Scandalous!

Some spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

scandal-abc

Watching Scandal is a weekly ritual for me. I love to sit back on my couch, phone in hand (cause I gotta get my tweet on), and revel in the ridiculousness of this frothy primetime soap. Shoot, sometimes I bust out red wine and popcorn too.

scandal meme

After my tweets and retweets, I go onto the Facebook and laugh and kiki with the Facebook folks about their thoughts. I even click “like” on the statuses of the Scandal haters who clown the rest of us. It’s all good fun. Then I love reading recaps by Awesomely Luuvie and seeing what the doll, Miss Funky Dineva, has to say on YouTube. It’s a whole community experience that I thoroughly enjoy, especially since my Thursdays usually involve three hours of commuting, responding to tons of emails, teaching, unproductive meetings, and the like. Scandal is not just a show, it’s an event and I thoroughly enjoy it.

 

hoc & scandal

Since Netflix has released House of Cards, there’s been a lot of comparison to Scandal. On the one hand that makes sense, since both series are wildly popular political dramas that feature sex, intrigue, and duplicitous backroom dealing. Now, while House of Cards is another political drama that I enjoy (I’m halfway through season one, so no spoilers, people!), there is, to be honest, not that much of a comparison. In my mind, House of Cards is filet mignon, while Scandal is a greasy burger. And sometimes a sista just wants a greasy burger.

Sometimes.

And sometimes a sista needs to pop some Tums cause it’s too much. It just depends.

So, I watched last night’s episode and, for the most part, got my entire life. Like many others, I had waited with baited breath for the show’s return after it’s winter hiatus. But I thought the season started off a bit slow. Well, series creator Shonda Rimes is known for giving viewers the okey doke and the last few episodes have been wild rides that have kept me on the edge of my seat.

The moment in last night’s episode that really had me hollering was when Mama Pope told Olivia that she was simply “the help.”

help1help2

#Dead

You is kind...you is smart...You is important? Maybe.

You is kind…you is smart…you is important? Maybe.

h/t Awesomely Luvvie. Made by http://tvhousehusband.tumblr.com

h/t Awesomely Luvvie. Made by http://tvhousehusband.tumblr.com

the help2

Y’all ain’t shit for this!

And then when Cyrus was basically like, “Yeah, girl, you the maid and I’m the butler.” Dead again.

To be honest, when Mama Pope read Olivia for filth those lines from that horrible, horrible, horrible movie The Help did come in mind. And the moment underscored one thing I am definitely not here for in Scandal—Olivia being everything to everybody and nobody to herself. I love how this character stomps through the White House, slaying everyone in a five mile radius with her flawless coats and Indian Remy, but the character’s isolation (where are her homegirls?) and undeserved allegiance to a corrupt government is both tired and played.

Now the series has toyed a bit with the issue of Olivia being akin to a modern Sally Hemmings. And I don’t think those comparisons are completely inappropriate, though what I’m not here for is any even remote inkling of slut shaming or respectability politics. Let’s just leave that mess at the door and feel free to take it with you on the way out. What I am interested in, however, is the ways in which the series has moved to overemphasizing an uninteresting romance instead of developing a character that has the potential to be so very fierce. C’mon, Shonda! Give Olivia some more depth and at least one homegirl. I know there has to be at least one Black or Brown sista in the DMV that doesn’t want to kill her or sleep with her dude(s)!

I mean, I love a guilty pleasure as much as the next person (revisit my first paragraph if you don’t believe me) but I’m a tired unto death of seeing the lip quivering, deer in headlights non-romance between Fitz and Olivia, their undeniable sexual chemistry notwithstanding. And then all this mess around “saving the republic.” Now I get that Scandal is just a delightfully trashy melodrama, but lots of people actually believe that mess and I think seeing this played out week after week reminds me of that foolishness. Can’t the show just go back to “fixing” juicy political scandals every week?

What are your thoughts on Scandal, fam?

crunkadelic

10 thoughts on “Scandalous!

  1. “Can’t the show just go back to “fixing” juicy political scandals every week?” Amen. Agreed. Amen. The OP-Fitz romance is totally played out now. It even seems weird when they cue to them stealing a kiss or a grope. It seems implausible given all she knows, and just a bit ridiculous knowing the OP character that they were developing in seasons 1 and 2. Can we go back to some political drama? Can OP & Associates go back to making some money and paying staff regularly and on time? Can they get rid of Quinn? Can Harrison be my lover? Yes, all that. The end.

    • Harrison is looking sharper and sharper these days – either he is just going to rocket off into the stratosphere giving OP the double middles for ignoring him this whole time, or something is about to go down.

  2. Crunkadelic I haven’t seen this week’s episode so I have to sit out the deep analysis on it specifically – but I can say my favorite episodes tend to be Zahir McGhee (writing) and interestingly – both times McGhee has gotten the byline on an episode, Tony Goldwyn AKA Fitz has directed. “A Woman Scorned” Season 2 and “A Door Marked Exit” Season 3 are examples. Heaviest use of the Hemmings analogies and “just-a-whore” language has been when Shonda Rhimes has the byline. This reinforces for me what I have thought since Grey’s Anatomy — Rhimes is brilliant to the point of iconic as a producer and creator, and she definitely knows how to recruit really good writing talent. I don’t think she does it intentionally, because she relies too heavily on overused metaphors and imagery for pretty much everything, not just black women and their social-sexual relationships with white men. But I just notice it more when it’s something racialized. Like the theme across all her shows of black men being generally asexual or flash in the pan romantic figures – unless they are really really light skinned and/or dating someone not black. But those are her narrative issues. I am both frustrated by them and kind of like –to use your imagery– if I order the greasy burger, I better be ready to eat the greasy burger, and not complain about indigestion afterwards. For me, it’s the older generation that has infused some serious chutzpah into the story — Mama Pope and Papa Pope rule my world.

  3. For the most part, every character’s character , including Harrison’s love hate relationship with Adenan, is developed or in process of being slowly revealed, but Olivia needs support. True support from another character who isn’t her “yes person,” former lover, boss’ pit bull, or a man who is completely confused. It’s the whole I can do bad all by myself syndrome or Black woman is superwoman myth. On one side of the coin she is fierce, passionate, a woman of clarity, but on the other side she is lonely, has unresolved issues with her parents, and is willing so wrapped up in her work and goes home to herself that she seems sad in a way. At the end of this last episode, her father reached out. That blew me away. I just hope that she doesn’t cave in for Fitzgerald, again, that she responds to her father, and also receives a call from an old true friend. Perhaps, someone from her college days.

    • This and then some. This is what I both love and hate about Olivia. Shonda has painted a portrait of the image of black women: lonely, strong, mammy, messed up family that shes trying to fix, daddy issues …all the tropes are there (and well-written …definitely not hating on Shonda, the show is incredible). In a lot of ways I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m thinking Shonda has some big reveal about Olivia or some turnaround for her that’s full of awesome.

      Or at least I hope. Agree with everything written in the article and comments thus far.

  4. Pingback: Scandalous | csimons2014

  5. Pingback: Scandalous | thefeministblogproject

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