Don't worry: Peter Maldonado and Sam Ecklund explain everything

By Dana Schwartz
September 17, 2018 at 03:58 PM EDT
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Credit: Scott Patrick Green/Netflix
type
  • TV Show
network
  • Netflix

The Netflix comedy American Vandal is a pitch-perfect parody of true-crime series like Making a Murderer and Serial, so spot-on that it’s easy to believe Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck) and Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) are real high school students using AV club equipment. The show’s opening credits even list a “Mr. Baxter” as an executive producer.

But one detail from the first season stood apart as not quite consistent with the gonzo-teen-documentary aesthetic that’s otherwise so perfectly calibrated: While investigating the claim of “little bitch” Alex Trimboli (Calum Worthy) that he received a handjob from popular student Sarah Pearson (Saxon Sharbino) at summer camp, our documentarians include a CGI re-enactment of the alleged event.

But how would two high school kids have the money and ability to create that rendering?

That very question is answered in the first episode of American Vandal’s sophomore season. While laying the groundwork for their new investigation — the case of the self-proclaimed Turd Burglar terrorizing a prestigious private high school — Sam and Peter review the series of events that led their local project to become available to stream on Netflix.

The story goes that after they posted their documentary about the wrongful conviction of “known dick drawer” Dylan Maxwell (Jimmy Tatro) on Vimeo, they became a viral sensation. Netflix reached out, and offered $800,000 to increase production value and begin streaming the series online. And so, the boys were able to add drone shots, a musical score, opening credits and, of course, 3D handjob graphics.

“It brought new life to our documentary,” Peter says in voice-over the first episode of season 2. “Even though many of the fans thought the changes robbed it of some of the Vimeo version’s original charm.”

There you have it. If you want to believe that Sam and Peter aren’t actually actors, American Vandal provides a back story to keep the magic alive.

American Vandal

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 2
rating
network
  • Netflix

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