This series is freakin' amazing. The "A category" actors and their acting...fascinating. (Also, am I the only one who giggled at the part where R. Kardashian talked to his kids about fame? Knowing where the real Kardashian's kids are now hahaha)
this show just used motherf***er on basic cable!!
5.1/10. This may be the least subtle show I've ever watched, and I watch Agents of Shield. Oof. I mean, it's getting better? That's not a high bar, but at least the scenes with Marcia Clark and Chris Darden together have a certain energy and even down-to-earth quality that's entirely missing from the rest of the show.
Here is a sampling of actual dialogue from the episode:
"Excuse me, he's never going to stop being The Juice." "I mean he is my godfather.""[Fame] means nothing at all without a virtuous heart." "Pretty crazy, huh? They made him blacker." "Pretend Uncle, Robert. Evertyhing about him is pretend."
This is The Room level stuff, people -- especially that last line. Some of it's easy to write off. The "pretend" line is face palm-worthy stuff, but most shows have a bad bit of dialogue here and there. The problem is not only the frequency with which those bad lines occur, but what those other lines signify about the show's weaknesses.
The "godfather" line is meant to exposition, information delivery, something to inform the audience that OJ Simpson is Kim Kardashian's godparent. But it is written in such a clumsy fashion, and said in such an unnatural way, that it would almost be less jarring if the episode just had that fact pop up at the bottom of the screen VH1 style.
The "virtuous heart" line is more of just a poor use of the english language, but it also speaks to a bigger problem with the show's writing -- specifically that American Crime Story just has its characters announce their character motivations and characteristics. Rather than showing us that Robert Kardashian is a decent guy who cares about more than fame, the episode has him give a big dumb speech about how that's his philosophy. It's a lazy way to inform who he is as a character.
And the same is true for the "they made him blacker" line. It's not about a character, but it's a line that holds the audience's hand about the juxtaposition between the Time cover and the Newsweek cover when the audience is fully capable of seeing that on their own, and if not, there's a whole news reaction montage to come. There's plenty of ways for the show to convey this point, but it picks the loudest, most obvious way, the same way it does with everything.
So why is this one rated better than the last episode? Well, I like the idea, shown through Marcia and Chris, that while she's wary of the publicity elements, Marcia thinks this is a slam dunk case, and through Chris, slowly but surely understands that the racial elements make it a far dicier proposition than she had initially imagined. Her encouraging him to "get out of the basement" creates some character stakes, even if they're mild. The same goes for the Cochran storyline, where his "don't want to take a loser case, but I'm invested in this" bit is a cliche, but at least well-acted. And there's even touches like the addition of Nathan Lane (who is delightful) or the continuing comedy of Kato Kailin that liven the proceedings.
Overall, it's still a stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid show, and a mostly artless one (what the hell was the point of that crane shot at the end, or the weird shot of the newspaper delivery truck?) but there were at least a few bright spots here and there, which is more than I can say for what's come before.
Can't believe how great every actor is on this show!