Netflix added their latest original series, a true-crime show titled “American Vandal,” to the list of selections on Sept. 15. The show is a satire of the true-crime documentary style Netflix is known for through series like “Making a Murderer” and follows the investigation of a high school vandalism. Photo courtesy of Netflix.
The Netflix-original series “American Vandal” is a brilliant high school based satire of the true-crime shows Netflix is known for. It’s like the “Degrassi” edition of “Making a Murderer”.
Viewers became obsessed with Netflix’s original series “Making a Murderer”. It was a hit and Netflix continued to push the true-crime narrative. “American Vandal” is a continuation of this narrative in a completely different direction and showcases Netflix’s self-awareness and versatility in its ability to appeal to a variety of audiences.
The mockumentary follows Hanover High School students Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Eckland (Griffin Gluck) as they try to uncover the culprit responsible for vandalizing 27 cars in the faculty parking with obscene images resulting in $100,000 of damage, a felony-level offense.
The plot follows one question: who vandalized the cars?
The suspect? Senior Dylan Maxwell (Jimmy Tatro), an immature prankster who never takes his classes seriously and was immediately profiled by the school board as a known obscene graffiti artist and therefore the perpetrator.
Each episode uncovers more and more ridiculous, yet compelling evidence in Maxwell’s favor as Maldonado and Ecklund dig further, pulling viewers deeper into the story. Viewers will fall in love with Maxwell and his friends, “The Way Back Boys”, as they endure their journey for redemption.
The show is well-produced and features graphics and visuals you would find in true-crime shows following real and more serious situations. Considering the show was made to seem like it was produced by a couple of sophomores, it perfectly imitates the very true-crime shows it’s satirizing.
The show’s lighthearted and comedic nature doesn’t mean it isn’t to be taken seriously. In the midst of all the explicit-jokes, the show touches on real issues like protocol for school disciplinary action and the country’s judicial system.
The show deals a lot with bias– personal biases, biases within the justice system and biases that lead to innocent people getting convicted.
Through Maxwell’s personal development throughout the show, it also discusses a real problem people in high school can relate to, such as identity.
“American Vandal” is hilarious, yet relevant to real-life issues despite its satirical style. There’s one word to describe the entirety of the production of this mockumentary: genius.