By Amy Rudolph
Satire is a difficult form to do successfully. “American Vandal” is satire done right.
The Netflix original is a “mockumentary” that pokes fun at true crime dramas. It tells the tale of a serial vandal destroying car paint jobs with phallic imagery. Yeah, the whole series is just filled with dick jokes.
My friend and I started the show together and by about minute three, we couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t know how anyone can’t find a mockumentary about a bunch of penises painted on Prii hilarious.
As I was hysterically laughing with my friend, someone I went to high school with called the first episode, “the worst half an hour of television [he has] ever watched in [his] entire life.” I felt like I was suddenly in on the joke and amongst a secret group who also got the humor in it.
To see who else loved or hated the project, I turned to IMDB user reviews, which are usually comedy gold. I found a lot of posts in support of the show and others who couldn’t be bothered with it because of how stupid it was.
Many of the reviews called it “immature garbage,” “four hours of dick jokes,” and “childish and poor.” These reviews do have some semblance of truth, but I still somehow found it to be funny and a good example of satire. The positive reviews expressed the same sentiments that the show was a prime example of satire, but I couldn’t help but wonder, was “American Vandal” really as stupid as everyone claimed?
On Metacritic.com, another source for reviews, one user compared the series to the 2007 comedy “Superbad” and commented that it used the same juvenile, raunchy humor but failed to make it funny. Having seen “Superbad” for the first time over the summer and thinking it was the stupidest, most inane film I’ve seen to date, I started to wonder if “American Vandal” was the funny, sophisticatedly stupid satire that thought it was.
Sure, it pokes fun at a melodrama mystery series but in the process, it became what it was setting out to make fun of: essentially turning a high school he-said-she-said into a masterpiece leaving the audience to wonder who actually did it, just like a real crime drama.
It is hilarious and quippy and I am looking forward to season two. The show is one of those that you can’t overthink: you just