Diana Vacc Sees AMERICAN CRIME STORY: THE PEOPLE vs. OJ SIMPSON

 by Diana Vaccarelli

the-people-v-oj-simpson-american-crime-storyTwenty years later and the OJ Simpson trial still fascinates so many.   Executive Producer Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee, Nip/Tuck, and American Horror Story, decided to produce a series based on Jeffrey Toobins book The Run of His Life. The show starts at the murder scene and continues through the trial.

THE GOOD:

  •  The best part of this series is the acting. Everyone fits their roles perfectly. John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, and Cuba Gooding Jr. as OJ Simpson. Each actor gives the viewer the most poignant performance. It is almost like watching the trial all over again.
  • The cinematography by Nelson Cragg is nothing short of brilliant. The colors and the scenery bring you into the scene.
  • The writing makes the characters come alive. We experience the emotional toll that the case has on them all…and, man, is there ever a toll.

THE BAD:

  • The humor element to the writing.  The Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski seem to me to all to often be making light of frighteningly serious matters. I like humor when the moment calls for it, and I realize that Alexander and Karaszewski are known for their use of humor to make serious issues more entertaining. But there are times in this script when their style seems totally inappropriate. One scene is particular is when Robert Kardashian is reading OJ Simpson’s suicide note and you see the Kardashian children cheering “KARDASHIAN.”  This particular scene took me completely out of the show.
  • The racist language. The use of racial slurs makes it difficult for me to watch. I understand that this was the time after Rodney King and LA racial tensions were high, but as a “sheltered millennial” I’m just not used to hearing such things. The language actually made me so tense at times that I had to pause the show and take a breather from it in order to psyche up for more. Can that really be what those behind this series had in mind?

OVERALL:

If you are feeling nostalgic for true crimes of yesterday, or have always wondered what the O.J. Murder case was all about, this show answers a great many questions. Just be prepared for the stress and pain that accompany these real and painful issues.


Diana Vaccarelli is a TVWriter™ Critic-at-Large. Learn more about her HERE