While true crime documentaries have been around for a long time, their popularity has seen a resurgence in recent years, mostly thanks to subscription services like Netflix who can churn out these docudramas from good filmmakers with regularity. Docs such as Making a Murderer, The Keepers, Amanda Knox, and The Jinx have transcended their genre to become legitimate water cooler shows. Couple that with the success of the genre in podcast form (Serial, Up and Vanished, In The Dark) and there’s never been a better time to focus on the form.
And make fun of it.
Netflix, the company that has arguably gained the most from the genre, is also going to be the one to lampoon it with the release of American Vandal.
“This is just not the way I thought things were going to go. I was going to graduate high school, get my degree in engineering. I know I didn’t do it.” The opening voiceover, coupled with images of a young man who eventually stares directly at the camera, provides a pitch perfect entry into the spoof, which up until that point could actually be a real true crime story.
And then you find out what the “horrific” crime that Dylan Maxwell is accused of committing is. He allegedly vandalized twenty-seven faculty cars by drawing penises on them.
“He’s, like, a known dick drawer.”
The “documentary” is an investigation into the controversy surrounding the crime and Dylan’s expulsion from school over the graffiti. Maybe, just maybe, the evidence actually points to him not committing this heinous crime. But if that’s true, who did draw all those dicks?
The series comes from Dan Perrault, best known for ScreenJunkies’ Honest Trailers series, and Tony Yacenda, who creates videos for CollegeHumour Originals. The show is a production by Funny or Die, 3Arts, and CBS’. The first season of the mockumentary premieres on Netflix on September 15th.