Netflix’s ‘American Vandal’ trailer explores a truly ridiculous (and phallic) crime

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Why it matters to you

If real true crime docuseries can get too dark and heavy for you, American Vandal could be the perfect alternative.

Netflix, the streaming service that got us hooked on Making a Murderer, doesn’t have any qualms about satirizing the true crime genre. The official Netflix trailer for American Vandal, released Thursday, hilariously parodies dark investigative documentaries and docuseries such as Making a Murder, Serial, and others. Instead of trying to solve a brutal crime, however, the series asks a sillier question: “Who drew the dicks?”

American Vandal comes from Tony Yacenda (Pillow Talking) and Dan Perrault (Honest Trailers), two comedians with experience writing short internet videos. They have taken on a story that spans eight half-hour episodes, so we’re curious to see how it holds up over the course of an entire season. The preview is promising, as long as you don’t mind humor that is a little dirty and sophomoric.

The series centers on “known dick drawer” Dylan Maxwell (Jimmy Tatro), a high school kid accused of vandalizing 27 faculty vehicles. In keeping with the true-crime narrative, he maintains his innocence, and the show will investigate whether or not he is guilty or not in the same manner as the new flood of legal-oriented documentary series. Along the way, expect to see more drawings of penises than you probably would care to count.

With the story being set at a high school, the humor is fittingly what you’d expect from the average teenage boy. The ridiculousness of it all set against gritty cinematography, dreary music, and dramatic cuts makes for a funny contrast with the fake investigation. Also included is the NPR-style narration, a key ingredient to the true-crime genre.

The trailer includes clips featuring various teachers, administrators, and students weighing in with their theories on Dylan’s guilt.

“There is no way,” one student says in the trailer, apparently shedding doubt on Dylan being able to pull off such a crime.

“He is the stupidest kid I’ve ever met,” another adds.

With this being a true crime satire, there is, of course, a hint of conspiracy as well. The interviews teases the possibility, but the school denies it. We’ll hope to discover the truth when American Vandal premieres on Netflix on September 25.