stunts for charity, Sara Pearson is the popular, hottest girl in school and Dylan and his friends are the burn out stoners.
So what do you think? Does this sound like a show that you’d be interested in? Is the idea of minors at parties and hooking up something that should be on television? If you have seen the show, try not to spoil it for others. I hope you are convinced enough to watch this mystery of the spray-painted dicks.