Netflix’s true crime mockumentary American Vandal exposes the shocking truth behind a rash of phallic graffiti

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I don’t like the true crime genre. Call me a monster if you like, but if I never have to hear another teary person discussing their lost loved one(s) while a narrator with a deep voice slowly explains the happenings in a sombre voice I’ll be only too happy.

That’s why the upcoming Netflix Original series American Vandal is right up my alley, combining my disdain for true crime with my love for the ridiculous. It’s a true crime mockumentary that investigates a devastating high school incident in which 27 cars were spray painted with penises. Over the course of the show an aspiring documentary film maker will seek to prove the innocence of the high school student convicted of this heinous act.

I love TV series and movies of this nature because they’re just so silly and I enjoy the way they pop the bubble of their more pretentious counterparts, provided of course they don’t go overboard with the silliness. It’s a fine line to tread because without being smart about it, it’s easy to fall into just being a stupid farce.

The show’s official plot synopsis is as follows:

American Vandal is a half-hour true-crime satire that explores the aftermath of a costly high school prank that left twenty-seven faculty cars vandalized with phallic images. Over the course of the eight-episode season, an aspiring sophomore documentarian investigates the controversial and potentially unjust expulsion of troubled senior (and known dick-drawer) Dylan Maxwell. Not unlike its now iconic true-crime predecessors, the addictive American Vandal will leave one question on everyone’s minds until the very end: Who drew the dicks?

It sounds like a breath of fresh air, let’s take a look:

I like it. The show has taken all the traditional conventions of the true crime genre – with its interviews, conspiracy theories, evidence presentations, and the like – and overlaid it all on something as ultimately pointless as penis graffiti. Whether it can sustain it over the course of an entire show remains to be seen, but I’ll definitely give this a watch.

What do you think?

American Vandal’s eight-episode-long first season will go live on Netflix on 15 September. Created by Youtube content creators Tony Yacenda (CollegeHumour Originals) and Dan Perrault (The Screen Junkies Show), it stars Carlos Luna, Tyler Alvarez, Eduardo Franco, Gabriela Fresquez, Camille Hyde and Carla Jeffery.

Last Updated: August 4, 2017

Trevor Davies

I like pie, I think.

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