5 Times ‘All American’ Got Real.

Three seasons into the teen drama, All American has had iconic moments where they dove deep into big issues.  We’re listing five of the most powerful scenes, where the show proved it is about much more than football.

The popular teen drama, All American, aired for the first time in 2018. Since then, the show has not failed to bring up important issues such as blackness in America, class differences, gang violence, and mental health.

The show revolves around the talented football player —Spencer James. When Spencer is recruited by former NFL player, Billy Baker, to play at Beverly Hills, his life changes; not to mention, the lives of everybody around him. Three seasons into the CW show, it has had some iconic moments where they dove deep into big issues.

1. Jordan and Spencer Get Pulled Over

When the quarterback, Jordan Baker, gets pulled over by the police, his Beverly Hills bubble popped. This powerful scene highlights the contrast between Crenshaw’s Spencer James and Jordan Baker.

Because of his privileged position, Jordan was never taught how to be safe when dealing with the police as a biracial child. Despite the encounter being the most dramatic part, the true learning lesson lied in the emotive conversation with Billy Baker right after.

 

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2. Leila Considers Suicide

One of the most gut-wrenching scenes in All American is when Leila, Spencer’s love interest, considers suicide. After experiencing a mental breakdown, showing signs of depression, shutting out her friends, and denying that she was struggling, Leila reaches her breaking point.

In this emotional scene, Leila unsafely speeds on the dark road where her mom died. We see tight shots of her tears, her feet pressing the gas pedal, and hear her intrusive thoughts. Despite Leila’s “perfect girl” image for most of season 1, her depression brings about themes of mental health.

 

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3. Olivia Reveals Tamika Pratt’s Death

As the show progresses, Olivia Baker struggles to find her purpose. After experiencing a menacing run-in with the police, she felt particularly touched by the murder of the young woman Tamika Pratt.

Infuriated by the violence, Olivia compromised her mother’s investigation by leaking the footage of Tamika’s murder. Through this subplot, the show explored the cruelties of the relationship between the black community and the police.

 

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4. Coop Getting Kicked Out of Her Home Because of Her Sexuality

Another touching scene in the popular teen drama is when Spencer’s best friend, Coop, tells her mother that she is lesbian. Her mother reacts by saying “you’re not gay, you are confused”.

The moving scene depicts a hard but true reality for the LGBTQ+ community; rejection from parents. Left at a crossroads, Coop ultimately decides to leave her home. This unleashes a series of events where Coop takes the streets and gets involved with gangs, guns, and violence.

 

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5. Racial Profiling Scene

Mid-season 2, Spencer chooses to take his Beverly Hills and Crenshaw friends along with his little brother to eat frozen yogurt. The scene subtly incorporates the effects of gentrification on a low-income black neighborhood, when the stores’ owner racially profiles the group of teens. Not only did she kick them out of the store, but also called the police accusing them of “loitering and disorderly conduct”.

The tension is slowly developed but peaks when Spencer’s younger brother, Dylan, runs towards the police officer. This small mistake could have cost him his life, but he was too young to know that.

 

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With so many meaningful scenes, there is never a dull moment in All American. The CW show never fails to subtly incorporate relevant social topics. Undoubtedly, All American is about much more than football, it’s about the struggles that teens face with race, class, sexuality, and mental health.

We can’t wait to see what this show delves into in future seasons.

About the Author

Camila Vega

Camila Vega is a Penn State student majoring in Communications with minors in Digital Media and Journalism. As an aspiring television host and producer, she enjoys creating independent content, photography, acting and all things social media.