The Trouble With "Scandal"

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by Tanya Steele
May 22, 2012 3:51 PM
247 Comments
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Like many, I eagerly anticipated the premiere of the show Scandal. A beautiful, black woman who is a power player in D.C., it had me chomping at the bit. With all of the strong television shows for women (Homeland on Showtime, The Good Wife on CBS - although, I don't know why the woman of color on that show has to bed everything with legs), I was hopeful. There has been no shortage of shows where white women get to dangle their brilliance, their prowess, their wardrobe. So, I was like a child on Christmas Eve. Not since 1974 has a TV drama had a black female lead character. And, this is a far cry from Get Christie Love. Certainly, we are well beyond the days of, "You're under arrest, Sugah!" Or, are we?

Before you go sucking your teeth, rolling your eyes and screaming to the heavens, "why can't black people leave "successful" black folks alone?", hear me out. I think there is an opportunity here to encourage the writers of the show to be bold and courageous. I am rooting for the show to succeed, but, the creators have to be fearless and let Olivia Pope dominate.

The first show left me a bit dizzy. I tend to tune out when the dialogue is coming at you like rapid fire in an inner city war zone. But, I understand, in the first episode, there was a lot of exposition to cover. I forgave it. I checked in with my Actor sisters to hear their thoughts. They weren't so taken with Kerry Washington, but, I was eager to see her chops. And she is captivating. The show is designed to showcase her beauty. That is achieved without question. Considering we've spent the majority of the time studying every crevice of Kerry Washington's face, we can all agree that she has a face sculpted by the gods.

And the second episode, when Olivia Pope (KW) is on the park bench "schooling" Amanda Tanner, KW showed her chops. She descended on Tanner like a drone missile. I haven't yelled at the TV like that, since Michael Jordan obliterated the basketball court. In that moment, Olivia Pope established her skill set, her power, her uncompromising commitment to her work, her character, her grace under fire and it was stunning! Stunning! There was no finger waving, no back and forth head motion, no pulling of weaves; it was pure and uncompromising intelligence. She wasn't anyone's (basketball) wife, she was in complete possession of herself. And dressed to the nines while doing it!

I was even pleased with the delivery of the twists and turns toward the end of each episode. The fierce leftist politics. Yes, they are. The complex storyline of the black woman in love with the republican president. There was a lot of information being delivered here, and Ms. Shonda Rhimes was not waving any race banner. That made it all the more engaging. Olivia Pope is vulnerable, caring, wise and sharp - these are the black women I know. These characters have reached the upper echelons and are consumed with the things that get us out of bed every morning; love, work and passion.

So, what went wrong?! I was not a fan of Ms. Shonda Rhimes prior to Scandal. However, I am happy for all of her success. I respect her intelligence and (TV) acumen. And not in the way that people praise Tyler Perry. They condemn his work but laud over him because of his achievements. I believe in quality execution. And if it isn't there, I don't care how many gazillions of dollars you make, I will not curtsy in your general direction. I don't simply support because it's black. It's got to be well done. Ms. Rhimes is a bit too 'soap opera-esque' for my taste. The 'soap opera' aesthetic of Grey's Anatomy leaves me cold. That style undermines the strength of the characters (women, especially) and renders them sheepish.

Having gone through NYU's graduate film program, one comes out with a very sharp, critical eye. I'm fortunate to do script analysis for private clients. One thing I note with my female clients, is that it's hard for us to keep a woman character as lead. Usually, the female will partner with a male (either in work or love) and the male will eventually become the lead or takeover the storyline. It is very difficult for women to keep a strong, female character at the center of the story. This seems to be the case here. By the second to last episode, I did not know if 'the president' or Olivia Pope was the lead. It's a very subtle dynamic. 'The president' took the lead in their interactions. He asked for 'the minute'. He showed up at her house. He was making the choices. The lead has to make the choices, otherwise, they become a 'passive' character. Olivia Pope, who started off the series fully in charge, had become a doe-eyed mistress. How did we get here?!

