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Tuesday is the night all Kardashian groupies have been waiting for while watching FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story: It’s the assembling of Simpson’s “Dream Team” of lawyers — O.J.’s own personal Justice League of America, with a heavy emphasis on David Schwimmer’s Robert Kardashian as its Aquaman. Or maybe he’s its Atom — he ends up looking awfully small.
The opening scene of this week’s third episode shows Kardashian squiring li’l Kim and her siblings to a restaurant where the attorney and close friend of Simpson is asked point-blank by one of his children, “Daddy, do you think O.J. did it?” Schwimmer plays Kardashian’s reaction the way Friends’ Ross might react to an accusation of being unfaithful to Rachel. “No!” he squawks. He repeatedly refers to the accused murderer as “Uncle Juice,” and then delivers a killer speech, rich with irony given the subsequent existence of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, including such pearls of wisdom as, “We are Kardashians. And in this family, being a good person and a loyal friend is more important than being famous… Fame is fleeting and it’s hollow. It means nothing at all without a virtuous heart.”
The content of those words suggests that the late Robert Kardashian was an honorable person and a loyal friend. It’s the guy Kanye West is doubtless saluting when he wears his “In Loving Memory” Yeezy Season 3 T-shirt with the cheesy drawing of Robert. But in the context of The People v. O.J., Kardashian comes across as a soft dupe.
The bulk of this week’s episode concerns the formation of Simpson’s famed legal squad — the episode is titled “The Dream Team” — during which Kardashian is pushed to the side to make way for bigger, more flashy fish like John Travolta’s Robert Shapiro, Nathan Lane’s F. Lee Bailey, and, especially, Courtney B. Vance’s Johnny Cochran.
The hour also contains one of the key moments for Marcia Clark, eliciting one of Sarah Paulson’s best reactions. It occurs when Sterling K. Brown’s Christopher Darden casually informs Clark that “a lot of black people don’t think O.J. did it.”
“What?!” says Clark — if she had a glass of water, she’d be doing a spit-take. “Really?!”
It’s a great moment that encapsulates the divide between the races that occurred during the O.J. trial. Clark doesn’t understand what Robert Kardashian insists upon: That Uncle Juice would never do anything so naughty as killing anyone.
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on FX.