Dara T Mathis, 4’10 of intellectual, natural hair, epic writing awesomeness and my friend of over 20 years has done the unthinkable. In one of our random chats today she mentioned that she has started a mutiny. Over what you might ask? The television show Scandal. Being a Proud Gladiator in a Suit I decided to peruse her recent blog post and see what could possibly be written that would cause a mutiny. I mean me and Shonda are cool. Kerry Washington has been on my Famous People I want to meet list since “Save the Last Dance”, and became a permanent standard in my life since “She Hate Me” Shonda has had a definite hand in making my Netflix subscription worth it over the years. I then embark on reading Dara’s post. In which she lists not 1, not 2 but 6 reasons why she is underwhelmed with Scandal.
Our friendship almost ended….. And to believe I just posted her on my blog the other day! I Kid, I Kid. But really, she knows this is coming. I am replying a counter to her reasons of why she has converted to being a Scandalite, instead of embracing her inner Scandalousness….
1. Someone Stuck the Dialogue Button on Fast-Forward. Can anyone, please, please, tell me why Shonda Rimes adores fast-paced dialogue so much? I understand that the nature of scandalous business demands urgency, but does everysingleconvo needtoruntogether
infastmo? The actors spit out, rather than deliver, their lines, as if the scripts were written in bullets. Shoot me, already! No one talks like that in real life.
WE WISH we were this savvy in real life. Olivia and Harrisons ability to think on their feet, organize information as they hear it and spit back out a fact based retort or plan before the period even dries on your last word is compelling and makes you WISH you were that dang savvy. (I said that whole long sentence fast in my head….) Its part of the pull, it isn’t regular African American negative media that I’m going straight to ratchet or angry mode. Its I’m either going to give you so much plausible information or sound so confident about it you are either going to 1. Try to fight me and know you will loose or 2. Just do what I say. Done. #itshandled
PS I LOVE that the two main fast talkers are also the two African Americans in the group. I love that they are portrayed as smart and don’t miss a beat
2. Olivia Pope. Huck. Harrison. And the Other People. This one might be on me, but I have no clue who the other characters are. Shonda has created an ensemble cast of 2D individuals about whom she makes me care very little. We love Olivia and want her on our team! But the minions in the conference room? Why are they special? Right, because Olivia needs people to carry out the bullet-point orders she fires off. I live only to see Harrison in gingham.
The minions are special because each and every one of them in some way owe their life to her. Huck was homeless, Harrison got out of jail, Abby slept on Olivia’s couch to get away from her abusive husband, and well we all know the Quinn Perkins story. Again, this is a pull for me! Why the intense loyalty? The I will follow you to the ends of the earth and back? That comes from a deep place. Its intentional that all of them were not given initial deep backstories, what’s the fun in that? I keep watching to learn where the layered loyalty lies. Harrison is finally going to get some back play this season. Yall do know he just got divorced in real life right…IJS #Harrisonislonley #LoveColumbusShort #SumbodyComfortHim
3. Olivia Pope, In Action, Does…Nothing? Her hype precedes her and leaves you wondering: WTF just happened?! And maybe that’s the mystique of Olivia Pope, but the most we see her do is bark orders from delicately lined lips, pick up phones and vaguely threaten folk. And when Olivia does set things in motion, it is the minions who do the scurrying, the dirty digital data scrubbing, and the planting or removal of evidence. Olivia Pope, I don’t believe you; you don’t need more people…you need to actually DO something.
She is exactly the type of DC politico that she needs to be. They never get their own hands dirty? Why don’t you feel this way about the President or Cyrus, Hollis Doyle, or Mellie for that matter who has the bodyguards and staff members in her palm? That’s how politics works. You leave the vaguest trail back to you if any. (How long did it take them to find out Verna was the one who hired Becky??) If she actually did more hands on for me in this role it wouldn’t be believable. They only get their hands dirty at the highest levels. Yknow like stealing the presidency. Her job is to provide the fix. Not necessarily fix it herself. #fixerstatusdontgetjailtime
4. About That Presidential Affair. I suppose every sheroine needs an Achilles heel, but does it have to be such a douche of a character as the marginally Pres? The most powerful woman in DC…is the president’s side piece? He ain’t that fine, no way. I still cannot decide if that’s a brilliant plot device or just…a scandalous choice in character development.
I have a hard time with this one simply due to the side piece is a side piece part. But technically, he wasn’t the pressy when the affair started. What would a TV show about Scandal be if the main character didn’t have a Scandal of her own? ALSO I think people view this as so much worse because the main character is a Woman, I think if it was the other way around, the hype about who HE cheated with wouldn’t be as important. Double Standard!
5. All the White Women are Whiny. But then again, this is a Shonda Rimes show. Never mind, Meredith Grey. There can only be one main character, but the aggrandizement of Pope’s character reduces every other female to bitchy lackey or whorish side piece. Great for Olivia, bad for feminist womankind.
This made me giggle. Because I simply call Abby “The RedHead” because she is perpetually nosy and whiny. I do however, disagree with all. Mellie does what she needs to do to get her way. She will ask/whine first, but after that she is all bulldog. Verna Thorne didn’t whine once. Quinn is nosy and annoying, but not whiny. Shes definitely into getting her hands dirty. Especially in Season 2 after she got over being scared every 2 seconds and converted to being Baby Huck. And even on Greys, Erica Hahn, Miranda Bailey, Christina. Yea No whines….
BONUS: 6. The Scandals Look Alike. Sex, murder, gayness, sex tape, cheating wife, missing cheating husband, hooker sex, gay sex, office sex… ad nauseum. And if we already know that Olivia is great at having sex, cleaning up sex tapes, spinning hooker sex into stand-by-your-man sex…then what’s really at stake?
The Presidency, A Mole who got American Spies Caught, A International Dictator whos wife wanted to leave him, Framed Murder, A Government Program that spies on citizens, the whole premise is Scandals that take down high powered people. Typically 65% of that is Sex related. I think its relatable It’s akin to what we will watch on the News. The things that have hurt people in the past, it mirrors what we see every day. I think it keeps it realistic, anything too grand would make viewers loose interest.
I had fun writing this. I can say I have gotten about 4 people hooked on this show. I am known for my twitter worthy Facebook posts during the show (FB has Hashtags now! WATCH OUT!) I have watched Season 1 approximately 3 times, and on my second run through of Season 2. #WhiteHatStatus #GladiatorsStandUp!