Great Dumb Ideas In Human History: O.J. Simpson's Prank Show
For those lucky enough to briefly forget that O.J. Simpson still walks among us, remember, he joined Twitter, and any hopes that his pathetic attention seeking might prove morbidly entertaining turned to revulsion when one of the first messages he posted expressed how he had " a little getting even to do." And suddenly it all comes rushing back. Not just the crimes Simpson was accused and/or convicted of, but also how he was at one time an entertainment triple threat. The man was a legend in the world of sports, an advertising juggernaut, and a lovable but accident-prone member of the Police Squad.
And he almost had his own television show, too. Not some silly sitcom, mind you, but a prank show -- which seems pretty ironic, considering what the future held for the former Buffalo Bills running back. Oh wait, you say this show was made after the infamous trial? So seriously, just how much cocaine would a producer have to consume to make that (admittedly high-concept) pitch a reality?
In 2006 -- which, for those keeping track, would be precisely one year before he was sent to the Graybar Hotel for armed robbery -- Simpson was the star of a hidden-camera program called Juice'd. His antics really pushed the envelope, then savagely opened it. Although the fruits of this ignoble endeavor were released on DVD, the show mercifully never aired on any network. Maybe they didn't want to be associated with the nation's most notorious double murder acquittee. Or perhaps they didn't trust the judgement of the producer (who happened to be the same esteemed mind behind Bumfights and Backyard Wrestling). But more likely, they just watched the damn thing. It included such epic moments of hilarity as ... O.J. in old white man makeup, annoying senior citizens by reading bingo numbers poorly.
There's also O.J. pretending to sell oranges on the highway. There's no joke here; that's the entire setup. Even though it might actually be appropriate in this one, he doesn't even say his "You've been Juice'd!" catchphrase.
And in what was certainly the most terrifying scenario, O.J. simply played himself, showing up in random places and inspiring a building sense of dread in unsuspecting bystanders, seemingly unashamed to hit on every female who entered his line of sight. He appeared to have a 100% success rate ... of making them uncomfortable in a way comparable to how one might feel after watching the mirror dance scene in Silence Of The Lambs on a two-hour loop.
Some even took advantage of contact with an infamous celebrity to take part in some completely unscripted tomfoolery. Like how when O.J. pretended to be a white Ford Bronco salesman (describing the model he made famous as having "great escapability"), and somebody muttered, "Just be glad he doesn't have a knife!" (That guy probably experienced a fight-or-flight response akin to a gazelle accidentally stepping on a sleeping hyena.)
According to O.J's sidekick, an aspiring actor named Harmon Leon who was hired after responding to a Craigslist advertisement (seriously), the show repaid the "victims" for their wasted time, annoyance, and primal trepidation with a free Juice'd T-shirt. It's probably safe to say that this was not fair compensation.
E. Reid Ross has a book called Bizarre World -- order it now from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and leave a scathing/glowing review.
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