Streaming services like Netflix often tend to work on a model which favors hype following instead of leading – for every Marvel property or proven commodity like Black Mirror that’s preceded by a blitz of hype, there are dozens of series that get released with little fanfare, banking on big leaps of faith that the right folks will find it. (Remember how little advance buzz accompanied Stranger Things before that first weekend turned it into a phenomenon?) Still, on paper, a true-crime satire that harnessed the appeal of both 13 Reasons Why and Making a Murderer sounds like the kind of sure thing that would get a major marketing rollout. Which is why you’d have thought that Netflix would have turned the premiere of American Vandal, Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault’s parody of modern investigative vérité set in a high school, into a major stop-the-presses event.
In the second episode of the first season of the TBS show Search Party, someone a little bit older than our protagonist, Dory, asks her a terrifying question: “What do you do?” Knowing how much weight the answer to that question is supposed to carry — how succinctly it is supposed to sum up her entire identity — she looks down at the lid of her deli coffee cup and grasps for a few words that do not sound totally pathetic. “I, uh, work as an assistant … to a lady who’s … married,” Dory (Alia Shawkat) stammers, then lets it go with a sigh. “It’s pretty meaningless. I’m just tired of things that don’t matter.”
Search Party — which returns to TBS this Sunday for a triumphantly ante-upped second season — was one of the best new shows of last year, and, perhaps more than any television show since Girls, you could hardly read a headline