With endless time on my hands in the midst of the stay-at-home order, I find myself binge watching countless seasons of Netflix shows. While some are just meaningless ways to pass the time, season two of All American was a series of 16 episodes filled with lasting messages to teach their audience.
Inspired by a true story, the show follows student and football player Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) through his dramatic life after transferring from South Crenshaw High School to Beverly Hills High—a much wealthier and more affluent school. Faced with issues from football, family, and friends, Spencer is forced to fight for his passion and the ones he loves. As Spencer now seems to live two seemingly opposite lives, he must choose the path that will allow him to have the future he has always dreamed of.
Created by April Blair, All American allows an audience to see inside the early life of NFL football player Spencer Paysinger. Although not all elements included in the storyline are true events that occurred in Paysinger’s life, the drama and heartbreak the plot entailed can help viewers and football fans better understand the struggles some of their favorite players have been forced to overcome throughout their lives in order to be where they are now.
With roles played by actors including Bre-Z, Karimah Westbrook, and Taye Diggs, the plot seems to effortlessly fall into place. The casting of each and every character was outstanding, as the appearance of each student, parent, and coach in the series fits their character’s personality with ease.
The portrayal of the cities of South Crenshaw and Beverly Hills adds an entirely new element to the series that allows for viewers to see the dramatic difference in the lifestyle of those living in the two areas. While gangs and murder roam the streets of Crenshaw, those in Beverly Hills live their lives with pools in the backyards of their gated mansions. Although simply taking a look at each city may make viewers believe that the people within them are drastically different, the producers are quickly able to teach the audience that people from the two cities have much more similar lives and issues than what can be seen from the outside.
There was never a moment in an episode where I was left feeling a lack of emotion from the other side of the screen. I often found myself fighting against the tears welling up in my eyes and attempting to fall down my cheeks. The heartbreak, pain, and glory could be felt through the words and emotions portrayed by each actor as if they were loved ones within my own life.
In the production of the second season, producers were able to create lessons that truly stick with the viewers of their show. Scenes of All American do not simply play as passionless background noise; they are scenes filled with messages that people from any background will be able to use to help better themselves and their lives.