“American Vandal” Netflix’s Latest Mocumentary

By Anthony Del Vecchio

Staff Reporter

Netflix always has a variety of comedy shows and true crime documentaries in their library. What if fans didn’t want to choose between one or the other? The answer comes in the form of the new original series “American Vandal,” which premiered for streaming on Sept. 15, 2017.

“American Vandal” is filmed as a ‘mockumentary’ or fake documentary with a comical spin, something Netflix has never done before.

“There’s too much bad and stupid comedy out there, with cheesy jokes and/or boring references and in the beginning, it kind of felt like that,” said junior Brian Longyear. “Once the episode gets about halfway, the story really starts to form; you have to get through the first episode.”

Netflix describes the show as, “A true-crime satire that explores the aftermath of a costly high school prank that left twenty-seven faculty cars vandalized with phallic images.” The show was co-created by Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda and was directed by Yacenda. It was produced through three companies: 3 Arts Entertainment, Funny or Die and CBS Studios.

Jimmy Tatro plays the high school senior, Dylan Maxwell, the student blamed and expelled from Hanover high school for the prank due to his past and the evidence mounted against him. The narrator for the show, sophomore Peter Maldonado, portrayed by Tyler Alvarez, investigates the story behind the crime over the span of eight episodes with his executive producer, Sam Ecklund, who is played by Griffin Gluck.

“I love watching documentary shows like that, it just makes me feel like I’m right there,” said junior Emily Cummings on crime documentaries. “The feeling of being on trial with them, in that kind of moment, it feels personal.”

“American Vandal,” like Netflix’s other original series’ “Making A Murderer,” which debuted on Dec. 18, 2015 and “The Keepers,” which debuted on May 19, 2017, are all filmed in the darker, realistic style of a serious crime documentary; even though “American Vandal” is just a spoof.

“‘American Vandal’ pulled this style off very well, especially for something trying to be funny,” said Cummings. “The structure of how the show was filmed mirrors that of an actual crime documentary, the content is the only thing that differs.”

More of the students who have watched the show were not easily amused by it, especially at first. All seemed to appreciate how well it was shot and felt: like an actual documentary and most would’ve preferred to just watch something like that instead.

“It looked really good, directing wise; the show just looks like you’re watching something real, but the jokes and the crime itself, weren’t anything special, “said junior Nicolas Valentin. “I mean it was alright, there just came a point when I realized that I could be watching a real documentary, about something interesting, instead of just some stupid story.”

It has been three weeks since “American Vandal” was released for streaming. In that time, has earned a rate of five-stars on Netflix, 8.3 out of 10 stars on IMDB and is currently the highest rated show on Rotten Tomatoes with a 95% rating.

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