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Tuesday night saw the premiere of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story on FX, and while the results aren’t yet out about how many people watched it, we know one person who didn’t get to: the currently imprisoned O.J. Simpson. But that doesn’t mean he is opinion-free on the matter, as he has been able to eye previews and interviews about it. And what’s his final verdict? He’s not happy with Courtney B. Vance’s portrayal of attorney Johnnie Cochran.
One of Simpson’s lawyers, Malcolm LaVergne, claims the former NFL football superstar isn’t pleased with the way that Johnnie Cochran is being handled for the small screen, and that he feels the attorney isn’t being treated fairly. Simpson really admired Cochran, who died back in 2005, and apparently thinks that Cochran’s memory isn’t being honored very much in the Ryan Murphy-produced drama.
Now, this is obviously a gut reaction from O.J. Simpson rather than an actual piece of criticism. (And even if it was damning criticism, would that actually bother anybody working on the show?) Without watching actual whole episodes, there’s no way to form a realistic opinion of anything it puts forth to viewers. It’s like saying you don’t like a pair of gloves (or just one) because a magazine ad for them was boring.
Because let’s be real here. Courtney B. Vance is pretty incredible as Cochran. Having watched over half of this initial American Crime Story season, while loving almost every minute, I know I’ve gotten more time with the character than the average TV viewer. And it’s true that when this story begins, Cochran is hovering just outside of the central narrative. But as his role develops more and he becomes a major piece of the court case, Vance knocks it out of the park.
For what it’s worth, though, O.J. Simpson doesn’t appear to have a problem with watching Cuba Gooding, Jr. play O.J. Simpson, according to the NY Post. That’s good, because Gooding, Jr. is pretty solid in the role, walking that thin line between guilty murderer and unfairly harangued celebrity. It’ll be interesting to see how the show wraps things up for him.
Twitter users had a lot to say about The People v. O.J. Simpson last night, and much of it had to do with members of the Kardashian family. Personally, I thought David Schwimmer was spot-on as the worrywart Robert Kardashian, while Selma Blair was fine as Kris Jenner, and even the child actors playing the Kardashian children were pretty good.
O.J. Simpson, whose Nevada prison doesn’t carry the FX channel, will be up for parole in 2017, at which point someone should just show him clips of Phil Morris’ character Jackie Chiles, whose Johnnie Cochran impersonation is one of Seinfeld’s best gifts to the world. And by that time, we’ll have probably already gone through hearing former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin bitch about Season 2, which will take on Hurricane Katrina.