All American: The New High School Classic

By: Emily Orman

Family. Football. Friendship. All American, a CW TV show and Netflix favorite has returned for a second season. And no one is complaining. 

Centered around the life of talented football player Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), All American works to show the reader the truth behind high school football in America, specifically in cutthroat competitive locations with money to spend like Beverly Hills. Underneath the surface of being a TV show revolving around football and relationship drama, producers have woven in other issues that athletes face: depression, substance abuse, and rivalries both at school and on the streets. 

Although Spencer James plays for Beverly High School, he was born and raised in Crenshaw, a short 20-minute drive from Beverly Hills. However, as you cross the boundary between towns,it is clear that Crenshaw is far more dangerous, with high poverty rates, lots of gangs and common riots. While Spencer is living in luxury in a Beverly Hills mansion, he has to be aware that at home, his family and friends are in constant danger of death. 

In season two, Spencer begins to face even more conflict in his life. His father has returned and invited Spencer to return to play football at Crenshaw High, but Spencer cannot get the thought out of his head that he would be abandoning his BH football family. (SPOILER ALERT!!!) When Spencer gets injured in a gang war that could sacrifice his ability to play football ever again, he must come to terms with what he truly desired in life. 

While providing drama, humor and conflict, All American also serves to educate the world of poverty gaps and struggles that people face depending on their zip code. In a brilliant way, CW was able to provide these important lessons by catering to teenage entertainment: football. 

“I loved All American because it gave me a much greater understanding of racial problems and the conflicts between rich and poor, but in a cinematic way,” Storm student Mackenzie Ferguson, an All American fan said. “It’s entertaining, drama packed, but also teaches a valuable lesson.”

As expected, a TV show centered around sports is sure to draw in athletes to watch. 

“What got me to start watching All American was definitely the football aspect of the show, but then seeing the show changes in culture and from high class to low class made the show ten times more interesting,” Andrew Thenell, a football player for the Storm said. 

Like most TV shows revolving around the lives of teenagers, All American is casted by adults that are acting as highschoolers. Although some, like Jordan Baker (Michael Evans Behling) is 17 years old, the star of the show Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) is 26. This is definitely not a deciding factor of whether or not to watch the show, but it’s important to be aware that the character plot isn’t close to reality. 

After finishing the first two seasons, the viewer will be yearning for a third. Whether it’s to find out how Spencer’s story ends, what ends up happening in Crenshaw, or just to learn more about the community,  All American has become a high school classic, up there with Friday Night Lights and Glee

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