This week is a bit different from everything else I’ve recommended on here so far, and it’s going to be a very short entry because your perfect enjoyment relies on you knowing absolutely nothing about this show. Trust me.
This week’s all about American Vandal.
So my reasoning for suggesting you know nothing about this is because the first time I watched this, I was trying to pass the time in an airport, middle of the night, nothing to do for hours on end. I put this on knowing only that it’s good, but not what it’s about. Perhaps it was the exhaustion of my trip, but the first episode just mindf***ed me in the most hilarious way. Safe to say I watched the entire season in one sitting (the blessing of having so long to wait for my flight I guess).
With that said, I’ll only talk about a few things, enough that I don’t ruin the magic but still help you decide if you want to watch it or not.
American Vandal is a 2017 Netflix series taking the form of a true crime documentary. It’s very reminiscent of Making a Murderer and other documentaries of this genre, but let me just say, the topic and execution are absolutely genius. Again, maybe I was too tired to judge it properly and clearly when I watched it, but it left me so confused about whether it’s real or not, and that was part of why I had so much fun watching it.
From the opening credits to the way it’s shot and edited – hand cameras, snippets of other social media videos like YouTube or Snapchat or Instagram or whatever other things teens use, the narration, the interviews – American Vandal presents as an ambitious project of a group of high school students (Peter and Sam) set out to investigate a case. Watching Peter and Sam channel their inner detectives, complete with corkboards with pictures of suspects and all sorts of documents connected through red string, you can’t help but be sucked into the case and treat it seriously. It’s this seriousness that, when coupled with what the case is about, makes the show so goddamn good.
Although crass and silly at times, American Vandal is expertly crafted. The crime scene recreations look professional, the suspect and witness interviews feel and look just like in other documentaries, and the investigation leads Peter and Sam down a rabbit hole of theories and suspects, surprising you at every turn with new revelations. It’s the kind of show that will keep you on the edge of your seat, provide you with the same exact clues and evidence that the investigators have so that you’re along for the ride and able to work the case together with the “detectives”, but still surprise and awe you whenever new things are discovered. Simply put, it’s incredibly fun and interactive, and its twists are earned and exciting.
There’s a clever humor to this show, as it takes a very artful approach to make you laugh, which I found really powerful. It effortlessly pulls you in, and before you know it you devour the entire thing because it’s so good. From how simple and believable the “stars” are, to how intricate and dramatic the story gets, American Vandal, to me, has no flaws. It’s one of those shows I feel is so good, it deserves a category of its own when it comes to discussing faves.
So that’s it, I tried my best to keep as much of it a secret as possible, so that you can feel what I felt when I first watched it. Give it a watch, you won’t regret it!
As always, thank you so much for reading, and see you next week!