Finally, I’ve gotten through season two of Scandal, the T.V. show everyone’s talking about. Scandal first aired in 2012 with my girl Kerry Washington as the star—Olivia Pope. The show is a political thriller and is said to be based on Judy Smith, a crisis manager and former press aide for the George Bush Administration. Olivia Pope, like Smith, is a crisis manager, a.k.a “fixer,” for those who find themselves in deep shit—a scandal. She is also in love with the President of the United States, Fitzgerald Grant, and runs off to have an affair with him every now and then. She too was a press aide and she worked on the President’s election campaign back in the day (that’s when they met).
Scandal is an addictive show that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. At the end of each episode, you anxiously await the next one to air. This is why I had to wait until the end of the season to catch up. I watched the first season on Netflix. It was good and I was interested because it’s based in Washington, D.C., though we hardly see the characters in any credible place in D.C. (The Union Station metro didn’t look like the one in D.C.) We just know it is D.C. because of the snapshot photos used to transition the scenes. I know the photographer has his work cut out. I hope he enjoys it. Though I liked season 1, it wasn’t enough to pull me and make me want to revisit the show for a second season. I wasn’t planning to watch but word-of-mouth (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) bit me in the butt and made me peek at the first episode of season 2. I was hooked.
I decided to try to catch up so I could participate in the conversations flowing on my Facebook TL about the show. Things went great until a few episodes before the end of season 2. I then began to become troubled by the show, or rather viewers’ comments. From the conversations I’ve peeked in on, everyone seemed to revere Olivia Pope even her staff, which blindly follows her for a while. Of course, it’s not entirely the viewers’ fault for revering Pope. She has qualities that many would love to possess—independent, confident, smart, etc. Also, the show does a great job of making the viewer sympathize with Pope and hold her in a positive light no matter what she does; after all, she always seem to have a good reason for her actions. For example, Pope causes a rift in her friend’s (Abby) relationship but that was done for an apparently good reason. Abby could not be with the David Rosen, the district attorney, because she was leaking valuable information that would have ousted the Defiance incident that Pope and her conspirators were trying to keep hidden. Even though this bad act was done to cover another bad act – Defiance – Pope is still casted in a white light because she didn’t want to go ahead with the Defiance incident (which we learn later); PLUS, she saved Lindsay Dwyer (a.k.a. Quinn Perkins) so really, she shouldn’t be blamed.
Still, social media made me wonder if anyone has considered that Olivia Pope is not a good person (without being told so when the President mentions it to Jake the Navy dude when he’s instructed to keep tabs on Pope). It’s easy to sympathize with the star of a show, especially when that person always swathes herself in white as if to avoid blemishes. (Even I am suckered into believing that Olivia Pope is an angel). Pope is a complex character and I love the thorough blend of good and bad in her. She is having an affair with a married man and wrecking his marriage but one can’t help but soften towards Pope’s love for the President (especially since it’s easy to dislike the power-hungry First Lady). Pope and the President are madly, deeply in love. So deep that they ignore the dangers of their relationship and how it affects others. Though they try, they’re unable to stay away from each other and when they do see each other, they get it on like animals. People lust for a love such as theirs: a love worthy of romance novels—passionate and forbidden. People are willing to overlook Pope’s faults and the wreckage she leaves behind because of this. Because they want to believe that it’s possible to have such a love and succeed. I’m not stating this to hate on the character. I admire Olivia Pope, the fixer go-getter. I just think people take it for granted that she wears a lot of white.
Other than Pope, I find the show’s White House administration intriguing. I love reading about history’s leaders, especially the crazy ones like King Henry VIII. Actually, I have a book on a whole bunch of royal crazy people titled Mad Kings & Queens by Alison Rattle. I advise against reading it in one sitting. It will corrode your mind. Anyways, I mention Henry VIII above because I think of him whenever the show focuses on the White House: Cyrus, the First Lady, the President, and the Defiance conspirators. Doesn’t it remind you of back in the day (way back)when the king was always surrounded by courtiers trying to sway him to do their bidding or to marry their daughter, niece, cousin, or other female?
They all want to control President – Cyrus and the First Lady most of all. Actually, I think the first lady just wants to mean something. She wants to be significant especially since President Fitz is having an affair. She doesn’t want to be just an item on his arm who smiles at cameras, talk of the kids, and support other minor concerns. Cyrus wants to rule the country. I see him as a Dr. Evil character. But both him and the First Lady (with their spies and whisperers) makes me think of court life at a palace in a powerful kingdom. I wonder if the same is true for the real White House (I think it is) but it adds more intrigue to the show since these power-hungry characters are always at each other’s throats. I’ve lost respect for President Fitz because he’s a big baby that has to be guided and told what to do (plus he makes me think of Henry VIII whenever I see him). I don’t find him to be deliberate in his decisions, except when he kills the Supreme Court justice, Verna Thornton. I wish Pope would just forget about him and move on. She’s put her life on pause for him. It’s time she had some fun. Unfortunately, she’s tethered to her love.
I think that’s everything. I think I’ve expelled the major thoughts that welled up in my head while I watched the show. The final episode for season 2 has left me ambivalent though. I don’t like where it’s heading but I’m too curious to know what will happen next to even consider not watching season 3. It’s Shonda’s magical power because I felt the same about Grey’s Anatomy. Unfortunately (gladly), I’m only able to watch the Grey’s Anatomy episodes that are on Netflix. I can’t bother with T.V. sometimes. Waiting until the next week for the new episode drives me nuts. It’s either Netflix or I buy the DVD package (since I’m knee deep in student loans, it shall be Netflix.) But Shonda’s shows tend to always take a turn that I disagree with. I mean, why did there have to be a crazy ass plane crash that almost killed everyone in Grey’s? That still pisses me off. And now a certain character (Lil’ Huck) in Scandal is on a path that I do not agree with (I don’t think Huck agrees with it either). Sometimes I wonder if any of Shonda’s characters will have a “happy ever after” ending. She seems to always drag them through the worst of things and even then drag them some more. I wonder what her mind is like and if she wears all white like Pope (maybe Judy Smith does). The almost entirely white wardrobe throws me.
End of mind rant.
- Getting Chose: A Scandal Revelation (dopereads.com)
- Behind the scenes of ‘Scandal’ with creator Shonda Rhimes (thelead.blogs.cnn.com)
- ‘Scandal,’ Black Women and the Super-Black Mammy-Jezebel (theroot.com)
- TV: For Our Consideration: How Scandal became the perfect distillation of America’s political nightmares (avclub.com)