All American: Does it Truly Live Up to the Hype?

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Sarah Hiestand, staff writer

The dramatic Netflix TV show, All American was a popular hit during the long months of quarantine in the spring. The much anticipated season two came out at the perfect time when the world had stopped and there wasn’t much more to do than watch Netflix.

For those unfamiliar with the  series, it is a sports drama revolving around the life of Spencer James, a high school football star from the rough town of Crenshaw. He begins attending Beverly Hills High School for a better education and chance at continuing his football career in college. He faces constant challenges of balancing his life in his home town with his new, glamorous life in Beverly Hills. 

The release of season two sparked growing interest in the series. As someone who has a specific interest in sports and knowledge of football, I found both seasons intriguing. The differences between Spencer’s home town and Beverly Hills gave me a new perspective on life outside of my “bubble”. There are certain areas in every city similar to Crenshaw and it showed the harsh realities of life in such a town. One particularly negative part of the show is the constant drama. Although it keeps the watcher engaged, in my opinion it is too dramatic. There are no breaks in between a new problem that comes up in any of the characters’ lives, whether it is Coop struggling in Crenshaw with a gang member, Olivia struggling with her drug addiction, Asher taking steroids, or the many familial issues among the Baker and James families. This constant drama gives no balance to the film and fills the plot with drama as the only thing providing character development. 

Overall, I did enjoy both seasons. I enjoy following the life of Spencer James because he has so much potential in sports, but shows that he is more than a guy who plays football. He values his family, friends, and his hometown of Crenshaw. He has a strong character in this show and influences everyone around him. Throughout the constant drama of the film, Spencer is someone you can learn from in how he responds to adversity. Although the constant drama was an evident con to me in both seasons, the character of Spencer James and the storyline are two great aspects of the series.