By the last episode, Olivia Pope was grabbed on the arm by "the President", read by the first lady and barely uttered a word. Kerry Washington did what she could with what she was given. But, I didn't know how much longer KW would be able to pull off the teary-eyed, emoting in lieu of dialogue. There were a few moments in the last episode that were truly troubling. When they were trying to clean up Gideon's apartment, Olivia Pope grabs the phone and alerts the police. Huck (played by Guillermo Diaz, who wore a ridiculous wig in a previous episode, that would have worked in Get Christie Love) then alerts everyone that the cell phone had not been recovered, undermining Olivia's decision to call the police. It's a simple moment that spoke volumes.

In the season finale, "the president" walks in and the "first lady" schools him on how they will proceed. And this came after FLOTUS schooled Olivia Pope. This was particularly demeaning. "The president" enters, we see the first lady and then Olivia Pope quietly stands up and has her head bowed in the corner of the frame. I'm like… what in the hell is this? This woman has gone from fierce control to utter shame. That is the series climax?! I'm sorry, marching around in a nice wardrobe with an overwrought soundtrack and the security guard saying how impressive you are, gives the illusion of power. Olivia Pope was severely underwritten. The show went off the rails, not quite back to the days of Sally Hemings but close. Perhaps, a friend explained, the ratings weren't great, so the creators put the "white characters" at the center. Not sure. Whatever happened, they have to fix it. Ms. Rhimes has given us great expectations. And we want Olivia Pope to reign supreme.

Some thoughts:

1 - A support system for Olivia Pope outside of her office (a family member, sister, brother, old college roommate… someone that she can commune with beyond the office), open up her world. This will give us a sense of her inner life, what sustains her, what motivates her.

2 - Let Ms. Pope control the interactions with her lovers. Don't allow her to be a woman of straw that bends in whatever direction her lover needs.

3 - Invite us into her background (childhood, teenage years).

4 - Take her out of the U.S. (always wonderful to see a woman abroad, out of her element, but, in control).

5 - Squash the relationship with the president. It's done. It's not that interesting or believable. We will learn much more about her as she attempts relationships with other, less powerful, men.

6 - For me, please do something with the black male "gladiator in a suit" (what happened to that phrase, anyway?). His fast talking, few minutes of screen time has become an annoyance. I know the brother has range, so slow his talk down and give him an interesting storyline. We have experienced everyone's story but his.

7 - Be fearless. Let Olivia Pope run the show. Don't let the show run her.

The show is exciting, tantalizing, intriguing but, in need of a stronger lead. Pope can be etched in stone with Kojak, Columbo and Tony Soprano if the creators stop pandering toward what America will accept. Imagine - more Barbara Jordan, less Sally Hemings.

Follow Tanya Steele on Twitter at @digtanya.

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247 Comments

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  • Random White Chick | December 6, 2013 11:54 PMReply

    I saw KW on SNL and was really impressed with her versatility and comedic chops. She's incredibly talented and beautiful to boot!

    Which is why it's so disappointing to see her cast in a role where the bulk of the storyline revolves around seducing (white) men. Can't we have ONE show where the lead female character has a life outside of romance/sex? I'm no prude, but come on. I can't even be in the room when the show is on because it makes my stomach turn.

    "Power" is not the same as "sexuality". A man's power comes from his personality, achievements, talents, morals and goals; a woman's apparently comes from her ability to seduce a man. This offensive narrative is present everywhere, from music and movies to TV shows like Scandal. There's nothing wrong with celebrating beauty and sex appeal, but don't confuse it with true personal power.

  • George | October 25, 2013 12:40 PMReply

    Above all K. Washington's character is not a super heroine. She's actually an anti-hero and a human. The idea of Olivia winning everytime makes it harder to relate to her as I do now. This doesn't mean that she is underwritten at all. And yes, Scandal is really soap-opera esque and a very light serie but I think after Breaking bad, Homeland, OINTB and specially House of Cards, this format is actually refreshing.

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  • Muse | September 19, 2012 11:51 AMReply

    Now that Scandal is making its way back to the airwaves in a few weeks, it's time for the moderators to spray the spam roach spray to kill the last few comments, and make way for fresh new commentary.

