The genius of American Vandal


Anne Jiang

Anjali Reddy, Editor-in-Chief

American Vandal, A Netflix Original, is one of the greatest satires created by the streaming service. At first glance, the show is simply about a high school senior, Dylan Maxwell, who is expelled over graffiting teacher’s cars with phallic images.

The plot itself is enough to make people stop and shake their heads over the ridiculousness of an entire show based around, to put it nicely, male genitalia. However, take a closer look and you realize that the show is not just an eight-part documentary-style mystery of “whodunnit,” but  actually a true-crime satire.

Just after watching the first episode, I was hooked. It’s obvious the show is a comedy, but it’s still a really well put together “documentary.”

The show is an obvious parody of crime shows such as Making a Murderer. Besides the actual crime, the entire show mirrors the process of uncovering the truth most crime shows include- complete with the cliffhangers at the end of each episode.

A high school journalist, Peter, is the only one who listens when Dylan claims he didn’t do the prank and is determined to uncover the truth.The show follows Peter on camera asking different students and teachers about alibis, evidence, and morals. He spends hours poring over evidence and finds revelations in the most intricate of details.

Excluding that the show revolves around a relatively funny topic, even the conversations and inner monologues between characters are especially witty and hilarious.

Even without the jokes and the story, American Vandal is one of the more realistic portrayals of high school. It isn’t all cliches and cliques, and it even has a realistic casting of teacher types. Throughout the story, Peter uses the most relevant social media as well as has the most relatable conversations with his peers.  

Overall, each episode adds to a story that is brilliant, emotional, and one the fans will never forget. The characters, plot, and the script is incredible – and in honor of the 27 images Dylan may or may not have drawn (no spoilers!), I give this show 27/27 stars. I’m hoping it wins an Emmy.