By Elliot Kaufman ’19
A comical murder mystery is an idea that very few people could even imagine, but the Netflix original “American Vandal” is just that.
Season two came out on Sept. 14, 2018 and I was binge watching it right away. I had been waiting for this day ever since I finished the last episode of season one just under a year ago.
While “American Vandal” season one, filmed by Peter Maldonado and Sam Ecklund in the form of a documentary,centered around finding the culprit who spray painted male genitalia on teachers’ cars at Hanover High School, season two changes location to Saint Bernadine Prep School. This year’s crime mystery: who put laxatives in the lemonade during the “Brownout” event? Who was the “turd burglar”?
When student Kevin McClain, played by actor Travis Tope, was introduced in the first episode as the outcast of the school, it seemed like he could have been the “turd burglar.” But, I knew right away that the first suspect introduced couldn’t be the criminal.
Other suspects included star basketball player, Demarcus Tillman, his sidekick Lou Carter, theater kid Drew Pankratz, and ultra-wealthy Jenna Hawthorne, played by Melvin Gregg, DeRon Horton, and Kiah Stern respectively. Episodes were spent trying to settle on one of these students, but it ended up not being that simple.
Season one and season two had aspects in common that kept the show’s audience and my continuously intrigued. I am a very thoughtful person, but I am not a huge fan of being creeped out or scared while watching a TV show. The idea that I could help solve and come up with theories for solving a humorous case related to a high school was enjoyable during both seasons one and two.
Also, both seasons didn’t go through too much time describing the action as they jumped right into dealing with the suspects, which allowed the show to keep me attentive right from the beginning. The fact that McClain was introduced and interrogated within the first episode started the season out quickly and effectively.
Lastly, both seasons factored in high school life, including friend groups such as the “popular” kids vs. the outcasts, relationships and the internet. This aspect also showed the creators’ opinions on important factors of society today.
The creators of season two made some improvements to the story arc. First off, there were multiple, connected “crimes” throughout the season, all of which were equally as amusing, instead of just one crime at the beginning as they had in season one. This made it more difficult to decide who the turd burglar was.
A negative of this season was losing the well-known characters from season one, including Dylan. He was such a crucial character in the last season, but there was no check in or communication with him at all in the second season.
In honor of the first prank by the turd burglar, I would give American Vandal season two a nine out of 10 lemonades. With all of the laughs and the “huh’s” that came out of my mouth throughout this show, I felt like it was one of the most entertaining and, believe it or not, thought-provoking shows I have watched.