History And Myth

In Carly Twehous, Reviews, TV Reviews by John LaCrosse

American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Review

By Carly Twehous

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were brutally murdered in a ritzy Los Angles neighborhood that, up until this date in history, hadn’t seen a crime worse than petty theft. The high-profile neighborhood and the celebrity status of one of the victims began a brand new era of television news, reality TV, and sparked the quote-on-quote Trial of the Century.

And that’s all before the epic White Bronco chase down the 405.

American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. is utterly unique. It dramatizes and portrays events that happened in most people’s recent memory in a way that leaves the audience wanting for nothing. The actors certainly had to earn their paychecks; it can’t be easy playing a people who are both still alive (excluding a few members of the Drem Team and Rob Kardashian) and in a situation that, at the time, captured literally every camera in America.

David Schwimmer? You may or may not have hated him in Friends, but, man, he makes a good Kardashian. The timid, dinosaur-loving Ross Gellar is a distant memory to the raw emotion and inner turmoil required of playing Rob Kardashian. John Travolta traded in his dancing shoes and Greece Lightning for an Executive Producer credit and a spot on the Dream Team and it was epic.

Sarah Paulson, Sterling Brown, and Cuba Gooding Jr. all brilliantly portrayed their respective iconic faces of American history. It’s particularly difficult, I imagine, to play those specific faces—the two defense lawyers and “The Juice” himself—in a show that attempts to capture the emotional arc of all parties involved. Brown and Paulson are a Dream Team in themselves, masterfully and tastefully illustrating the crosses born by a female lead attorney and an African American lawyer trying to convict America’s favorite African American football star.

There’s something inherently brilliant and captivating about watching this particular saga and meticulously fact-checking it with YouTube clips and Wikepedia articles. The raw emotion, relevant socio-political issues, and Emmy-worthy performances leave history books in the dust. There’s a subjective element, of course, but in a story like this, every person involved is going to have their own version that varies from what CNN broadcasts in Time’s Square.

There’s something about this version of the trial that sits in most people’s recent memory that is undeniably fascinating. Don’t believe me? They’ve got Emmy awards for best adapted scripts to prove it.

For people my age, who were born after the acquittal and consequently have no memory of these events (save for a headline of a newspaper saved from the day I was born), it is quite literally like watching the White Bronco chase and Trial of the Century for the first time.

In that sense, tragedy and modern political commentary aside, The People vs. O.J is just fun and worth watching, even if you followed every headline back in the 90’s.

You might know the ending to this particular saga, but this show will keep you hooked to the moment of acquittal and into the aftermath.