O.J. Simpson Trial Sparked ‘The Beginning Of Reality TV’

O.J. Simpson will always be remembered for his infamous murder trial in the 1990s. The image that stands out in most people’s minds is not one of a courtroom, but of the famous police chase, while O.J. Simpson fled in his white Bronco. Lili Anolik, writing for Vanity Fair, says Simpson’s famous trial was the birth of reality TV. She refers to O.J. Simpson as Zeus, with Kim Kardashian, Lauren Conrad, and Nicole Richie as the “gods.”

“This was my attempt to establish a reality-TV Mount Olympus, with O.J. — of course, obviously, duh — as Zeus. To show the connections, visible and invisible, existing between the various “gods,” I drew up a diagram, with pictures and captions and arrows and lines and dotted lines, which was included with the piece.”

With this in mind, it might be important to note that the Kardashians have long had ties with O.J. Simpson.

Slate reports that the new series, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, involves the Kardashians in the days before they were famous. Robert Kardashian, Kim Kardashian’s late father, was a good friend of O.J. Simpson and worked as one of the lawyers on his defense team. Kim Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, was friends with Nicole Brown Simpson.

The Kardashian children are featured in the series here and there, and in one episode, O.J. Simpson threatens to commit suicide in the Kardashian’s house, to which Robert pleads, “Not in Kimmy’s room!” With all the Kardashian involvement and dramatic scenes of what may or may not have happened, TV.com reviewed the first episode and determined it is worthy of watching.

“Viewers of The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story likely already know O.J. Simpson’s verdict, and have no doubt made up their minds as to its validity. The series has no new evidence to shake those convictions, but is itself fresh proof that we are living in a golden age of television, and that as a medium for discussing the cultural currents that define our lives television is without question the most visceral, subtle, and compelling. Guys, The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (hereafter named as TPVOJ) is genuinely great. As true crime, as cultural dissection of a complex intersection of American values, and as high drama.”

Cuba Gooding Jr. plays the part of O.J. Simpson, and John Travolta plays the attorney, Robert Shapiro. Robert Kardashian is played by David Schwimmer. CNN reports that after the premiere episode, viewers took to Twitter to discuss it. The topics included the actors chosen for the parts, and how the situation is portrayed.

So, what did those portrayed in the O.J. Simpson show think about it? Yes, the Kardashians have weighed in, and Radar Online reports that they weren’t very fond of it. Apparently, Khloe Kardashian thought the portrayal of her sister Kourtney was tacky. An insider revealed none of the girls were happy about how they were portrayed.

“The girls did not love the way that they were portrayed in episode one. Khloe and Kourtney really hated how their characters were so out of hand during Nicole Brown Simpson’s funeral scene.”

However, the source revealed Kris Jenner was very happy with how Selma Blair portrayed her, but she thought that the show didn’t demonstrate the full extent of the tension between her and Robert.

“Kris, of course, loved her portrayal and kept saying that Selma Blair ‘nailed it.’ She was very pleased with the way that she was recreated, but did say that in real life, Robert’s choice to represent O.J. caused a lot more tension between him and Kris than the show let on.”

With mixed ratings and reviews, it will be interesting to see how the series progresses, and what O.J. Simpson thinks of it.

[Photo by Pool / Getty Images]