  • Well | July 2, 2012 5:35 PMReply

    O.k. all I get it - we want to stop the whole black girl, sleeps with white man (no more black whore depictions). However, while this story may be a far fetch to what is real - who knows how this story was derived. Typically all fiction comes from a conglomerate of what is or has been real life. Everything black can't be Cliff and Claire Huxtable - truthfully, that was probably more unreal in the Urban black community but two-thumbs go to all positive African American images. Nevertheless, there are all kinds of people in the world and a person has to decide from themselves, their children - who or what they will emulate. An individuals personal life is just that it is personal, if Kerri were a real person and likely is a type of person that does exist - why would we all care who she slept with or didn't? I suppose this is what it would be if Monica Lewinsky were a black girl? In any case, let the show evolve into what it shall be a few episodes in not enough to decide the show is bad. We need a whole season. IJS

  • 2SENSE | June 15, 2012 7:40 PMReply

    1st of all, I LOVE this show. Omigod, I dashed home Thursday nights to watch it like my life depended on it. The 8th week VOID sucked. Shondaville people, y'all are wrong for tantalizing, hooking, addicting, and then dropping your NETWORK TELEVISION fans like that. Y'all ran with only seven episodes of your riveting, naughty-as-the-dickens, ways-to-SCREW-the-US-Presidency kitsch! Surely y'all got a load of that Ken Starr, real life shagfest that made the men & women protecting Clinton's presidency cringe, right? So, y'all had to know you were going to get some fans. But, y'all didn't put your treats on PBS or CW with mini-series. So, WTF!!! I would like MORE per season, please.

    Now, I didn't know the last TV drama with a "black female lead" was 1974. If that is true, there hasn't been one in my lifetime. "Scandal" does not have a "black female lead." I mean that hotter-than-an-oil-fire MIND on Quentin Tarantino made "Jackie Brown" for the motion picture screen. That was driven by and all about the title character, like "Grey's Anatomy" or "The Good Wife" is.

    "Scandal" is not titled "Olivia Pope." It's probably named "Scandal" for the perpetually jacked up stuff in it. Other characters get way more sex than Pope and with lethal ramifications. Pope seems to stop only at whacking folks to clean up the filthy rich and powerful's messes, unlike other pit-bulls in it. Beyond that, there is the threat of what Republicans do to MARRIED politicians (including their own, real and fictional) BUSTED for having sex with the help.

    So, what is "black" these days? Some of my ancestors traversed Africa long enough to concentrate melanin and for their skin pores to FLATTEN and prohibit the escape of life sustaining moisture--the better to protect their internal organs with. Ergo my skin looks caramel and my native hair is of the supercoiled, gift ribbon variety that forcefully extrudes out of those pore "slits"—like after a straight piece of ribbon is yanked between a thumb and the sharp end of a scissor blade.

    I can't say I know enough about my centuries of American ancestors to specify myself as half-breed, quadroon, octoroon... Yet, given who I am, I just wonder if there will ever be a time that we are far enough past ante-bellum, trans-atlantic African slavery ECONOMIC fallout on the American psyche for ALL COUCH POTATOES to actually comprehend content of fictional character. In that America, maybe TV dramaS with a beautiful, black, female lead would annually appear on network TV. That public probably won't regard the sophisticated, multi-cultural "Scandal"—with its extraordinarily beautiful, intelligent, black, and female private business OWNER role—as the same thing.

  • bubby | June 14, 2012 2:20 AMReply

    I stopped watching the show after the 3rd week. I just didn't like how they made her seem weak and sort of like an high class call girl to the President. Shame on S. Rhimes. All this power to bring compelling women of color to the screen but being guided most likely by the hollywood suits. I threw up in my mouth during the scenes with the President. Mr. Rhimes, get your shit together. And stop thinking like a white man. People need to show people of color with some dignity

  • smile | June 12, 2012 7:42 PMReply

    The last episode did an excellent job of setting up the audience to really want to watch the next season. This was the overall goal of that episode. I believe the show has excellent ratings; which is why it was picked up again. Also, the romance between the president and Olivia is not meant to be about race. I believe that Miss Rhimes is trying to reach a global audience and that the romance has a lot to do with the success of the show and its ability to pull in more viewers. If you want to bring up race; there are undoubtedly many professional black women who have potential romances with white powerful men; partially because of the lack of black men in that position. The show is excellent and the lead is clearly Kerry Washington during every episode. Shonda Rhimes is moving mountains for many actresses with the creation of this role and she has done an excellent job.

