The true crime mockumentary American Vandal was an instant hit because, well, who doesn’t like a high school mystery about a low-stakes crime involving penis graffiti? Show creators Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda were joined on stage at the ATX Television Festival with executive producers Dan Lagana and Joe Farrell to talk about the Netflix series in a panel called “American Vandal: Orchestrating The Perfect (Un)True Crime.” Fans of the show were happy to learn about what it took to make the series and many, including myself, were hoping to hear more about season 2. Unfortunately, we didn’t learn much about the sophomore season, but the good news is that we learned Perrault and Yacenda love going on road trips together — and that’s where they came up with ideas for it. Ideas they didn’t share with us.
Perrault said that they had an idea for season 2 while they were in the writers room for season 1, but it wasn’t fully fleshed out until the season was over. Ideas came to the duo on the aforementioned road trip, but they remained tight-lipped on the plot or if it would even be associated with the first season.
Yacenda said, “We had to pick a lane aesthetically for season 1.” He added, “We always knew we can pull from other true crime documentaries for season 2.”
In a video date announcement for the second season released last October, the video didn’t show much besides flashes of yearbook photos of students in private school uniforms with a voiceover that said, “You can be born into the perfect family, perfect school, the perfect life,” says the voiceover in the teaser. “But can you be born above the law?” The video doesn’t show us much about the new season besides flashes of yearbook photos. Whether or not it is connected to season one has yet to be revealed.
It was also announced that Travis Tope (Independence Day: Resurgence) and former Freakish star Melvin Gregg would be starring in the second season. Tope portrays the fedora-wearing, pocket-watch carrying Ethan, while Gregg’s DeMarcus is a top basketball player.
The first season also won a Peabody award, which Yacenda joked “was the goal” all along. Farrell says that when they were receiving the award, it was funny to be surrounded by winners who have created heavy documentaries about hard-hitting topics while they were there for a mockumentary about solving a crime about penis graffiti.
Even so, it still packed a punch when it came to the overall message and tone of the series which was unexpectedly embedded with commentary about high school labels, identity, the culpability of journalists, the justice system and ultimately empathy for a character you were laughing at for the entirety of the series.
Yacenda says that “the goal was to make people laugh” but is happy that people saw that they were trying to good and tell a thoughtful story about empathy.