How Do I Love Thee, @ScandalABC? Let Me Count the Ways
Scandal. Scandal. Scandal.
♥ I love how writer/producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) created a television drama in which the lead character could have been portrayed by a bold, brilliant, beautiful woman of any ethnicity, and ABC cast a black woman in that role (first time in 38 years a black actress has been the lead in a TV series), and viewers eagerly embraced it.
♥ I love how every one of the supporting characters in this show is a multi-dimensional combination of qualities that make them fascinating and fabulously flawed. And we’re just getting to know them. (That First Lady is a piece of work! And Cyrus? Complex and riveting.)
♥ I love how Olivia Pope’s core mission is to do good in the world–and how interesting it is to watch her try to maintain that mission in her, ahem, “complicated” line of work.
♥ I love how Olivia Pope & Associates and the “scandal-neutralizing” work they do, ensures, as a plot-driver, that the show’s writers have an amazing vehicle for creativity, variety and diversity whose wheels will never fall off.
♥ I love that the show is based on a real-life black woman, Judy Smith, who worked as a press aide in the Bush administration and left the White House to run her own successful crisis management firm. So, no, you cannot write the Scandal concept off as “unrealistic” if it doesn’t quite mesh with your preconceived notions about who can and cannot guide and advise the White House.
♥ I love how Kerry Washington’s complexion is outing these critics who characterize a black Olivia Pope as a “post-racial fantasy” (Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker) while they drool unabashedly over the racially homogeneous new HBO “Girls” like it is the cultural second coming of the equally homogeneous “Friends.”
♥ I love how some folks are oddly “disturbed” by this TV rarity –that is– a bright, beautiful, brown-skinned female boss who inspires admiration and loyalty in everyone who knows her, yet whose ethnicity isn’t a focus in the show. (No, this ain’t “Get Christie Love,” and nobody’s going to call Olivia Pope the “N” word, folks–get over it.) Shonda is career savvy like that.
And if one more blogger disrespects the REAL LIFE POWERLESSNESS of 13-year-old Sally Hemmings at the hands of Thomas Jefferson by comparing that child’s plight to this FICTIONAL, grown, free, educated, voting, wage-earning black woman who can drive her luxury car out of the White House gates and never look back if she so chooses–I think I will puke.
I’m not all that thrilled with the adulterous love triangle of FLOTUS, POTUS and Pope, but it definitely does add a layer of complexity to each episode, and also helps bring Olivia down from her “not normal” pedestal where we can more clearly view her as the human being she is. Regardless of how you view the married President’s pursuit of Olivia as his “soul mate” and “the love of his life,” that story line is definitely in perfect alignment with the title of the show.
“I hope that Olivia Pope being a lead of a television series and being smart and vulnerable and the most desirable woman in any room that she walks into changes something for someone in the way they perceive women of color. But I also hope that people watch it and find it to be good entertainment.” – Shonda Rhimes
Good entertainment is exactly what I find Scandal to be.
Can’t wait ’til next season.
Until then, inquiring minds want to know…
Who the hell is Quinn Perkins?