  • Orville | July 12, 2012 5:45 PM

    @Smile just because race wasn't mentioned in Scandal doesn't mean it isn' t there. Also, people seem to be ignoring the fact Olivia is having an affair with a married man that isn't romantic that's actually tragic and pathetic. Olivia needs a new love interest and she needs to assert her independence from the president. The president is just using Olivia for sex and attention but what does she get out of it? At the end of the day Olivia goes home to her apartment ALONE and single. Hardly an equal relationship.

  • Kid chaos | May 29, 2012 2:55 AMReply

    Sad many black women want that white man to take them away.You must think to yourself what kind of white man wants a black woman?

  • Muse | May 29, 2012 3:27 PM

    Indeed, Moionfire. I'd like to see a thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system where a post with too many thumb downs gets deleted for trolling/spamming.

  • Moionfire | May 29, 2012 3:07 PM

    I wish we could flag comments on this website.

  • Sandra2 | May 27, 2012 2:44 PMReply

    One thing I forgot to mention in my post below about the Olivia/Mellie scene is that sometimes as an actor, you have to stand back and let your partner step to the forefront. It's not about you trying to compete for attention but rather letting the other actor who has some dynamite lines shine in a way that he or she may not always have the chance to do. Kerry Washington is without a doubt the star of Scandal and in less skilled hands the scene with Olivia and Mellie would not have worked as well. She recognized that for that scene, Olivia had to stepback and let Bellamy do her thing as Mellie. Shonda and her writers wrote a killer scene with some killer lines for Bellamy. They wrote the scene in a way that both Olivia and Mellie showed their strength but underneath it all it was still about Olivia doing her thing. And luckily for the audience we had two very talented actresses who did justice to the scene.

  • Sandra2 | May 27, 2012 1:10 PMReply

    There are a lot of issues I see with your thesis that makes me wonder if we watched the same show. I'm not a scriptwriter but it was pretty easy to follow the steps in the story as lay out by Shonda and I don't understand how you missed them. Others have addressed many of the issues I have with your argument already so I won't go into them again except for two points.

    1. FLOTUS did not schooled Olivia. I am really amazed that some have missed the essence of that scene. Yes, Mellie had the showcase lines in the scene but like with her lie about the miscarriage, those lines were more about showing the audience the lengths that she would go to become and retain her position as First lady. Olivia was the one in charged of the outcome of that scene and the solution that they came up with. Don’t forget that Fitz was ready to give the presidency up for Olivia! Ignoring that rather BIG detail is pretty glaring but lets leave that alone for a moment and consider the other major aspect of episode 7 as pertaining to Mellie, Fitz and Olivia.

    Mellie's solution was for Fitz to lie and say it was not him on the tape. When he said that he wouldn't do so, Mellie told him that he was on his own and started packing to go back to California. Basically, she gave up and was ready to cut and run from a sinking ship. What happens then! Well in walks Olivia to offer Mellie a deal. The writers even had Olivia show up as Mellie was packing to emphasize the fact that since Fitz had decided not to lie as Mellie suggested, she had no more cards to play and that is why she was heading back to CA. However, because Fitz was willing to give everything up for Olivia, the control was with her and not with Mellie. It's on her choice that his presidency either survived or fell.

    So what is Olivia’s choice! Well she decides that for the sake of the country and also because of her love for Fitz and her belief that he will be a great president to give him up. Olivia then goes to Mellie to make a deal to save Fitz's presidency. Don't for one minute think that it was Mellie's idea to say that she was the woman on the tape. That idea was totally Olivia! Don't forget that we were already shown that Mellie's idea was for Fitz to lie. Olivia went to Mellie to make a deal and she knew going in that she would have a deal because a woman who would lie about a miscarriage to get to the white house would have no problem lying about being the one on the tape in order to keep that same position she plotted to achieve.

    Yes, Mellie had the showcase lines but it was Olivia in control of the result. Even Mellie saying that it was time for her to take her husband back had no real merit because there is no way that she could have taken Fitz back if Olivia had decided to hold on to him. The only part of the solution that was probably Mellie’s idea was the baby angle, which I think she threw in as a way to stick it to Fitz and Olivia. However, Olivia again who solved the crisis and the writers even had Mellie point that fact out as she was leaving the room when she said “As I always say, whenever you are in trouble, put Olivia Pope on it” or words to that effect.

