Hair-raising stuff! A wig-by-wig analysis of The People v OJ Simpson | Television & radio
an you imagine the dreamcatcher we could weave from all the nylon locks left over after they finished shooting The People v OJ Simpson? Can you picture the shagpile carpet we could make from the secondhand strands in the American Crime Story dressing rooms? The merkin to be made from all those adhesive additions? Related: The People v OJ Simpson: 21 years on, celebrity culture has changed but race issues have not pre bonded hair The People v OJ Simpson, for those of you too busy coughing up cat hairs to turn over to BBC1, is a made-for-television drama that explores one of the 20th-century’s most infamous court cases – the trial of American football star and Naked Gun actor OJ Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and waiter Ronald Lyle Goldman, in June 1994. As well as a fiesta of lies, counterclaims, corruption and criminal intent, The People v OJ Simpson is, most importantly, a riot of outstandingly unrealistic hair. It’s like the costume designers looked down at their notes from an initial briefing meeting, saw a lone bullet point that read “untrustworthy” and ran with it. All the way. In a dramatic landscape where you can’t trust anyone, when every single character seems to be either shifting blame, squirming away from the truth or covering up like a politician accidentally caught on a webcam, we as an audience must grab on to whatever evidence we can. As viewer, judge, jury, detective and pathologist, we’ve got to use whatever comes to hand to draw our conclusions and decide who is telling the truth. So allow me to give you the definitive wig-by-wig breakdown of The People v OJ Simpson. John Travolta’s sea cucumber brows
Let the eyebrows do the work … John Travolta as Bob Shapiro. Photograph: BBC/Fox remy hair extensions The performance: Oh boy. Would you look what happened to Danny Zuko? To call John Travolta’s performance as Bob Shapiro a little flamboyant is like calling Death Valley a little salty. It’s like Christopher Biggins teamed up with Chi Chi, the infamous panda from London Zoo, and gave birth to the greatest living collection of hand flaps and fake tan the world has ever known. The person: As a celebrity lawyer, Shapiro is out for what he can get. He’s known for settling high, talking smooth, having the LAPD on butt-dial, defending the indefensible (The Kardashians, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Phil Spector to name just a few gems) and making a tidy profit in the process. He’s the kind of lawyer who gives the fifth amendment a bad name, but who definitely knows his way round a blowdry. The hair: Like two soaring American eagles hovering above the burnt red earth of the Mojave Desert, those eyebrows deserve an Emmy. Clinging on to the steak-tartare face below for dear life, they’ve been thrown around the boardroom like sandbags as Shapiro and his legal team scrabble desperately through the muck and blood of a murder case to try and tug out any hope of doubt. The verdict: Can we trust them? Not as far as we could spit them.
David Schwimmer’s streak of genius Hair apparent … David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian. Photograph: BBC/Fox The performance: Hey look! It’s Ross! But, wait – he seems sad. perruques cheveux naturels The person: That’s right. Before she married the world’s most humble millionaire, Kim Kardashian had another streak of brilliance in her life: her father Robert Kardashian’s forelock. David Schwimmer seems to be playing Kardashian as a sweet LA midpoint between Atticus Finch, Herman Munster, Jesus, Rick Astley and (there’s no point denying it) Ross Geller. I have never seen so many concerned faces and well-rolled polonecks. The hair: To play KK’s big papa, Schwimmer has plunge-dived into one of the greatest hair helmets this side of Legoland. It’s like John Waters decided to do a legal sequel to Hairspray. It’s like Mr Badger rolled out of Wind in the Willows in a soft-top sports car and bought himself a grey flip-piece mobile phone. It’s like a Bridget Riley print came to life and became best friends with a man named after a fruity beverage. The verdict: Nothing’s ever black and white, when it comes to murder.
Sarah Paulson’s ragdoll curls Like watching Art Garfunkel’s pubes chain-smoke their way through a lawsuit ... Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark. Photograph: BBC/Fox perruques cheveux The performance: She’s sassy. You know how I know this? She’s smoking; I mean actually smoking. This woman is lighting up like fire regulations aren’t even a thing. Which is risky when you’ve got that much flammable material stuck to your scalp. The person: Marcia Clark is the prosecuting attorney who embarked on the OJ Simpson case holding all the aces. Until evidence started to leak to the press like an oil spill and suddenly, she had a fight on her hands. She’s literally the hatchback car and probiotic yoghurt advert definition of a “busy working mom” and she’s going to wear a different boxy sludge-coloured blazer every episode until we get to the truth, goddammit. The hair: Apparently the press had a field day when the real Marcia Clark changed her perm halfway through the OJ case. This hasn’t happened yet, but I can’t help feeling I’m watching Art Garfunkel’s pubes chain-smoke their way through more legal documents and polystyrene cups of coffee than should really be allowed under the Geneva convention. And that fringe? It’s like somebody made curtain hoops out of a set of hairy quotation marks and drew them across a human face. Evan Handler’s Elizabeth I disguise
I have hair now, you schlub! Evan Handler goes full Elizabeth I. The person: Holy shit, it’s Charlotte’s husband from Sex and the City! Or, wait, is that Andy Zaltzman? Did either of them have a kid with Leo Sayer? He seems to be wearing my grandmother’s spectacles, too. Ah no, wait, it’s Evan Handler playing Alan Dershowitz, the lawyer and Harvard name-dropper whose high-profile clients included Patty Hearst, Mike Tyson and, currently, Julian Assange. The performance: Yap yap yap. Did I tell you I have to go back to Harvard? That’s right, I’m familiar, but you just can’t put your finger on it. That’s because I have hair now, you schlubs! Let’s march round this big table some more. I need to give these hand gestures room to breathe. The hair: You know when you drop iron filings on a magnet, and they scatter to the furthest corner? Imagine that, but instead of iron filings it’s slivers of copper and instead of a magnet it’s the giant pink barking head of a lawyer. They’re going full Elizabeth I and marching out to the horizon, to conquer new worlds. Scalp-wise, they’re keeping well back. And the Dream Team only wish they could do the same. The verdict: I’d trust him about as far as I can frisbee a sandwich.lace front wigs Let’s just hug this out ... Courtney B Vance as Jonnie Cochrane. Photograph: BBC/Fox
Courtney B Vance’s hairy lip lids cosplay wigs The person: Courtney B Vance plays Jonnie Cochrane, the lawyer famous for acting as advocate to those who’d been the victim of police brutality and defending a series of high profile African American celebrities including, as well as OJ, Sean Coombs, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg. The performance: Let’s just hug this out, guys. Can’t we just put on a little Roberta Flack and hug this out? The hair: I know what you’re doing to say – that moustache is not a wig. And you may well be right. But to you, members of the jury, I will say this: there can be no greater love than she who lays down her two pet Arionidae slugs for a friend. The rest is between my god and me. The verdict: I can’t tell you anything until I’ve looked into his eyes myself.