Thursday, January 31, 2013

What I love and hate about #Scandal


If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I am here for Scandal - the fast paced, brilliantly penned brain child of Shonda Rhimes starring Kerry Washington. Shonda had me at "Hello" or in the case of this show, "Hi."

There are things that I love and hate about the show. I have no in between feelings, it's all in one way or the other. The premise of the show is that Olivia Pope is a DC Beltway fixer with connections everywhere. She and her "Gladiators in Suits" have the sticky job of extricating the rich and powerful from scandalous situations and making everything all pretty again. Unfortunately, the lives of the gladiators are just as messy (if not more so) as those they serve.

Huck, a former (current?) super-sleuth ninja for the government is lacking in social skills, heavy on heart and has the ability to disappear folks without leaving the minutest DNA trace. Abby is the neurotic uber-snarky but ultra smart chick who has horrendous (I mean God Awful) taste in men. Not to be outdone in the bad taste in men category is Quinn whose former boyfriend was blown up by the Illuminati, her last hookup was killed by the Vice-President's Chief of Staff. She is at times mousy at other times (usually at the worst time) brash. Harrison, played by the easy-on-the-eyes Columbus Short has some sort of criminal shenaniganism in his past and no love life to speak of (please fix this); he acts as Olivia's second in command.

Olivia is a complex Superwoman with a banging wardrobe, hair laid to the heavens and a quivering lower lip. She tries to do the right thing until she doesn't and when she makes a bad decision she goes ALL in. And don't get me started on the characters in the West Wing. 

Things I love:
  • I LOVE that a female African-American heroine is smart, bold, witty and in charge. 
  • I LOVE the winding plots that are messy, scary, gripping, thought-provoking and mind-boggling all at the same time.
  • I LOVE the gorgeous wardrobes, awesome supporting cast, seamless music production and authentic sets. 
  • I LOVE the diversity. We have gays, folks of color, conservatives, liberals and everything in between represented.
  • I LOVE the writing. The dialogue is snappy and fast-paced. There is no predictability. Just when you think you know? You don't know.

Things I hate:
  • I HATE that Olivia (as with so many successful sisters) has everything but a life. No family, no husband, no kids, no hobbies. She has work and...
  • I HATE that the man she loves is married. And the President. But mostly that he's married. Great as their chemistry is (and it is smoking) I hate that the very essence of their relationship is morally bankrupt. I overlook it because this is fiction but I still hate it.
  • I HATE that Columbus Short doesn't have more screen time.
  • I HATE that some of these situations (that GitmoBay scene in the Pentagon basement?) may be real.
  • I HATE that Shonda does the utmost with our emotions. It's a Shonda-ism. Her story lines do not ease you into the drama, she dumps you in the deep end head first and then clubs you about the nose and mouth until you are drowning in the pathos/sympathy/mushiness of the moment.

What I have noticed is that people get uber-polarized when watching the show. They are either #TeamFitz or #TeamEdison and nothing will sway them from one side to the other. Ya'll realize this is fiction, right? I've also noticed that folks get really morally superior while watching this show. I get it. I do. A sister finally gets a starring role on TV so why for the love of purple glitter does she have to be a high profile side chick to the most powerful white man in the world? I get that. I do. But how are people more angry at a fictional character than you are over the ratchetness of those "reality" chicks?

People often miss the broader point of Shonda's fiction. Scandal is primarily here to entertain, it's also here to spark conversation and discourse and lastly, it's in many ways a "what not to do". Be that as it may, it's a show that I enjoy. Even with the love and the hate.

Who watches Scandal? Do you love it, hate it? Why or why not? Do share...

31 comments:

Elle said...

I am THE biggest "Scandal" fan, and I wear my badge with honor. I absolutely love the show and am probably one of the few people that has watched since the very beginning. I've introduced co-workers, friends, a former suitor, and family (including my momma) to this show. As I have had to tell some people, this show is not real. It allows me to escape my life for one hour and see what shenanigans are gonna happen next. While I do not like the Olivia/Fitz affair, she most certainly does not need to marry Edison. He is not to be trusted, just like VP Langston.

I could be here all day, but I only have an hour for lunch. The moral of the story is- "Scandal" is absolutely AWESOME!!! If you don't watch it, you're losing at life.

Penni Brown said...

I love this show!

I look at Olivia and Fitz in a different way. She is reluctantly in love with him, he is proactively in love with her. She discourages his attention, he creates opportunities to be in her presence. You wouldn't have to stretch too much to call him a stalker actually. Sure, she could create more rigid boundaries but she tries to move on more than he does.

