American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson 1.03: “The Dream Team”

Did you know OJ had a passion for acting? For example, in 1968, he was on both Ironside and Dragnet.

His filmography reaches out to 2006, and it includes such precious nuggets as Frogmen and Hambone and Hillie. Simpson’s career in film and television actually lasted decades, which begs the question:

How good of an actor was he during his trial?

On last week’s episode of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, we started with OJ’s best pal Robert Kardashian (played by David Shwimmer, doing his sad-sackiest job ever) praying. This week, we begin with Robert Kardashian again, taking his cute little future reality TV stars to eat. They are quickly seated—jumping the line during the lunch rush—by a hostess who shrieks, “You’re Richard Cardoshion!” at Robert Kardashian.

You know, David Schwimmer’s portrayal is rubbing off on me. When one of his kids asks if he thinks OJ did it, he quickly denies that “Uncle Juice” would ever throttle his ex-wife to death.

He then goes into smarm-speak about fame and what not, and how “it means nothing at all without a virtuous heart.” The fact that Schwimmer, playing a Kardashian in this day and age, could say that and still sleep at night is proof that he has at least a smidge of acting chops.

He also says, “Uncle Juice is a good man.” Since OJ has been jailed for armed freaking robbery since then, he is clearly comfortable playing a complete, clueless idiot—loyal as that idiot may be.

We end the segment with his daughters trying to figure out why their dad, with his Lily Muster white hair steak, isn’t famous. He responds by saying that Barbara Walters will be calling him (ahem DOUCHEBAG!).

Now, I’ve yet to discuss any of the advertising up in this joint, but this episode was sponsored by 5 Gum. My question is: Minute Maid, Sunny Delight, Odwalla—where ARE you all? He’s the JUICE! Even Jim Beam’s new monstrosity, Jim Beam “Apple,” took a 30-second spot. But Ocean Spray can’t cash in a cheap “juice” gag? C’mon.

The next segment was confusing. It sounded and looked like reporters or media types trying to tagline the story with images like “noir intrigue” or “falling of an idol.” We catch glimpses of the newsstand where OJ is on every cover, and on one in particular, he is altered to be darker than he actually is. We are foreshadowing the race issue soon to blow chunks all over the case.

Enter Saturday Night Shapiro. Travolta’s rendition just oozes ickyness—mostly because he seems to have so much Botulism derived beauty enhancer shoved in his forehead that it has forgotten how to move.

Evidence is released about Detective Mark Fuhrman, who was on the case, being a self-admitted racist seeking help for it. He had actually sued the LAPD because he claimed they made him a bigot, and he had “violent fantasies” about doing things to people.

Shapiro has the “revelation” that if they make this about race and the systematic bigotry portrayed by the police (remember we are still sore from Rodney King in LA back then), he can drive to the hoop with it. This got us thinking: how much did all this freaking cost? I mean seriously? Was OJ THAT freaking rich?

We are also starting to build the legal “dream team” that will include F. Lee Baily (Nathan Lane), Alan Dershowitz (Evan Handler, AKA the bald guy from Sex and the City and Californication—WITH HAIR), and ultimately Johnny Cochran (Courtney B. Vance).

There’s an awesome scene where Cochran gets punked by people calling, claiming they are OJ, and then cackling at him and sounding like a soon-to-be killer themselves.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. Where is our Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) in all this excitement? Well, she is still chain-smoking—but the girl caught some rhythm here. We get smiles. We get sunshine. We get confidence. We get her recruiting Chris Darden (Sterling K. Brown) who has been hesitant to say it, but finally blurts out that Shapiro’s race card may actually trump whatever they have in their hand.

Also, Clark brightened so much during her scene with Darden, we’d almost call it flirty. More foreshadowing for you there.

We get more Kato Kaelin (a very Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure style portrayal by Billy Magnussen) jogging shirtless down the beach with his buddy lamenting why he can’t stay at the Simpson guesthouse. In the next 10 seconds, he is flashed by a bunch of female fans in a car, and then spit on and told OJ is a murderer by an angry jogger.

We get some killer freaking lines this episode.

Marcia Clark: “The most famous collection of lawyers in the world trying to buy OJ out of jail…you can’t have cash for trash.”

OJ Simpson (to his lawyers): “Have your people looked into Faye Resnick yet? I heard a lot of coke moves through Mezzaluna.” (The restaurant where Robert Goldman, the second victim worked.)

Kato Kaelin: “Things complicated.”

Johnny Cochran (to OJ): “We get one black juror, just one, and I give you a hung jury. When I get you a hung jury, you’re going home.”

We wrap up with a scene denoting domestic bliss at the Clark residence. She checks on her rug-rats tucked into their cocoons and retires with a cigarette and a coffee to the backyard bench with a newspaper.

“Dream Team Deepens the Bench,” reads the headline, announcing Cochran’s decision to join Simpson’s defense.

The last, best quote of the episode is delivered by Clark, snapping her back to the resting-bitch-face tigress I have so fallen in love with in the last few episodes.

She says:

“Cochran. Motherfucker.”


Spyridon P. Panousopoulos spends his time whittling sharp sticks out of blunt ones. He has written for, The NY Press, and Gen Art in the past. He has 3 cats that all hate him. Follow him @TheRevSpyro.

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