American Vandal: 'What...did I just watch?'
Let me start off by saying that this article is not for the squeamish or weak-of-stomach.
“American Vandal,” the serial-parodying mockumentary series exclusively on Netflix, is back with its second season of adolescent crime investigations and tomfoolery. The first season followed two high schoolers, Peter (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam (Griffin Gluck), as they investigated what they believed was the wrongful expulsion of a student (Jimmy Tatro) for drawing phallic images in the school parking lot. This season, the two are back to investigate the so-called “Turd Burglar” (yes, that’s the real plot point), a mysterious assailant who contaminated an affluent high school’s cafeteria food with laxatives in order to make everyone ... well ... go. Uncontrollably.
Again, heed my warning from above.
Right from the start of the first episode, you know this show is going straight into the twilight zone of toilet humor. It starts off with interviews from students at St. Bernardine, a Catholic high school in Bellevue, Washington. In front of a neutral black backdrop, students begin to share their testimony recounting “The Brownout,” where almost everyone in the school collectively crapped their pants. Literally. The episode isn’t shy about showing you some very clear images of students defecating all over clean school floors or throwing up right next to their lockers in the midst of mass hysteria. It’s funny, if you find incredibly embarrassing toilet humor amusing. Otherwise, you might want to look away, or it’ll be more cringe-worthy than anything else. Students are shown pooping everywhere – in trash cans, on walls, in sinks ... You get the picture (as much as you may want to block it from your imagination).
It’s a ... oh, don’t make me say it ... a crappy montage.
Even if your stomach isn’t particularly strong, you probably won’t stop watching anyway. The show is so self-parodying you won’t be able to help but find it hilarious, especially if you’re a fan of mystery documentaries. Peter and Sam revere themselves as professional documentary film makers, even though they’re high school students. Crashing at a friend’s house, retrieving evidence exclusively over Instagram direct messages, asking questions about high school gossip – the two protagonists take their job very seriously, and nothing is too small or too stupid to examine as evidence. If you’ve ever loved parody podcasts like “A Very Fatal Murder” from The Onion, you’ll feel right at home with “American Vandal.” It’s stupid, oh-so incredibly stupid, and that is its best quality by far.