Edison is a bulldozer. I can't see how his personality would work well with hers even if there was no Fitz. Sure, he's single, and some may say handsome, but those are about the only traits that make him appealing as a companion for her. Plus, she's smarter than him and he doesn't know it. (FItz knows that she's smarter.)

If Olivia were a man with this same job, his lifestyle would be the same. The only difference is that he might have a wife at home. But, trust and believe that his wife would be long suffering and constantly neglected. I don't think a man would sit at home for too many nights waiting for Olivia to come home. Men and women are different that way. And if he had an equally demanding job, they would still never see each other. I don't believe in that whole 'you can have it all' mantra. You can have a little bit of a lot, but if you want alot of something, you're going to have to be cool with a lot less of something else. It's all about choices. I believe her career, this career, is her choice and provides a certain level of fulfillment and comfort.

Superwoman said...

This show is THE BUSINESS!! it's called The Fixer here in South Africa, since we already have another show called Scandal on a local channel.... it is hectically addictive, and now that it's off our screens for a bit, i am in serious withdrawal!! i love what the show does to my emotions, the story lines are so damn gripping!! as for the relationship between "president ghost'!!! it it KILLS me dead!!

Mina B. said...

<---Scandal addict checking in

" But how are people more angry at a fictional character than you are over the ratchetness of those "reality" chicks?"



I'll wait.....

thinklikeRiley said...

I hadn't been watching but based on your tweets, I copped season 1 and 2 and did the marathon last weekend. Kerry fine. The story makes me laugh. Kerry fine. I can't TV too damn seriously. Did I mention Kerry fine? Aight den.

sol_dier said...

I am here for Scandal, you hear me?. I'm all the way here for scandal and I don't even have a TV. I have to switch off listening Americans for 12 hrs so I can catch up with it

Shonda Rhymes invites me into this show, like Toni Morrison invites me into her novels. There's this ying yang, constant dichotomy within characters or story, It's like Sparta Queen speech for dramatised emotions. (This will not be over quickly, you will not enjoy this, this will not be easy..)

I don't really care about the presidential affair, its all fiction to me. Its mindless guilt free fun to me. Very entertaining.

GrownAzzMan said...

I watch. Have season 1 on DVD. I have been down since episode 1 scene 1. "I'm a gladiator in a suit". Maybe the best political show since 'The West Wing' (cue the organ music) That is raified air. This is the only Shonda show I have ever paid attention to so I can't make any comparisons. I like all the stuff you like and don't like all the stuff you don't. Plus I am sooooo not here for the election fixing storyline. The thing I hate most however is that since I do most of my TV watching via DVR after the fact I have to completed log out of all social media on Thursday nights because folks on facebook and the twittah MUST do play by play...

GrownAzzMan said...

You really should mention that Kerry fine...LOL I do have the desire to buy her a big dinner STAT so that a stiff wind doesn't blow her away.

Angel on a Quest said...

You had me at, "why for the love of purple glitter..."


I've never watched #Scandal, and really hate that so many people in my social circles watch it, as it leaves me bereft of company on Thursdays (smile). I will likely catch the show one day, but really want to see it from the very first episode through the current season, so...I'll get on that eventually.

VROSHELL said...

Hey Chele!! I needed a post badly so thanks!! "throws purple glitter"!!

Trey Charles said...

Was just about to say that Ms. Washington needs a sammich.

keishabrown said...

YASSS WEST WING WAS THAT SHOW!!!!

keishabrown said...

lemme tell you that i. am. a scandalholic. and it cracks me up that people want to ascribe personality traits to people who watch a fictional tv show. i LOVE how Shonda replied to Star Jones about the Olitz relationship. very and u sir. LOL. Star tried it and...failed. See y'all on twitter in 8 minutes! LOL.

Drae said...

Love this show. I am catching up on season 2 right now. One thing I did notice is that Oliva and harrison

CaliGirlED said...

I so agree about Harrison! When he is in a scene he has so much purpose to be there, usually setting someone STRAIGHT!

CaliGirlED said...

Love this summary!

CaliGirlED said...

"But how are people more angry at a fictional character than you are over the ratchetness of those "reality" chicks?"...*sighs* And I refuse to watch any of them!

Do I like the adulterous affair of Olivia and Prez? No! Do I recognize that their chemistry is stronger than that of most marriages? Yes! It actually reminds me of a real life situation (not mine), I don't agree with but know why it continues.

I am soooo sucked into Scandal!!! Shonda is amazing!!! I compare her political mind to Spielberg's thriller mind, SCARY!


