2018-2019 Arts Slider — 14 May 2019
“All American” really gets us

By Heaven Johnson

It’s hard to find an Oakland High student that hasn’t watched “All American.” The popular show tells the story of a highschool student, Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), who moves from Crenshaw to Beverly Hills to play football at their school to have a better future than the other kids in Crenshaw. However, he still has to deal with things going on in Crenshaw, like his little brother staying out of trouble, making sure his best friend doesn’t get forced to do things that she doesn’t want to do while he’s gone, and making sure his mom has everything under control.

Although the show came out on The CW last year, it recently came out on Netflix and is gaining a larger following.

While some shows look fake like you can tell the actors are not in high school, “All American” is different. The show makes me feel like I’m actually in their lives and the situations they’re in are real. I think people love “All American” because of how realistic it is.

Ezra astounds in his athleticism and emotional performance by acting as a real football player with enthusiasm and showing emotion to the situations Spencer was going through as if they were really his. Other standout performances include Samantha Logan as recovering drug addict Olivia Baker and Tamia Cooper as the strong, brave Bre Z, who finds a way to escape a gang despite another neighborhood enemy (but later friend) who dies trying to find a way out.

The most interesting part to me was when the show showed flashbacks of Beverly High football coach and parent Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) always at Spencer’s football games watching him from a distance. The show made it seem like that was his father who was missing all these years when it wasn’t, even though really he was just a coach who always knew Spencer was going to be something. The show added to the suspicions when we found out that Baker and Grace James (Karimah Westbrook) used to date in high school. It put a lot of curiosity in the watchers’ heads and even some of the characters. While all the other episodes are full of surprises and excitement, the last episode was quite a disappointment. It left no cliffhanger or anything to make me want to watch the next season.

“All American,” like “On My Block,” is a Netflix show that focuses a lot on black people, unlike shows like “Riverdale” and “Pretty Little Liars” that mainly focus on white people. These shows show how young teens can go through so much in their lives and no one will realize it. All of these characters went through things from being in gangs and trying to escape them to having parent issues or not feeling loved by anyone around them and just feeling alone. I feel like this show shows you that someone can look perfectly fine on the outside but in the inside there’s things going on in their head and at home that no one knows about.

I think that all people who are interested in seeing something that feels realistic and interesting should watch this. It definitely will keep you wondering if they’re tricking you into thinking something else is going to happen when really it’s a whole different thing you don’t know about!
I definitely recommend this show mainly to all teens and high schoolers. The creators are working on a 13-episode season that has not yet been released but rumors say it should be very soon! Even though the last episode didn’t leave me excited to watch the next season, I might end up watching it anyway.

Overall Grade: A-

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