Fact really is stranger than fiction.
I was seven years old in 1995, so I don't remember the trial of the century, which never really bothered me or had any major impact on my life or work—until The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story premiered, and once again, the O. J. Simpson case has enraptured the country. Everyone seems to remember where they were during the trial's—for lack of a better phrase—biggest hits: The Verdict, The Bronco Chase, and The Glove. For me, The People v. O.J. Simpson has been my introduction to almost all of these moments. (Prime example of how little I knew about the case: I always assumed Simpson was alone and driving the Bronco until I watched episode two.)
But watching the March 15 episode, "The Conspiracy Theories," I was convinced the FX hit had finally over-dramatized a key part of the trial: Simpson trying on the gloves found at the crime scene and at Rockingham. Sure, I had heard Johnnie Cochran's infamous line—"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit"—but I had never actually watched footage of Simpson trying on the "murder gloves" during the trial. So watching Cuba Gooding Jr. recreate the scene during Tuesday's episode, I was nervous he was about to choke from how much scenery he was chewing on.
The mugging. The shrugging. The faux-struggling. Come on, American Crime Story. There's no way he acted like that in court, I thought as I watched the episode. So, of course, I quickly pressed pause and grabbed my iPad, searching for footage of the moment from the 1995 trial on YouTube, just so I could see just how over-the-top the show went in that moment before eventually composing a snarky tweet.
Oh, how wrong I was.
I was at a loss for words as I watched Simpson's performance, hamming it up for the jury, for the nation. I felt sick to my stomach, and it turns out I wasn't the only one.
"You're wearing the gloves of the person who murdered your wife, and you're mugging?" prosecutor Marcia Clark said of the chilling moment in an interview with Vulture. "It is very creepy. I was feeling that way myself when I was sitting there watching him, thinking Dude, how can you be smiling? How can you be doing this? It was stomach-turning, really."
The People v. O.J. Simpson airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.