Pin It
Favorite

TV | The People v. O.J. Simpson 

Are you ready to revisit the crime of last century?

click to enlarge Spokane favorite Cuba Gooding Jr. has the pleasure of playing O.J. Simpson.
  • Spokane favorite Cuba Gooding Jr. has the pleasure of playing O.J. Simpson.

Ryan Murphy, the man who gave us the melodic horrors of Glee and the twisted glee of American Horror Story, is either the exact right man to tackle the The People v. O.J. Simpson (Tuesdays, FX, 10 pm) or the exact wrong one.

To tell the tale of football great O.J. Simpson's trial accurately, you have to don both the masks of tragedy and comedy. This is, after all, a story about a murder, about the gory deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and her boyfriend Ron Goldman. But it's also a story about what happens when justice collides with celebrity, and celebrity — not O.J. Simpson, but the concept of celebrity itself — comes out the winner.

In the second part, Murphy excels: His reputation for self-aware camp, full of scenery-chewing actors playing zany archetypes, works perfectly when the tale takes trashy tabloid turns. If The People v. O.J. Simpson has a soapy sheen, it's because from 1994 to 1996, the Simpson trial was America's soap opera.

At times, Murphy takes this idea too far — a scene with Simpson friend Robert Kardashian lecturing his daughters on the dangers of fame practically comes with an audible rimshot — but mostly, the series' utter lack of subtlety is a strength. Themes and character motivations are hammered home, driving the story forward with a thrilling momentum.

Yet when it comes time to dive into the really weighty stuff — two people are dead, for Chrissakes — the series falters. The infamous low-speed chase, where a suicidal O.J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) was holding a friend at gunpoint, forcing him to drive his white Bronco, should be exciting, heartbreaking and fascinating. Instead, it all falls flat, with a mishmash of different perspectives killing any buildup in suspense.

The People v. O.J. Simpson is far more effective at getting viewers to identify with the ambitions of high-priced attorneys, rather than the grief of mourning families or the anxiety of a celebrity defendant. Instead, the paparazzi lens of The People v. O.J. Simpson loses focus whenever it looks at either O.J. or "the people."

  • Pin It

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • The Newcomers
  • The Newcomers

    Gonzaga has hit gold in the transfer market this season
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Earthly Delights
  • Earthly Delights

    A new local business brings indoor gardening and the terrarium trend to Spokane
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • BOOK | <i>HOP KING</i>
  • BOOK | HOP KING

    One tasty bit of Washington history
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Disgraced

Disgraced @ Stage Left Theater

Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 29

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Daniel Walters

  • Rich Man, Poor Men
  • Rich Man, Poor Men

    Can the wealthiest U.S. president ever help the poorest U.S. citizens?
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • CMR and MLK
  • CMR and MLK

    Congresswoman among community leaders responding to post-election racial slurs; plus, remembering Judge Sam Cozza
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • The Other Washington
  • The Other Washington

    Our local state representatives and senators gear up for another year of fights over education, taxes and crime
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Most Commented On

Readers also liked…

  • Blind Faith
  • Blind Faith

    In a vacant lot by the railroad tracks, an unlikely friendship is found
    • Jan 7, 2016
  • Small Towns 2015: A Gem in the Grain
  • Small Towns 2015: A Gem in the Grain

    Talking coffee, German heritage and civic pride among golden fields in Odessa
    • Aug 12, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation