With waves of new series coming every week, it was only a matter of time before Netflix started to poke fun of itself.
On Thursday, Netflix released the first details of “American Vandal,” a scripted docuseries satire set at a high school. Like the shows it’s drawing inspiration from, “American Vandal” will follow the repercussions of a single crime. Only this time, it’s a bunch of dongs spray-painted on two dozen cars in a parking lot.
Jimmy Tatro stars as Dylan Maxwell, a student accused of the crime. Naturally, one of Dylan’s classmates Peter (Tyler Alvarez) takes up the case that he might be innocent — talking head interviews ensue.
Following the success of “Making a Murderer” in late fall 2015, this year’s “The Keepers” also helped establish Netflix’s brand of buzzed-about docuseries. From the initial looks of things, “American Vandal” has faithfully recreated the tight framing, faux news footage, and dim contrast lighting that made those recognizable.
Whether or not the show uses the true crime tropes to its advantage, satirizing something so grave and raw is a tricky proposition. On its own, a bunch of genital graffiti investigated by a would-be high school Errol Morris is a funny premise. But depending on how much it sticks to the style of other documentaries covering homicide and sexual abuse, it will be interesting to see how the show addresses what it’s riffing on.
How on earth will “American Vandal” sustain this (straight-faced) joke over the course of four hours? Watch the trailer with the first round of clues below:
“American Vandal” premieres September 15 on Netflix.