After last night's episode she REALLY has me wanting Harrison, or Columbus, or a Harrison-like Columbus looking kind of man. (I wonder if he really has underneath never to be revealed feelings for Olivia?)

blackprofessor said...

Do I recognize that their chemistry is stronger than that of most marriages? Yes! - If this ain't the truth, I don't know what is!

blackprofessor said...

I love the show! The characters are real - not completely perfect, not completely flawed and not needing saviors. They are flawed and human, which is why I love the show. It reminds me of one of my favorite shows, the Wire, in which I rooted for "bad" and "good" guys. The only thing that changed was whether a character was good or bad, except Marlo who always remained a punk!

MiddlePassageDesigns said...

I really don't have ANYTHING else to add to this. I agree 100%

rozb said...

Hi. My name is Roz and I am addicted to Scandal. It is fiction, with interesting relationship dynamics, humor, intrigue, and yes, even ratchedness, But so does a soap opera some have watched their whole lives. With Scandal - I know these are actors playing roles, and if folks look at this show for relationship advice or morality - well then, I ain't got nothing for you.


Oh yeah - Edison has no sex appeal to me, and he does not have any chemistry with Olivia. I think this is on purpose - to present a relationship along the lines of "Love the one you are with (who is available)".

rozb said...

"...some may say handsome..." iDied.

rozb said...

It was pretty good.

Bougie Girl said...

I love this show. I am not crazy about the married guy being the love of her life but, it is spot on. It is nice to see a Black woman in charge and up in it.

rikyrah said...

I love Scandal. I'm not upset that he's married. Olivia is a control freak, and the only time she's not in control is when she's with Fitz. Do you know may high-powered women who have a hubby and family at home on tv? Come on.

I also love Mellie, who is crazy as all get out, but Mellie cracks me up.

I also love Huck....CIA trained killer that he is.

Quinn whines too much.

Abby gets on my nerves.

I like Harrison.

and, I like Edison.

Ann said...

I love that Olivia has a powerful WHITE man obsessed with her. The interracial couples we see are most often a Black man with a White woman, especially in the real world. Finally, the script is flipped!

Wong Chia Chi said...

longtime lurker, first time commentor her.


I watched Scandal at work a few times and...I don't understand the fascination with Olivia and Fit. Huck (he's my snuggle puppy) is the character I'm most invested in and his story line is the most interesting, also the political corruption story lines Like the fact that Olivia rigged the election so Fit could win, isn't this show based off of the memoirs of a real life woman who's basically talking about George Bush II? Columbus Short is damn fine and definitely needs more screen time and a love life.


I said this somewhere else but Fits relationship with Olivia is abusive. How can people not see this? Explosive chemistry or not that man is controlling, bordering on abusive. He has her watched, secretly without her knowledge. He black mails her emotionally i.e. when he has her summoned to the Whitehouse and he says "You control me. I have no choice."(typical abuser tactic). He lies to her about his foreign policies, I forget which episode, and then he has the nerve to get angry with her about "Defiance"? Most recent episode when they had sex in the closet at a christening he said " I may not be able to control my erections around you but that doesn't mean I love you." WTF? How can you say something like that to someone, especially someone you supposedly love?


This is why the "Mistress of A Powerful Man" fantasy trope makes no sense to me. Yes power is alluring but, most powerful men get power by dishonest means. They're typically narcissistic and emotionally immature once you scratch the surface. They can be brilliant but they can also be cruel and emotionally unavailable.That's how they can sign order have millions of people tortured and killed. I don't find that sexy or romantic. It scares me and not in a wet my panties kind of way. In a "I'm moving six countries away without telling anyone who knows me and changing my name" kind of way.

Wong Chia Chi said...

I completely agree posted my comment before I read yours. "Stalker" describes Fits perfectly.

G-Money said...

Cracks me up how sistas hate brothers crossing over, hate cheating - but love, love, LOVE them some Olivia...

OneChele said...

There are lots of things I love about fiction that I wouldn't love about real life.

One Chele said...

"Scandal" was stolen from a screenwriter in NJ, now living in Maryland. Without the resources to fight the Shonda Rhimes machine, he was left with nothing. The script was actually a feature film passed to a rep for Washington in 2010. Strangely enough, the "idea" came to Shonda Rhimes in 2011 and guess who the star is? No such thing as coincidence. The original screenplay features and all Black cast, so...I'm wondering what that would look like on ABC...IT WOULDN'T, because the network wouldn't have it.

It's unfortunate that these so-called Hollywood 'stars' are allowed to go unchecked like that. But it will all come out in the wash. No deed of that type goes unpunished somehow. What they need to do is the right thing and pay that man his money.

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