American Vandal was one of the new shows coming to Netflix that I was really looking forward to. It seemed to fall in that sweet spot of 2 things I love, juvenile humor and true crime. I honestly thought it was gonna be more of a spoof of Making a Murderer or Serial. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had more depth and actually developed a pretty good story over it’s 8 half hour episodes. That’s right it’s 4 hours long… I gotta say I was hesitant to commit that much time to a mockumentary, but I’m here to tell you that it is well worth the watch.
If you haven’t seen the viral marketing taking place, here’s the basis of the show. Dylan Maxwell (played by Jimmy Tatro) is a class clown who is expelled in his senior year of high school for a costly prank. Someone spray painted dicks onto the teachers cars, but was it him? Peter Maldanado (played by Tyler Alvarez) starts to document the case to try to exonerate Dylan. The show does feature it’s fair share of laughs, don’t get me wrong, however it really does get serious in parts and leads you down various paths of suspicion. It is a really fun show to watch, as we learn a little bit more each episode and are introduced to new characters.
One of the stand out characters is Mr. Kraz played by Ryan O’Flanagan (Funny or Die videos). He is a soon disgraced teacher who has no filter. Also, two familiar Disney show faces have good performances away from their usual sugary goodness. Callum Worthy (of Austin & Ally) and G. Hannelius (of Dog With a Blog) played some of the more memorable and important students to the overall plot. Although their inclusion didn’t take away from the project. I felt like all the characters were well cast with mostly unknown actors to make it more believable we were dealing with typical high schoolers. Jimmy Tatro was great as the class clown character, and the show benefited from his history of being a Youtube personality. He has had his own successful channel for years, which helped the showrunners be able to draw archive type footage for their show. The show creators (Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault) also come from a background of working with Funny or Die and College Humor, so they know how to create short form buzzworthy comedy clips well.
I gotta say I really enjoyed American Vandal, even more than I thought I would. It delivered on the humor I expected, while not taking too long to develop the story. It stayed interesting and just serious enough to keep me binging. The twists were good, and it even did a good job dealing with some of the more serious topics of high school life and modern technology. Give American Vandal a shot and let me know your thoughts and theories. Will we get a 2nd season, and more importantly #WhoDrewTheDicks ?