What The CW Drama Got Right About Sport, Race, And Class

all american premiered in fall 2018 on The CW. The show is based on the real life experience of former football player Spencer Paysinger and focuses on a group of teenagers from South Crenshaw High School and Beverly High School, as well as their coaches, parents, siblings and communities. . The difference between Crenshaw and Beverly Hills is striking despite being only about seven miles apart. all american portrays a case of the haves and have-nots – but not in the way viewers might initially think. Sure, the Beverly Hills kids have big houses, fancy cars, and plenty of disposable income, but the Crenshaw kids have a sense of family, community, and integrity that most teenagers often lack. affluent.

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all american stars Briton Daniel Ezra as Spencer James, a rising football star and top student at South Crenshaw High School who transfers to Beverly High to play for coach Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) and compete for the championship of state. Baker is a former South Crenshaw (and college and NFL) star player who knew Spencer’s parents in high school. Baker serves as Crenshaw’s direct line to Beverly Hills; Because he grew up there, it’s not so strange that his children (twins Olivia and Jordan) spend time there.

all american has had four seasons on The CW so far and the fifth season is scheduled to air in October 2022. Currently, you can watch all four seasons of all american on Netflix.

All American is based on the life of Spencer Paysinger

all american is based on the life of former NFL player Spencer Paysinger. Paysinger grew up in South Los Angeles and, like the show’s Spencer James, attended and played football at Beverly Hills High School. He was a wide receiver and linebacker who was named team captain. His uncle, Carter Paysinger, was the head football coach and his father Donald Paysinger was also a coach at Beverly. In college, Paysinger played for the University of Oregon, where he also served as captain in his senior year.


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Paysinger signed with the New York Giants of the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He was part of the Giants’ Super Bowl-winning team in his rookie season and played four seasons with the Giants . In April 2015, he signed with the Miami Dolphins and played two seasons there. He was signed by the New York Jets in 2017 but cut before the start of the regular season, and signed with the Carolina Panthers right after in December 2017, playing three games before being cut. Paysinger retired from professional football at the end of 2017 and is a consulting producer of all american. He also plays one of Beverly Hills High School’s assistant football coaches on the show.

All American Serves Up Teen Drama With A Racist Side

During the first season of all american, Spencer James moves from Crenshaw to Beverly Hills to live with his father’s former high school teammate, Billy Baker, and his family. This allows Spencer more exposure as a student and football player at Beverly Hills High School. Throughout her freshman year in Beverly Hills, Spencer faced acts of stereotyping and racism. In one episode, one of his white teammates asks if Spencer is a Crip or a Blood. While Spencer isn’t in a gang and is a well-behaved, honest young man, his best friend, an aspiring lesbian rapper named Coop, ends up in a gang and commits some pretty heinous acts.

The difference between Crenshaw and Beverly Hills is like night and day, and all american is very aware of the class in the description of the discrepancies. The better-off children live their lives without really caring about the world. While the students of South Crenshaw and Beverly Hills all have the typical teenage angst and drama, the kids in Crenshaw’s teen drama sometimes literally live with life and death stakes. Where all american excels in its ability to present typical teenage stories, such as relationships, first love, cheating, alcohol and drug use, etc. but with this socio-political perspective, reflecting class as well as the issues that black communities face.


Spencer’s South Crenshaw teammates also stereotype him

When Spencer is transferred to Beverly Hills, his former South Crenshaw High Scholl teammates also stereotype him and accuse him of abandoning their community for the wealthier enclave of Los Angeles. They believe that Spencer turned his back on them and their community so that he and he alone could have a head start in the world. As a result, Spencer doesn’t feel fully at home or accepted anywhere outside of his mother’s house and Coach Baker’s house – which are two very different places. Her mother’s house is a small bungalow she shares with Spencer and her younger brother. Coach Baker lives in a huge mansion with his white wife (Monet Mazur) and his bi-racial teenagers.

Spencer James is an American savior

Throughout the four seasons of all american to this day, Spencer James has a giant savior complex. He feels guilty for the opportunity he has to live and go to school in Beverly Hills. He worries about his mother Grace and younger brother Dillion, and he tries to save Coop from gang involvement (and ultimately herself). He tries to save Layla from her depression and anxiety and Olivia from her drug and alcohol abuse. He tries to save his community of Crenshaw from gang violence and the threat of developers trying to gentrify the neighborhood. He constantly puts others, their needs, and their problems above him, which sometimes feels like a waste of his true talents on the grill and in the classroom.


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Spencer’s character is also written to be a superhero. He moves into a new house in a new neighborhood with a new family. He gets a job as a waiter. He doesn’t have a car, but he commutes between the two neighborhoods with no problem. He tries to forge a relationship with his estranged father while being a good example for his younger brother and being the man of the house for his mother. He also has to learn a whole new football playbook with his new team and switch from attack to defense.

Spencer’s Crenshaw family and friends want him to remember where he comes from while taking every opportunity he can in Beverly Hills. Spencer is an empathetic character – almost too empathetic. He tries to be everything to everyone and no one can be successful for long.

all american is loosely based on the life of a real football player, but in the series football takes precedence over the racial tension and class issues at the heart of this drama. all american isn’t about football, it’s about growing up and finding your way in the world. It’s about not living in a bubble. Spencer’s friends South Crenshaw and Beverly Hills eventually reunite, but not without much cliche and slander from both sides.

all american features a predominantly black cast and delves into racial issues affecting the black community, including gang violence and its fallout, mistreatment of black people in health care, racial profiling, police brutality, reverse racism , other forms of discrimination and what happens to children when their lives leave them no opportunity. all american not afraid to go out there and talk about tough issues or other things that many TV networks might consider “too controversial” (which is often code for not being white enough or cisgender). all american may be just another teen drama, but it’s head and shoulders above the pack in its genre and dealing with real issues.

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