Tuesday, February 02, 2016

If it doesn't fit, you can suck my---well, you know.

Tonight, I plan to do something that I may well hate myself for in the morning. Yes, I'm going to watch the first installment of the new miniseries The People Vs. OJ Simpson.

I would say I'm watching it just for camp value, but that's not strictly true. I'd say it's partly for the camp value and hopefully some unintentional hilarity, but I would also add a dash of morbid curiosity and a heaping helping of nostalgia. I don't look fondly upon the OJ Simpson trial--I mean, who does?--but it kinda was one of those giant cultural events that anyone who lived through the 1990's remembers vividly and has very definite opinions about. It was probably like the Watergate of our generation, only even more ridiculous. 

The casting looks pretty spot on. I normally can't stand to see any reminder of that Kardashian family dung heap, but even I have to admit that David Schwimmer playing Robert Kardashian is an event not to be missed, especially since there's (apparently) a scene leading up to the infamous Bronco chase where OJ grabs a gun and locks himself in a bedroom at Kardashian's house, prompting Ross from Friends to shriek, "No OJ! That's where Kimmy sleeps!" 

Oh, the humanity!

Speaking of the Bronco chase, I have my own memories of that evening. My boyfriend and I were having "date night" and it was happening on an actual Friday, something I'd lobbied hard for, since Rick worked at a restaurant as a waiter and bartender and him getting a weekend night off was a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence. It seems kind of funny then that the restaurant we chose for date night was the Provincial Kitchen--his place of employment--but Rick was well-loved there and we were good friends with all of the waitstaff, plus the watering hole downstairs was "our bar" (Johnny Whitaker's Broad Ripple Tavern--or "the BRT" as we regulars called it), so I guess it was just a natural choice at the time. 

Anyway, there we were enjoying our dinner at the Kitchen when this guy Mark--one of Rick's waiter friends--came running up from the bar downstairs to exclaim "You guys! OJ Simpson just took off in a white Mercedes down the LA freeway with a bunch of cops chasing him!" (Yeah, I know it was a white Bronco and not a white Mercedes, but that's what Mark said.) Rick and I were like, "Oh my God, no way!" and we grabbed our drinks and ran downstairs to watch the action unfold on the bar's big-screen TV, followed by about a dozen other patrons in the restaurant who had overheard Mark's announcement and wanted to see for themselves.

Of course, that was just the beginning of the hot mess express that turned into "the trial of the century"--five words that I would get extremely sick of hearing over the next year. 

Still, there was no avoiding it. Even today, I'm surprised at how much I remember. There was the Bronco chase with OJ and his buddy Al "You know who I am goddammit!" Cowlings at the wheel, then there were all the gory details of the murders of Ron-and-Nicole (it was always Ron-and-Nicole, not Nicole-and-Ron), along with the revelation that OJ Simpson--who I only knew as "Nordberg" from the Naked Gun movies--was a scary-ass wife beater. I even remember that dorky TV movie they rushed to make about OJ and his rage-y, abusive marriage to Nicole, a film directed by "Alan Smithee" (haaaaaa) featuring a then-unknown Terrence Howard. 

There was the cast of characters.... 

Kato "Wouldn't you be happy to see me?" Kaelin:  

"Hey OJ, pull my finger!"
Faye "wanna see my tits?" Resnick:

Thanks but no thanks, hon. 

The "Dream Team":

Ugh. You can just smell the giant cloud of Drakkar Noir wafting up from that crew.

This horseshit:

Fuck off Billy Bird, whoever you are.

And then there's this, which--okay--this made me laugh: 

Sure, I'm laughing about the key players involved in a terribly gruesome murder trial, but still, there's something kind of naive and almost (well, not quite) innocent about that point in time. It was pre-9/11, pre-Dubya, pre-all the awfulness that happened over the last two decades. There were no smartphones, no Facebook, none of the other obvious things that make the 1990's so glaringly different from the world of today. 

I guess it's just...I don't know...we were just all so young back then, weren't we?  

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