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A millennial’s take on “American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson”

| Thursday, February 18, 2016


No pun intended — it’s an absolute crime the “American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson” television series has not garnered the same amount of popularity and attention as its predecessors in the crime drama genre. The latest season in the “American Crime Story” television series covers what has been widely known as one of the most infamous, wildly bizarre and unbelievable crimes this side of modern history, taking on the case of disgraced American icon and accused murderer O.J. Simpson.

This season of “American Crime Story” is the latest in the popular trend of crime drama pop culture — à la “Serial” and “Making a Murderer” — that has proven to be wildly popular among people across the country. In fact, the genre of crime drama itself has been incredibly successful and has seemingly experienced a notable uptick in popularity in the past few years. As laid out by the Los Angeles Times, the allure of a mystery, the potential for a resolution to the case and a look into the mind of a criminal offer an irresistible pull for the average viewer at home.

“Serial,” the podcast that chronicled the disappearance and murder of Hae Min Lee allegedly by her then-boyfriend Adnan Syed, built upon these qualities of a crime drama that the LA Times listed but also had the interesting pull of requiring its audience to listen and use their imagination for the story. “Making a Murderer” — the Netflix series that covered Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, found himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime — built upon the success of “Serial,” but also, as a television series, offered what a podcast couldn’t: pictures to go along with the narration and story.

“The People vs. O.J. Simpson” manages to one-up “Making a Murderer,” giving us the compelling story, the emotionally moving visuals as well as one of the most well known criminal stories involving one of the most (at the time) beloved figures in American pop culture. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, the drama shrouds viewers like myself in enough mystery and doubt to really follow along with the case. Truth be told, I don’t know much about the O.J. Simpson murder trial — as a matter of fact, I know nothing about the circumstances surrounding the case other than vaguely knowing that Simpson may have done it and also that he eventually came out with a book, “If I Did It,” in which he talks about how he would have carried out the murder, assuming he actually was guilty of the crime. As a millennial, this series is optimal for someone like myself who has barely enough context to the case to understand the gravity of the situation, but not enough to already spoil the series for myself.

The series itself is well produced, from the acting to the storyline. Aside from Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, the rest of the star-studded cast includes David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro and, most notably, Sarah Paulson, who expertly plays Marcia Clark. The attention to detail in the series has been nothing short of impeccable; according to an interview with Carl Douglas on ESPNLA 710 AM’s “Max and Marcellus” radio show, everything from the positioning of the horribly disfigured bodies to Marcia Clark’s chain-smoking tendencies is impeccably recreated in the 2016 retelling of the 1995 crime.

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About Miko Malabute

Senior student at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Biochemistry. From Tujunga, CA.

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