American Vandal is the true crime parody we all deserved.

If you’re reading this, it’s safe to say you’re probably a little bit obsessed with true crime.

You binged your way through Serial before moving onto Making A Murderer and The Keepers. You’re the one who always brings up Amanda Knox at the watercooler, and you’re pretty sure you know who really killed Hae Min Lee.

You probably also know that you’re a little bit ridiculous. It’s OK, we all are.

Our obsession with all things true crime and unsolved mysteries has turned us into weird little armchair detectives who would prefer to hide in our homes, wasting away hours chasing internet rabbit holes about an unsolved murder from 1971, rather than actually going out and talking to people from 2017.

That’s why Netflix’s new true crime parody, American Vandal, is so bloody brilliant.

It perfectly parodies the break out hits from the true crime genre and our almost laughable obsession with them. It’s also a great example of Netflix making fun of themselves and their tendency to give us exactly what we want, whether it’s good for us or not.

American Vandal is a mockumentary that tells the story of Dylan Maxwell, a high school senior who’s been accused of spray painting 27 penises on the cars in the teacher’s carpark and on the surrounding buildings at his school.

Yep, this a dickumentary, a dicksigation, a true crime dick?

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The (dick) suspect. Image via Netflix.

Once you get past the penises - and there's a lot of them - you start to see how elements of your favourite true crime stories are cleverly weaved into the narrative.


American Vandal tells the familiar story of an unlikable suspect, botched evidence, a trial by media and an easy conviction. Dylan's basically the Adnan Syed and the Steven Avery of the underground dick-drawing world.

There's a scene when the documentary makers within the mockumentary (I know, it's confusing) actually time how long it would take Dylan to drive from his friend's house to the scene of the crime. This is a direct reference to Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder from Serial timing Adnan's movements on the day Hae Min Lee was murdered.

There's a corkboard full of evidence linked together with red tape, there's a side-by-side analysis of dick drawings, there's a reenactment of the crime, and there's also a lot of red herrings.

And there's an unexpected The Keepers-inspired twist towards the end of the series that you'll never see coming.

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The...evidence. Image via Netflix.

As a true crime addict, you will laugh out loud as you recognised these iconic true crime scenes, and then you'll have a long, hard look at yourself and how you've been spending your time.

The final scene in American Vandal is a gentle reminder that maybe - just maybe - the suspects behind our true crime obsessions actually never really wanted our help in the first place.

All eight episodes of American Vandal are streaming on Netflix now. 

Love TV? Listen to the latest episode of The Binge here. 

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