O.J. Simpson in pop culture (The O.J. Simpson Files – II)

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Los Angeles, June 12 (IANS) A football hero in the midst of a ‘trial of the century’ in the US. The real-life plot of the twin murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of former NFL player O.J. Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994, and its aftermath, has continued to allure filmmakers and content creators to recreate or revisit the events that unfurled over the past 25 years.

The car chase, a black glove, the investigation, a ‘dream team’ of lawyers, and the acquittal have all found a place in pop culture, across films, television shows, series and documentaries.

A 10-part mini-series “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”, which came out in 2016, comes right on top of the memory regarding the recent works based on the case involving Orenthal James Simpson, who also had a career as an actor and was nicknamed The Juice. But content spun around it started finding prominence on both big and small screens in the US in 1995 itself with “The O.J. Simpson Story”.

Directed by Jerrold Freedman and written by Stephen Harrigan, it portrayed the events between Simpson and Nicole, up to and including his arrest for the murders.

Five years later came the TV movie “American Tragedy”, based on the book “American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the Simpson Defense”. The same year, BBC came up with a documentary, “O.J. Simpson: The Untold Story”, which chronicled events of the murders, and attempted to uncover new evidences with testimonies, detectives and others.

There was also a short film “Re-enactment of the Century”, a fact-driven story on the evidences in the case, apart from TV movies “OJ: Trial of The Century” and “O.J. Simpson Trial: The Real Story”.

A 2016 documentary “O.J.: Made in America”, which spanned eight hours and was shown in five parts, even won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It went beyond the infamous case to explore his football career at the University of Southern California, his popularity within American culture, to his 1995 trial for the murders, subsequent acquittal, and how he was convicted and imprisoned for another crime 13 years later.

Simpson was arrested over kidnapping and armed robbery charges, and spent nearly a decade behind the bars. He came out of jail two years ago, and latest reports say he is leading a relatively quiet life in Las Vegas.

His murder trial also became fodder for comedians.

A 2014 study from Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, analysed that Jay Leno’s jokes during his 12-year tenure as host of “The Tonight Show”, had Simpson as his top celebrity target.

But Leno was not the only one to add in a punchline or two on Simpson. Comedians Dana Carvey to Chris Rock to Dave Chappelle, drew on the sensational 11-month murder trial and its key developments in keeping the audience hooked.

Sitcoms including “The Simpsons”, “Family Guy”, “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” and “Seinfeld” also played on the Simpson factor, capturing different aspects of his life and trial.



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