I was only a few months old when the ‘Trial of the Century’ was taking place. Despite this fact, I grew up knowing the name OJ Simpson. I first heard it when my dad tried to hide the fact that he shrunk my mom’s wool sweater in the wash, who then playfully reminded him that he’s not OJ Simpson. He cannot get away with things. I didn’t know exactly what Simpson did or didn’t do at this point, but I did know that it was a name I should be aware of. I knew ‘The Juice’ for what everyone perceived him as; a joke.
However, with the airing of the new American Crime Story mini series, The People vs. OJ Simpson, it’s becoming more apparent that although the OJ Simpson trial was, in fact, a joke– it wasn’t a very funny one. The words that do come to mind are more along the lines of, ‘what the actual… you know’.
I’m currently watching the series from the perspective of a millennial. Lost, confused, and downright mad. The experience is a first for me, which makes me feel rather apologetic for the audience that has to live through the proceedings of this bizarre trial once again. Although most people know what happens next, for me to realize that spoilers are available on the internet involving the real people — YouTube videos included, is reassuring. (Because I can’t sleep for a week not knowing if the gloves fit or not!)
My friends, who were also too young to have followed the case back in 1994, look at me in disbelief when I summarize what’s currently happening on the show they have yet to tune into. (Come on, ladies!) I myself catch myself pausing during pivotal scenes during the hour to refer to Google in order to confirm whether or not there really was a car chase and why no one said anything when ‘the Dream Team’ redecorated Simpson’s home. WHY? And yes youngsters, those things really did happen.
What makes this series so appealing, besides the plot, is largely based on the actors and actresses that are depicting each of the persons involved in the trial. Although Cuba Gooding Jr doesn’t really fit the build of Simpson himself, his performance is doing justice to his lack of ‘juice.’ Also, can we talk about David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian? His portrayal of OJ’s bestie and the father of the four obnoxious children in America is rather likeable.
And yes, actual person Marcia Clark probably does not enjoy watching award-winning actress, Sarah Paulson, replay her worst ever hair day — but it’s insightful to see this series make a case for her as the real hero in this tragedy. The fact that they dedicated an entire episode of a 10-part series to the trials and tribulations of a female prosecutor and her personal life demonstrates the challenges that we as women have to face– even in the midst of a case involving two brutal homicides. Because priorities.
Race is also an important element of the show. With the #BlackLivesMatter movement gaining more recognition in lieu of recent police brutality cases, The People vs. OJ Simpson has only fueled the fire behind the controversy of the trial and the overall treatment of black people in society. The show is doing a phenomenal job in bringing forth the different perspectives of the people involved in the trial while still making Simpson look guilty. (Because he is.) Questions have also been raised as to why this series is tackling the trial after so long in the first place, but the discussions on race and gender equality along with the emergence of new evidence have made Simpson’s case more relevant than ever.
It doesn’t take effort to make the OJ Simpson more ‘TV friendly.’ With car chases, conspiracy theories, and plot twists, the trial not only divided the nation between #Guilty and #NotGuilty, it probably had producers and directors running for their phones to get started on their next crime story project. Despite the distractions that come with Paulson’s hair and John Travolta’s face (yikes!), American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson is the only series involving a Kardashian that you’ll want to keep up with.
Are you watching The People Vs. OJ Simpson? Let us know what you think about it in the comments below!