February 12, 2016

Second episode of ‘The People vs. O.J. Simpson’ does not disappoint

By Matthew Shircliffe–

Pizza Hut’s delivery sales skyrocketed, the NBA Finals telecast was interrupted and all of America stopped what they were doing to watch the most notorious and exhilarating police chase. It occurred June 17, 1994, on Interstate 405 when Al Cowlings and O.J. Simpson fled in the white Ford Bronco after Simpson failed to surrender for the double murders charged against him.

If you tuned into last week’s episode of “The People vs O.J. Simpson,” you knew what this week’s viewing would entail as the episode concluded with Robert Kardashian and Robert Shapiro discovering that O.J. Simpson and close friend A.C. played by Malcolm Jamal-Warner or better known as Theo Huxtable from “The Cosby Show,” fled in O.J.’s Bronco setting up this week’s episode for the low-speed, yet infamous chase.

Last week, I commented on how unnecessary the acknowledgement of the Kardashian daughters was, and this week was even worse. When Robert Kardashian speaks at a conference on television, it cuts to the girls and the son cheering for their father, and then when a reporter screws up the pronunciation of the name “Kardashian,” it cuts back to the children, who are offended and proceed to correct the reporter on the television by spelling out their name and clapping their little hands together.

This was the most cringe-worthy moment of 2016 television so far, no doubt. Not only did this contribute nothing to the story, it never happened in real-life. So, why put it in there? Larry Karaszewski, one of the writers of the show told “Time,” “We didn’t want to dwell on the Kardashian children but to leave them out of it, I think, would have been wrong as well.”

Unless Kim was standing over Nicole Simpson’s body with the knife, there is absolutely no reason for the rest of the Kardashian clan to be involved in this show. I understand why they did it, to appease the fans who are infatuated with them and who watch the 62 minute program for the 10 second spot. I have a strong feeling they will be in every episode for the remainder of the season and my biggest fear is their role will only increase.

Anyway, an unstable Simpson has a gun to his head ready to kill himself at any moment with the entire LAPD chasing him on the highway and the intensity is surreal. Simpson is crying. A.C., who is driving, is panicking while unsure about the situation at hand trying to balance the police while simultaneously trying to keep Simpson from blasting himself and the extraordinary acting is on full display. For those who are unfamiliar with the exact details with how this chase went down, such as myself, the show does a great job providing an in-depth look to what went down and showing us the magnitude and impact this event made.

We get a good understanding just how close Kardashian and Simpson were, when it shows the two on the phone both in fragile, emotional states. I believe this series is more than just the trial of Simpson, we should be aware of the themes and symbolism of what their friendship mean. The bond between Kardashian and Simpson is strong and there is nothing but loyalty and trust between these two men. Kardashian is willing to do anything to help his friend and I am interested to see how the trial progresses their relationship.

On the prosecutor’s side, Marcia Clark and district attorney Gil Garcetti are left helpless on the sidelines. They are embarrassed of what has transpired with this debacle. They have no interest in talking to the press and are outraged.

The scene that completely stuck with me was when attorney Christopher Darden, played by Sterling Brown, and at this point in the show is not involved with this case yet, is arguing half-jokingly with his family and neighbors about the entire matter as they are watching the chase, and throwing in their two cents on the Simpson’s innocence. Darden then says “I don’t know what you guys are cheering for, O.J. never gave back, you see any parks named after him or children’s centers, once O.J. made his money, he split and never came back.”

It is evident Darden’s sympathies do not lie with Simpson and this scene puts that into perspective.

John Travolta did not play a big role in Tuesday’s episode; however, his consistently odd demeanor and egotistical attitude still comes into play as he steals the show with every bit of dialogue he is given. Cuba Gooding Jr. once again is the loose cannon and now more than ever he is hysterical riding in the back of the Bronco countlessly pointing the gun at his head and in his mouth threatening suicide.

After the entire hour of watching this 50 mile chase, the standoff ends at his home in Brentwood. He is allowed to have a conversation with his mother as requested through the telephone and drink orange juice, then finally he is taken into custody and placed under arrest.

One of the final shots of the episode then cuts to the D.A.’s office with Marcia Clark’s last words being “we’re taking him to trial” with a satisfied grin on her face leaving the viewer wanting more. Next week’s episode is the commencement of trial and the stakes are heightening when Johnnie Cochran’s role is about to come into full fruition.

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