The People vs O.J. Simpson
And for the second episode, we have one of the most iconic images of 1994: the White Bronco, shot from a news helicopter.
We're introduced to the Kardashians at the beginning of the episode, as Robert is at a press conference and the press struggles with his name. Ah, what an innocent time, when we didn't know how to pronounce or spell 'Kardashian.' The media is everywhere in this episode, from the cameras at the cemetery to the big finale at O.J.'s house. Shapiro at one point insists on a press conference, not to take care of his client but to defend himself. That 24/7 news coverage impact!
Schwimmer might be turning me around. He's pretty great in this role, in this episode, very anti-Ross. Relationships make everyone more sympathetic. And the love between Bobby and O.J. is evident, from the insistence on the 'Juice' nickname to the flowery terms of endearment.
When Schwimmer tells O.J.'s kids that their father has died... What the hell, Ross? Why would you tell them before you were 100% sure!?!? And like everyone else, they find out what is really going on via television. The television in general is extremely important in this episode. So many key players discover what's going on via news and the television. Even Clarke discovers, at the end of the episode, that Cochran is on the case via a newspaper. It's such a juxtaposition to how we get our news today - immediately, via social media or a text. Who has time to wait for a newspaper to print and be delivered?
The show does a great job of keeping O.J.'s guilt in question. O.J. is presented as surprisingly sympathetic during the chase - someone emotionally unstable, in way over his head. O.J. repeatedly admits his sorrow. He didn't mean to keep everyone up late. He didn't mean to cause so much drama. But he never apologizes for killing Nicole, or anything close to it. And it also does a great job of portraying the plebeian response, as the Bronco chase interrupts a pub watching the basketball games, only for the crowd to be sucked in by the O.J. drama. There's also the gang on the overpass, out not to support O.J. but as a 'fuck you' to the LAPD.
At one point, we see a station prepping their 'O.J. Obituary.' This seems pretty accurate. Even though we know the outcome, the show builds tension so effectively that, in that final scene., there's almost an expectation that someone really will get trigger happy and shoot him. His death seems unavoidable, even to an audience that knows the outcome.
And then the show wraps it up, as we see a glimmer of Marcia before everything goes crazy and public, at home with her kids. That won't last long. Chris's dad suggest he 'sit this one out.' Not going to happen... Chris provides the show with a way to organically provide insight into the black community's reaction.
Finally, I had no idea THE white Bronco wasn't O.J.'s. If it wasn't true, it would be unbelievable.
Over at GoFugYourself, the focus is on modes of communication. Which were all over the place in this episode, from phones to television to fans on an overpass. It's interesting to imagine what would have happened today (how quickly would an @whitebronco account have been created?). Jessica also offers a nice rundown of how screwed Gil was at the time (I was going to run for mayor!).
And Vanity Fair takes on the job of fact-checking: basically, mostly true. The only thing that the show doesn't get right is which part of the hippie couple recognized O.J.