Let me just say it here, the last thing I ever wanted was to write a post on all the things wrong with FX’s The People v. OJ Simpson. It’s a show produced by my favorite writer/director Ryan Murphy, so obviously, I had high hopes for this series. Also, it has a cast filled with top notch celebrities (okay maybe not top notch) but it’s a show with a high production value.
But now, the time has come for me to be brutally honest. We’re two episodes in and I’m not entirely impressed. I’m not giving up, it’s still early and the car chase ended last night so I feel like now we’re moving in a different direction.
Here’s what’s wrong with this show:
I want to break this down into characters because I think that’s what this season is all about. But before that, let’s just talk about the writing real quick. I find it really weak when shows rely on expositional writing to explain things to the audience. This was a highly publicized and documented case, there is enough information out there for fans to educate themselves. We don’t need the information thrown at us, all that does is create really cheesy and limited dialogue.
Cuba Gooding Jr: Is probably confusing me the most right now. I don’t know if I like his acting or if I hate it. I don’t know if the real O.J was that over the top crazy (most likely he was) but it just makes it harder to understand how accurate Cuba’s performance is. There are moments where I’m like okay this shot is on him way too long, and he’s screaming way too loud, is he over acting? Or is it just that he doesn’t have enough lines in the script so they just need a super long extreme close up shot of him? Still, we’ve only seen him in this crazed suicidal state, so I’m excited to get further into the season and see a different more manipulative side of him. But still, what are your thoughts?
David Schwimmer: Don’t get me wrong I really love him but he cannot, and shouldn’t have played the role of Robert Kardashian. His face, it’s just not made for serious acting. Also his voice – he sounds like Ross!!. Also his constant connection to the Kardashian children. WTF was that cut scene during his press conference to the living room with his kids watching him on television screaming “daddy, daddy!” Like was that really necessary? And where was Kris Jenner?? Do the Kardashians secretly have a producing credit? So, so many burning questions. There was an article by Rolling Stone last night that pointed out Robert wasn’t the one who convinced O.J to get out of the car. So for them to use Robert as the one that does it in the show makes me wonder there’s someone behind this all that really wants to make Robert look like the hero. Not to say he wasn’t, it just seems like they are going to greater lengths to flush out his character and his ‘heroic’ demeanor.
Sarah Paulson: They are pushing real hard to make us appreciate that Sarah Paulson’s role as Marcia Clark was a no-joke badass biatch. In the midst of the entire O.j car chase, she seems like the only level headed person in the department, while her boss is sketching out because he isn’t going to be mayor anymore.
John Travolta: Eyebrows on fleek. All I can say is John Travolta is coming through with this performance. And I’m sure there’s a lot of truth to this performance, but it’s clear that Robert Shapiro was more of a lawyer than a friend to O.J. The moments where Kardashian is torn and hurting because O.J was is his real friend, Shapiro steps up and has to make the decisions that ultimately help them later on in the case. So as much as he’s the asshole-y lawyer, John T plays him perfectly. And that’s all I can say about that.
Johnny Cochran: So we haven’t seen Johnny involved with the two Roberts yet, he’s more on the outside observing and deciding if he’s going to take the case. Johnny’s decision to represent O.J obviously comes down to how he felt the DA’s office was treating people of colour. We’ve seen snippets of his character, but I’m excited to see more of his techniques and what made him a great lawyer during the actual case.
The 405 Freeway: Came through the hardest this episode with its epic aerial shots, wide shots, close up shots, pedestrians on bridges shot, the freeway did a lot this episode. And I’m pointing this out because it took Murphy and the production team over a year to get permits to film the car scene. Let that sh** sink in. There were some great shots in there, but the craziest one was seeing the highway completely empty, with the Bronco and police cruisers chasing him down.
I also felt like I was forcing myself to get through the entire episode, and whether that means the pacing of the episodes is super slow, or losing interest is easy because we know how this is all going to end, whichever it is, Ryan Murphy needs to pick this ish up.
What did you guys think of the episode?Follow @hollywd_heroine