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More Than the All-American Drama

By Arjit Nair and Dylan Sanichara

After two successful seasons, “All-American” has come back to the CW for a third with new plots, characters, and insight into the life of Spencer James through his struggles on and off the football field.

First introduced as a 16-year-old football phenom, Spencer James, played by Daniel Ezra, battles between the pull of his hometown, South Crenshaw, and the opportunity to pursue a future career in football and a better life at Beverly. Balancing school, the problems within his own community, and changes that come with moving into a new neighborhood, James faces many obstacles that affect him physically and emotionally.

All-American’ has taken the standard high school drama and intertwined it with the realities of being a Black youth in America...”

Although the show recorded the episodes through the implications of COVID-19, “All-American” has not incorporated the pandemic into the storyline since the inspiration for the show is loosely based on the upbringing of NFL linebacker Spencer Paysinger. Even though the plot does not include the effects of COVID-19, behind-the-scenes Instagram and YouTube videos created by co-stars encouraged their viewers to be cautious by demonstrating the processes and precautions necessary to stay safe throughout their time on set.

Source by Jada Seto

More than football, "All-American" brings drama and real issues facing the African American community to the CW Network.

Available to everyone through the CW app and on Netflix, the popular teen drama has become a way for students to escape the pandemic.

“‘All-American’ brings back what high school is all about and the normal problems teenagers face in high school. While the episodes air during the pandemic, it helps get my mind off COVID,” said eighth grader Ava Orbon.

Although the series has not highlighted the struggles of this past year’s quarantine through mask-wearing and social distancing, the show has continued to bring to light many other prominent issues seen throughout the past year.

“It's more drama than football, but with the references to important issues the show has become an important part of helping educate our peers,” said senior Jyotsna Kottilil.

By illustrating the struggles of lower class families, substance abuse, and the increased racism in the African American community, “All-American” has taken the standard high school drama and intertwined it with the realities of being a Black youth in America. By portraying social justice issues teens face today, the show has paved a way for many young adults to gain new perspectives and recognize social issues within their own community, hopefully inspiring action for the future.


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