Stoner’s guilt seems a fal­lacy

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Amer­i­can Van­dal,

The mys­tery of who drew bright orange penises on 27 teach­ers’ cars is at the heart of In­creas­ingly por­ta­ble video equip­ment and the rise of the overly se­ri­ous true crime show com­bine with sub­tly clever re­sults in the new eight-part Net­flix mock­u­men­tary Amer­i­can Van­dal. At once a dis­sec­tion of the so­cial peck­ing or­der at a con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can high school and a stu­diously con­structed im­i­ta­tion of a Jinx­like se­ries, the more se­ri­ous Amer­i­can Van­dal is, the fun­nier it be­comes.

On Tues­day, March 15, 2016 at about 2pm, some­body spray paints 27 bright orange penises on 27 teach­ers’ cars in the fac­ulty park­ing lot of Hanover High School in Ocean­side, Cal­i­for­nia. Who­ever did it is in and out like a ghost, paus­ing only to dis­able the se­cu­rity cam­era trained on the lot and slash a tyre on one of the teach­ers’ cars.

Sus­pi­cion falls on se­nior class-clown stoner Dy­lan Maxwell (Jimmy Ta­tro), who has a his­tory of scrawl­ing the same im­age in class­rooms. He has no al­ibi and was known to feud with the only Amer­i­can Van­dal ed­u­ca­tor whose tyre was slashed. Af­ter an in­quiry by the school board, he is ex­pelled.

Mean­while, Dy­lan’s fel­low au­dio vis­ual club mem­bers, Peter Mal­don­ado (Tyler Al­varez) and Sam Eck­lund (Grif­fin Gluck) are trou­bled by a num­ber of in­con­sis­ten­cies in the school board’s case. The penises in Dy­lan’s class­room pranks are markedly dif­fer­ent from those on the cars, plus they fig­ure he’s too stupid to erase the footage (Dy­lan agrees with this). “Who drew the dicks?” be­comes the ral­ly­ing cry at Hanover High.

From the omi­nous mu­sic to the close-up of spin­ning au­dio cas­sette tapes to the hushed se­ri­ous­ness of the in­ter­views, Funny or Die co­horts Tony Ya­cenda and Dan Per­rault have cre­ated a pitch-per­fect spoof of the oft-times ex­as­per­at­ing genre. That the se­ries doesn’t end where you might guess is only ic­ing on the cake. stream­ing on Net­flix.

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