Few Surprises in ESPN Simpson Documentary

I’m more interested in watching the ESPN-produced documentary, “O.J.: Made in America”, which debuted last night, than I was the FX melodrama series aired earlier this year, primarily because it is a documentary.

Granted, documentaries can be skewed to favor a point of view or even “prove” something that isn’t, but at least documentaries are composed of actual footage and interviews with real people.

While the first part, carried on ABC last night, contained few surprises for me, I was surprised at what Dave Nemetz, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, in “‘O.J.: Made in America’: 8 Things We Learned From Part 1“, said he learned that he didn’t know.

The one thing I didn’t know about was Simpson’s father’s sexual orientation. In fact, I don’t ever recall any mention of his father.

But the rest? That Simpson was a living legend in L.A., that he didn’t want to get political and could talk himself out of trouble, was almost a bust in the NFL, his breakthrough role in TV ads, his mediocre acting ability–at least, in his roles as an actor–and his early encounters Nicole Brown was pretty much common knowledge to those who (1) are old enough to remember, (2) lived in L.A. and (3) paid attention to sports. Maybe Nemetz benefited from none of that.

One thing I did learn that Nemitz didn’t mention was how far back former LAPD officer Ron Shipp and Simpson’s relationship goes. Back to Shipp’s school years. I had thought it was much more recent–dating from when Simpson lived in his house in Brentwood.

While my knowledge of last night’s Part I was based on being old enough and exposed to sports enough and living in L.A., it will be interesting to see what I learn from Part II, which airs Tuesday night, as it focuses on my direct, first-hand knowledge of Simpson’s 1994-95 murder trial and many of the issues that swirled around that.

Stay tuned.

 

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/oj-made-america-part-1-901650

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3 responses to “Few Surprises in ESPN Simpson Documentary

  1. I was a big football fan during O.J. Simpson’s playing days and they were better on his sports career than many shows have been. It was pointed out O.J. wasn’t a very good pass receiver and if Lou Saban hadn’t become Bills’ coach in 1972, O.J. might have been long forgotten.

    They are going to cover the criminal trial quite a bit, hopefully including the civil trial which FX ignored.

  2. I hope so, too, David. I lived through that trial, too, in the courtroom every day, sitting within 8 feet of Simpson and watching a civil lawyer do a truly effective job of prosecuting him. I’m very much interested in how that’s treated in the documentary.

  3. Robert Lypsyte recalling the story about OJ not being offended by a white woman referring to his black acquaintances as N’s. Infuriating and yet says so much about the guy himself.

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