American Vandal : Netflix

It’s a parody of “Making a Murderer” type documentaries. I just started watching it. Someone spray painted penises on all the teacher’s cars at a highschool and the school troublemaker is accused but insists he’s innocent.

I saw the trailer and I chuckled. I couldn’t imagine watching several hours of it though. It would be like an Onion article expanded to novel length. I just don’t see how the joke could stay funny over that length of time.

Let me know if I’m wrong though. If it gets rave reviews I might give it a shot. I’ve been wrong about these things before.

I watched the first episode and got partway through the second. As you say, the joke is funny at first but then it gets old. I may go back and finish it after a break.

I thought it was way more about the mystery than about the one note joke premise. Like other shows of this kind it draws you in with the whodunit stuff more than the jokes, which are actually few and far between.

There aren’t jokes as such, at least not many. The whole thing is a joke in itself. It’s a parody of shows like “Making a Murderer”, and I think it does that pretty well.

Right now I think the real culprit may have been the supposed witness. The hand job story makes him seem less than credible. Then again, he’s an obvious guess so maybe he’s a red herring.

I’m several episodes in and I’m hooked. The “dicks on cars” is just the crime. It gets a lot more interesting as the mystery starts to reveal itself and the filmmaker/investigator keeps finding ways in which the clues don’t add up but aren’t quite enough to exonerate the accused - or are contradicted by other clues. It’s really quite a mystery!

There is also a remarkable verisimilitude to the whole thing. The characters are just 2010s versions of the people I went to high school with in the 1980s. They’re types, but not caricatures. For example, the accused is a total asshole, but strangely charismatic, just like many real-life total assholes.

Favorite bits so far:

  • the “cool” teacher that the kids don’t trust because they know he’s a phony. (“I listen to Drake!!”*) The teacher’s deluded confidence that the kids actually think he’s cool is all too familiar. **
  • The filmmaker realizing that while the accused is a “serial dick-drawer,” he draws dicks in a decidedly different style than whoever painted the cars. I felt appropriately stupid for not noticing that myself.
  • The filmmakers trying to scientifically test the timeline too see if it was possible for the accused commit the crime in the relevant time frame. “It takes 8.4 seconds per dick.” (Paraphrased)

I’d recommend giving it another try.

  • I listen to Drake too, and I am most decidedly not cool. I just like sone of his songs.
    ** Most of the teachers we considered genuinely cool in HS were definitely not trying to be cool. In fact, they were usually kind of weird. I see the same pattern with my 10th-grade son. I can easily see how the frumpy Mrs. Shapiro is way more popular than Mr. Cool. Again, some realism there.

Forgot to say - “dicks on cars” may seem Kind of trivial, but it did cause $100,000 worth of damage, so it was a serious crime.

So much this. I knew every one of those guys, or a version of them in highschool. The acting and casting on this is great.

Smart writing. Great acting. Dicks. A quietly hilarious, legitimately engrossing mystery. Episodes 5 kinda started to feel like padding to me, but it picks up again. So damn good.

Wow, that was much better than I was expecting. Like all great genre satires, it manages to both critique the genre, and be a worthy example of the genre. I highly recommend it.

I also can’t believe how good this ended up after looking so stupid.

It goes on too long, but there’s plenty of good stuff in there.

So I went to Back to School night at my son’s school last night. He’s taking TV Production this year, so I asked the teacher if he’s seen the shos. He LOVES it, and is very sad it’s not appropriate to show in school. I’m sure it’s fun for him to watch “his” students using the exact skills he teaches to make such an important project.

Yeah, well put. “American Vandal,” the series-within-the-series, is a pretty awesome show, and the filmmakers are pretty cool kids.

Sounds like I need to go back and watch the whole thing.

Season 2 of this drops in a couple of weeks–on September 14th, the same day as Bojack Horseman season 5. (That’s gonna be a bingy week. (Not to be confused with a “Benji week”, where you binge watch Benji.))

It’s a wonderfully low-keyed parody, and the acting is excellent, right on the knife edge of sincere.