Repeating the same jokes of its predecessor, American Vandal season 2 investigates The Turd Burglar at an entirely new high school.
I find that when a distinctly good joke is made, a follow up is not as effective. I liked Season 1, but Netflix’s American Vandal Season 2 is exactly the same gag, but with a different story.
What made the first season highly effective is that it made the typical Netflix documentary appear manipulative, and that is the joke; American Vandal makes the point that with genuine production value and tensive music, and by angling evidence in a particular way, you can make an audience believe almost anything.
In recent years, we have been spoilt with enticing crime documentaries like the podcast Serial and the still widely-debated Making A Murderer. And the one question that is always raised – are these documentaries being fair to the audience? Is the evidence presented in a way to fool you for a particular motive? American Vandal Season 2 continues the mockumentary style approach; amusing the audience with a bizarre, fictional story, with the filmmaking made to feel real.
Season 2 still offers many laughs, despite the concept getting a little tired. American Vandal moves its attention to a new high school but created by the same filmmakers Peter and Sam; one day all the students start shitting their pants spontaneously, and because there are not enough toilets, it becomes national news as an embarrassing tragedy prompting a serious investigation.
The same stinky event happens three times in eight days, and someone on Instagram named “The Turd Burglar” claims that they caused the incident. The opening episodes reveal the impact it had on the community and some students detail their account of that fateful day. In the opening episodes, I did become uncannily amused when the first suspec,t Kevin McClain, is interrogated for hours and claims to have been forced to deliver his confession due to pressure; a nod to Brandon Dassey for sure.
American Vandal Season 2 once again displays our obsession with true-crime stories as The Turd Burglar’s motives are dissected by Peter and Sam, drawing out patterns between students and over analysing basic events. The Netflix Original series magnifies the investigation to a ridiculous level, even monitoring videos of how strained students looked when they spontaneously shit. The fictional filmmakers make a series of interviews, with the usual suspicious contradictions that raise eyebrows. You do sometimes forget that the story is not real. I guess that is a compliment to the strength and quality of the Netflix series.
As American Vandal Season 2 progresses, many twists and turns are revealed just like its predecessor, and for all its efforts, you do feel like you are watching a genuine documentary. My issue is clear: a second season was unnecessary. Yes, spontaneous shitting will always be hilarious, and the penis drawing that we were subjected to in the previous season was way funnier than it needed to be, but once a mockumentary has been delivered, the message is made. I guess if you can remove the fact that it is a mockumentary, you can view Season 2 as a new story.