O.J.: Made in America: Part 1: U.S.C. Culture
June 23, 2016 7:17 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

To many observers, the story of the crime of the century is a story that began the night Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were brutally murdered outside her Brentwood condominium. But as the first episode of "O.J.: Made in America" lays bare, to truly grasp the significance of what happened not just that night, but the epic chronicle to follow, one has to travel back to points in time long before that.

To generations prior, when African-Americans began migrating to California en masse, trying desperately - and fruitlessly - to outrun the racism that had defined their lives. To the late 1960s, when in the heart of Los Angeles, O.J. Simpson rose to instant fame as an unstoppable running back for the USC Trojans. To the early 1970's, when he expanded that fame in the NFL, becoming the first player ever to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, and emerging as one of the most visible faces in sports. And to a few years after that, when with his celebrity transcending the game, Simpson retired from football and returned to Los Angeles - his acting, advertising, and broadcasting careers in ascendance. It was also then that he fell madly in love - with a young, beautiful woman named Nicole Brown.
posted by Cash4Lead (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
When I first watched this portion of this series, I was almost befuddled. Why are you showing me this? Why am I supposed to care? I mean it was interesting on a general level, but I did not like what it seemed to be saying to me. I have watched the whole series and I get it. It's masterful. But while watching this, I was almost angry. Upset at the portrayal of him, upset at where things seemed to be heading, and just uncomfortable. But the way this first episode works, it is masterful.
posted by cashman at 10:25 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

I always understood why my father, who is O.J. age and has always been super into football, was upset when O.J. was arrested for murder. But it was this first part that made me get it.

(The Hertz rental car stuff (which basically was how I knew him before the Naked Gun movies and the murder) also helped click my own memories as well.)

I've yet to watch the rest of the episodes and I'm really glad this was posted.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:57 PM on June 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Note well when he says "I'm not black, I'm OJ".
posted by brujita at 9:51 PM on June 23, 2016

Have only seen this episode, but I am looking forward to the rest of the series. It was very insightful. The money quote was from the childhood friend describing Simpson at USC: "He is seduced by white society".

The beginning, the footage Simpson before a parole board in Nevada (or whatever that was) was interesting because Simpson was trying to turn on the same charm we’re told got him out of trouble since he was in school. He still thinks he can talk his way out of this predicament. It’s not working because he is old and fat and in a prison uniform, but even so, I can see how his charisma served him well when he was good looking.

My complaint is that the doc is too long. It could have been cut down by a third and still get all its points across. There are scenes that go on just a little too long. And there’ll be one guy who says something about Simpson, and then two or three others will say basically the same thing. It’s redundant. ESPN wanted this padded out for more chimerical breaks.

Also that Bob Hope joke at USC was sharp. I'm not familiar with Hope, but I kind of had the impression he was hack. Maybe because counter-culture types disliked his USO gigs.
posted by riruro at 9:03 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was really curious to know more about his first wife. That's the one part of this whole series that felt missing, imo.
posted by sallybrown at 8:20 AM on June 25, 2016

I suppose she went no contact after the aquittal; Googling hasn't turned up anything.
posted by brujita at 3:45 PM on June 25, 2016

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