Alright, my quick take on 'The Run of His Life' -- the depiction of the epic-long day where O.J. maintained distance from his impending arrest -- protocol, at every turn, went out the window. This complex domino stack from the LAPD to the LA DA's office fell perfectly into a consciousness that, it seems, permeated the rest of the trial. I mean, that wasn't so much a car chase (as I had always believed), it was an escort of black and whites, that served the emotionally convoluted desires of a staggeringly mentally unstable man, ill-equipped to handle his situation.
What happens when he gets home, we cannot say... Tom Brokaw reports to whomever is watching as the other white Bronco rolls up on O.J.'s home post-highway situation. What's very apparent in this iteration is that no one in any authority capacity knew what to do or how to do it. Not only were the circumstances novel, they were conflated with grand societal issues, race and celebrity being the two most pervasive. But to me, there is a bigger umbrella under which these two institutions huddle, and that's narcissism. And history has told us many times over that narcissists fail at improvisation.
The most thorough offender in this story is O.J., himself. But every moment when the camera lingers on his inconsistent emotional state, it's a challenge to jettison sympathy. Watching him surrender, when he finally exited the Bronco, framed pictures of his kids tucked under his arm while he apologized profusely, brought on a seriously disarranged set of emotions! We project every human emotion and experience on our rich and famous. What the far-reaching effect is for those individuals is so obviously not good, and that's the best case scenario, when one appears to have the constitution for such glorification. In some ways, the worst part of that day was that so much of it played out without the cool light of reality coming to bear on O.J.'s actions. Yes, he ended up in handcuffs, but in his extremely compromised state, he was able to call the shots along the way. What kind of message is that? To anyone?
Marcia Clark sure as hell knew! And despite her own needs, to appear in control, was likely the player in this situation who kept a reasonable grasp on the weight of things. That seemed true for Gil Garcetti and Chris Darden, to a lesser extent, too. All had a stake in their image, collectively and individually, as well, but didn't lose sight of the capacity to recognize how truly sideways this case was unfolding. I thought the first look at Darden's conflict when he was surrounded by his family in their home, was very effective. We know from the way the trial played out that he didn't heed his dad's advice. Each DA lawyer, though circumspect, was still creating a prison of their own making, even at this stage. Was narcissism at the root of that, too? I don't know but in an atmosphere of vainglory, can authenticity ever prevail?
Now the defense lawyers. The design inherent in criminal defense law does seem to be geared for the more impudent personalities portrayed here in Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro, and to a lesser degree, Rob Kardashian. After all, they seem to have more at stake personally than the DA's office. They also understand the game from a different angle. (Angle being the key word, perhaps.) They've placed enormous value on the altar of public opinion. All three are represented here with loads of nuances, each is compelling, in his own right. (I can't wait for the Dream Team to be assembled in a more official capacity to see these unique charms interact.) Robert Kardashian is depicted very well by David Schwimmer. He is an amalgam of honest and hanger-on, the likes of which I have never seen.
Okay, so let's say the retelling of this trial serves a purpose, even a fairly highbrow one. In its style, this show is an antidote to a societal disease, our impossible flaw to only filter experiences through our own eyes. It's aim, thus far, has been to bring us a fuller picture, one that we can't help but step outside the limitations of our madly self-important psyche to see.
* There's a lot of watching the people who are watching the people who are watching this thing unfold. (And it's as trippy as that sentence.) It happens in multiple contexts and it's so utterly voyeuristic.
* You guys, Ryan Murphy has mastered the zoom!
* Sabotage by the Beastie Boys.
* To the 90s car wrangler -- a round of applause.
* The coalesced madness of the highway drama, the cops, the drivers on the road who were forced to pull over who then rooted the Bronco on, the fans cheering O.J. from the overpasses (with signs!!!) and O.J.'s emotional state throughout is just simply unprecedented in modern human history. 90 million people watched it on TV.
Gil Garrett: "If it were our absolute goal, could we look more incompetent?"
Robert Shapiro: "What we need is our own press conference."
Johnnie Cochran: "I wouldn't be falling back on the pronouns 'me', 'myself' and 'I'."
Robert Shapiro: "Good for you, O.J. Good for you. We're still in the game."
TV station exec: "O.J. is news, entertainment and sports."
Tom Lange: "Believe it or not, there are two white Broncos."
Crowd of people: "We're not cheering O.J., we're booing the LAPD."
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- The People v. O.J. Simpson home
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