Just to get this out of the way, this is an especially weird post for me; since I started working with Paramount and HBO, I've learned that objectivity may sometimes be considered a conflict of interest. I don't have any professional ties to American Vandal, but I do have a personal one.
Tyler Alvarez portrays Peter Maldonado, the protagonist of the 8-episode Netflix series. I'm especially excited about that because Tyler's a homie.
Okay, so about the show--I fucking loved it. Honestly, If I didn't, I probably wouldn't have written about it because that'd be uncomfy. What was so great about it was that it really knew its audience; millennials. It did what 13 Reasons Why did so well--it featured social media. That may seem minor, but our generation grew up on Nickelodeon and Disney. Our favorite characters used pear phones and rode Jet Xs. These fake brands are obviously used because the networks haven't licensed real products, but it ends up taking the viewer out of the show's universe. Pear phones don't exist, so we know we're watching fiction. Netflix licensed Instagram and Apple and, especially in a self-reflexive series, it makes Oceanside more relevant, authentic, and real. I can relate to people using SnapChat stories, making Youtube Videos, and posting on Instagram; that's really what we do.
I love inane humor. For example, my favorite episode of Silicon Valley is called Optimal Tip to Tip Efficiency. (Definitely give that a watch; It's funny AF.) American Vandal took the dick joke to new heights. I think it's absolutely hilarious when any instance of absurdity is taken seriously. And American Vandal was not a joke--it was a serious, journalistic investigation about who drew the dicks on each of the 27 vehicles in the Oceanside High School staff parking lot. There were real stakes, real suspects, and a real crime--although the particular situation was ludicrous and, ostensibly, satirical.
The show's main suspect, Dylan Maxwell, is played by Jimmy Tetro, a pretty prominent, actual Youtuber. Based on what I've seen from Jimmy's videos, Dylan is essentially just a MUUUUCH dumber version of his real-life counterpart (In other words, Xander in The Real Bros of Simi Valley). The character development was extraordinary and so was the dialogue. I watch waaaay too many shows set in high school, but this is the only one that perfectly encapsulated the way adolescents talk, act, and behave with each other. As I watched, I was able to compare each character with someone I knew from school. There wasn't any over-the-top murders, crazy babysitters, or psycho stalkers; there was just ordinary high schoolers dealing with a sensationalized, yet still mundane, event.
My high school was actually vandalized as a senior prank when I was nearing the end of 7th grade. The words "Jizz on Priz" were spray painted onto the brick walls of Jericho's conjoined middle and high school. For reference, Mr. Prisinzano was the name of our then-principal. Local news covered it, and students giggled as we passed by the poorly-painted-over statement. This was real.
I finished the entire show in a single evening, so it's safe to say, I'm obsessed. Luckily for me (and the rest of the world), American Vandal has been renewed for a second season, which is NECESSARY considering its ending; this story isn't over yet and I'm sooo excited to see what's in store for Peter, Dylan, Sam and, most importantly, to find out #WhoDrewTheDicks
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