Three episodes in to “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story,” and we would be willing to argue with anyone who says that this show is anything short of great.
Yet, there’s also a fine line between “great” and “phenomenal,” and there are times when this show has a hard time making that leap. Why? Part of the reason why is that instead of making this a sharp, smart series on the circumstances and social politics behind the OJ Simpson trial, the writers are often interested in making this a meta-commentary on Hollywood stardom. Why in the world do you have Robert Kardashian trying to get all moralistic to his daughters on the dangers of fame? We feel like Twitter is already there to complain about the Kardashians being thirsty, and that’s not what we come to this show for.
As a matter of fact, we have yet to see more than two seconds of the Kardashian children that we feel is necessarily to this show. It’s akin to someone winking so hard to ensure that we get the reference to the point that their eyelash starts to fall off.
The rest of the content this week was almost as perfect as we’ve seen so far. With Simpson behind bars some of the thrill of the chase is gone, but we saw through this episode a fantastic social struggle of the various factors leading to Simpson hiring Johnnie Cochran for the case, whether it be racial tension in Los Angeles to some of the passion Cochran had to fight for him. Simultaneously, we saw further how the celebrity nature of this case weighed on everyone from Marcia Clark to Cochran, who was getting prank calls from people posing as the former football star.
Most effectively, this miniseries is doing a tremendous job of forging the uphill battle that Clark faces in putting OJ away, whether it be the mistakes of those around him, his legal firepower, or the sole fact that he is almost too famous to fall. When looking at this show through the lens of the police and prosecution, it’s phenomenal. It’s only when that lens shifts elsewhere we start to struggle a little. Grade: B+.
We will have a preview up soon for the next new “American Crime Story” episode. For now, head over here to receive some other news on everything we cover, sent right to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: FX.)