By: Liam Cuddy
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY- What comes to mind when you think of the stereotypical jock? The nerd? The cheerleaders and geeks? The politics that go into the unseen world that is the American high school can often be very difficult to navigate. Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? And at the end of the day, is there really any difference?
These topics are brilliantly explored in the Netflix mockumentary series American Vandal which has just released its second season on Netflix this past weekend. The first season was released and received a ton of critical success, however it remained a hidden gem amongst the Netflix community due to its rather grotesque concept… A small town high school is sent into shock and chaos after a prank that left 27 faculty cars vandalized with sprayed on phallic images.
Yet don’t let the premise turn you away. Yes, American Vandal has plenty of dirty humor and scandalous situations to keep the casual viewer laughing, but at its core it is a character study on what it is to be a modern day high schooler, and the honest, un-glamorized struggles that can arise. American Vandal tackles issues such as stereotyping, judgement, the justice system, future aspirations, social classes and so much more, while still maintaining a light hearted magic that keeps people coming back. Why are we so quick to blame the class clown? How does a reputation hold up throughout the years, and is that a good thing? All of these questions are thoughtfully explored in artistic fashion.
The second season has been released and is already attracting a fair amount of attention. As the mockumentary crew moves onto a new scandal that proves to be even more outrageous with even more twists and turns. With an era seemingly dominated by overdramatic high school portrayals like 13 Reasons Why, it is nice to see the industry take a unique and ambitious step in the right direction.