The acclaimed Netflix show from 2017 questioning who drew the dicks on the school staff cars has returned with a bigger budget, a different school and a new mystery involving a lot of poop. Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck), the two filmmakers of the meta mockumentary American Vandal about Dylan Maxwell vandalising staff cars with spray painted dicks, were contacted by another school that had been rocked by an unholy prank. St Bernardine’s High School was pranked by the mysterious ‘Turd Burglar’ an online alias that claims to be the one behind the ‘brownout’. A prank that involved spiking the cafeteria lemonade with laxatives making hundreds of people pooping themselves. Peter and Sam decide to take on this mystery and try to figure out who the turd burglar is.
I know this sounds crazy to someone that has not seen the first season of this hit Netflix show. However, it is the true ludicrous nature of the themes and marrying the serious conventions of a true crime drama that provides the majority of the laughs. The first season’s fantastic balancing of seriousness and juvenile humour provided a unique, fun experience of dick jokes and crime documentary parody. When Netflix announced a second season in a new location I was worried whether the lightning in the bottle could be captured again and without the brilliant Jimmy Tatro who played the Dylan Maxwell in the first season. I was so surprised by the first season that going into the second season it had to do more to provide an experience as brilliant as the last season.
There was no question as to where else they could of gone, once you do dick jokes the natural progression is to do poop jokes. I can see why this would put people off just because of the vile and horrifying scenes of hundreds of pupils pooping themselves however in a weird and nonsensical way, it is brilliant. American Vandal is a shocking and peculiar series that knows what it is, plays on this but does it with all seriousness. Another great parody on true crime documentaries such as The Jinx and Making a Murderer, Season Two does not hold back on the poop and this is one of the reason why this show is a success. IT hits hard on the poo jokes and doesn’t stop and at the age of 25, it is still funny.
The Turd Burglar is at large at St Bernardine’s High School (Netflix, American Vandal Season 2)
Poop jokes aside this is another fantastic mystery. The intricate and complex detail put into this show about a poo prank makes the mockumentary so engaging. Every episode puts forward a new theory or suspect that constantly questions the viewer on who the Turd Burglar is. The writing of the show is stellar and fleshes out some interesting and complex characters. The accused Kevin McClain (Travis Tope) is a bullied teenager that as the show goes on, has many other layers and twists to his character. This is the same for Basketball Jock DeMarcus Tillman (Melvin Gregg) who is a likable character that subverts the usual high school stereotypes in TV and film. All the characters within this season doesn’t fall trap to Mean Girl or Clueless-esque stereotypes. Each character is treated with such care and details that it translates to the viewer being able to be invested in the characters.
Any reservations about a second season that chooses a completely different location and new cast is instantly casted aside by the first episode. The second season is just as ludicrous, fun and engaging as the first season. The laughs are continuous and some parts are laugh out loud. This season is missing some great characters from the first season such as Dylan, Ming and the history teacher but it does replace it with other greatly written characters. DeMarcus Tillman and Kevin McClain has a interesting and satisfying character arcs. I do miss Ming though ’cause everyone loves Ming. The whole 8 episode season is easily bingeworthy, I couldn’t stop watching, every episode raised the stakes and blew open the investigation. The writers have done it again, they have created an engaging and interesting mystery that mirrors other true crime documentaries but this one is better, this one has poop.
American Vandal Season Two, is bigger, stinkier but could be argued to be better than the first season. It is just as engaging and just as funny, cause poop is funny. The characters are hilarious but packs a subtle emotional punch. The creators of American Vandal, Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda, have created a formula of the bizarre and legitimacy that results in a show like no other. The mysteries are hilarious but impactful. There is no other show doing what American Vandal does, it is a unique experience that is hard to put into words. Anyone looking on the outside can say this is just a show full of dick and poop jokes but it is much more than that. American Vandal fulfills the current Netflix viewer with a cataclysm of viewing preferences. You want to watch a show that has great drama, real characters, engaging mysteries and juvenile humour, well American Vandal is the perfect vehicle for these. This season has caught lightning in the bottle again and I for one cannot wait for where they go for season three.
Rating – ★★★★ 1/2