Netflix's True Crime Satire American Vandal Looks Like Absurdist Perfection

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

“Ball hairs. The ball hairs. They’re different,” a teenage boy intones over footage of a Homeland-style evidence board, complete with red string and index cards in the trailer for Neflix’s forthcoming American Vandal, which looks like a pitch-perfect satire of true crime docuseries.

Via Deadline, American Vandal is an investigation into a high school prank that left 27 faculty cars desecrated with bright pink, spray-painted dicks. Covering this story with the gravitas of a young Sara Koenig is Peter Maldanaldo​ (Tyler Alvarez), who digs deep into the expulsion of Dylan Maxwell (Jimmy Tatro), the senior accused of drawing the dicks.


The trailer, which is well over two minutes, is replete with the hallmarks of true crime docuseries like Making a Murderer and The Keepers: insistent, dramatic piano music; grainy footage from interrogation rooms or school meetings; the sinking feeling you get from watching something that probably doesn’t need t be nearly as long as it is.

It’s a little wild that we’ve already started satirizing a genre that still feels new—the first season of “Serial” that sparked this entire craze aired in 2014—but life, as they say, comes at you fast. The risk, of course is that the satire will be bad, hack-y and overwrought. Lucky for us, American Vandal looks like it’ll be just right.

Senior Writer, Jezebel



my son attended that very school two years ago - it was lousy with dicks.