    Tanya, I think that you like some others looked at the showcase lines from Mellie and totally missed the true dynamic of that scene and that is why I don’t agree with your thesis.

    2. The other issue that I have with your thesis is that you even mentioned Sally Hemmings as part of justification for your argument. I am so tired with people comparing Olivia and Fitz’s relationship with that of Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson. Other than Fitz being a white president and Olivia being the black woman .he had an affair with, the comparison is tenuous at best. First, Hemmings was a slave and had no control over her life or destiny. Secondly, she was a young teenager when her affair with Jefferson started so I doubt that it could have been called a love match…in fact, it could arguably be called a lot worse. Olivia and Fitz’s relationship on the other hand started with they were both adults and in full control of t heir lives. They have also been written as obviously in love with each other and Olivia is arguably the most powerful woman in DC because of her job, connections, and the president’s feelings for her. It makes no sense for people to try to reduce Olivia to a Hemmings type character and I’m so tired of it.

  • JrGladiator | May 27, 2012 1:56 AMReply

    Thanks to STATIC_CLING for a fair appraisal of the situation. I am wondering if Tanya Steele may need some therapy or simply more education and life experiences... When is the last time that you were in love? Have you ever loved anyone that, for one reason or another, is essentially unattainable due to circumstance? Like BOOKWORM stated, you are looking for reasons not to like the show. It's sad. And a little pathetic. The show is flawless. Find some other show's nonexistent flaws to harp on...

  • Muse | May 29, 2012 1:14 AM

    I wouldn't go so far as to say that the show is flawless, but these 230+ comments definitely attest to the fact that, love it or hate it, the show is compelling. Ms. Steele ought to cut Ms. Rhimes and Ms. Washington a check, given the amount of traffic that "Scandal" has sent her way. I love the show and I look forward to the next season.

  • Linda T | May 27, 2012 8:16 AM

    "The show is flawless". Flawless!? You're excused.

  • STL | May 25, 2012 5:58 PMReply

    Tanita, stop hating. Scandal is the Cosby Show. This is politics baby and the dynamics are such that it is, in reality, all of the things you are critical of. That's life chick. It's not perfectly scripted.

  • STL | May 25, 2012 5:59 PM

    I meant Scandal IS NOT the Cosby Show.

  • Tanita | May 25, 2012 4:38 PMReply

    I can appreciate this post to a degree. For one - I enjoy watching this actor perform (without the close up of almost coming to tears). However, as I watched the show it took me back to why I could not swallow her character in "The Last King of Scotland." For me, I am young and married to a black man and we have 3 daughters and we struggle to find prime time representation. And so...Scandal seemed cool to tune in to. Anyway, without getting too PC, I really like Oliva Pope. She is the best thing to happen to the administration and she is in charge of her destiny. I get the "we are in love" plot. I just wish Shonda Rhimes would write that factoid BOTH ways.

    If it persists, then what we should see unfold is; the President will resign, divorce his nagging un-attractive wife, get a condo in Mid-town Manhattan with his new mulatto family and blend into the fabric of the "regular life" he wants, with the love of his life! He could bank from writing a book about the whole thing and be set. She could go onto write a book AND still be hired to manage anyone's campaign in the future.

    If we do not see this happening then, yes it becomes unbelievably romantic and sends the wrong message that black women are super vulnerable when it comes to white men and we out of touch with reality. This is the same unrealistic romanticism I see in Private Practice. There is some gritty-ness to the language that I connect with and like to engage in. But then there is the overcast of "this makes no sense" when it comes to relationships and the people involved. The finale shows Olivia hand in her pass to the security guard(who earlier inadvertently tells her to do what she can to fix the blunder of possibly loosing the only President who "asked him about his family"). He looked perplexed at the laminate...is she resigning? To go away and have her love-child alone (soap opera requirement)? Is she taking the route that is now the norm for black women today - Is she to collect child-support/quiet money for the rest of her and her child's life? Either way - not looking good for us colored girls. Again.

  • Melissa | May 25, 2012 3:50 PMReply

    "The trouble with Tanya Steele's highly subjective and inconsequential opinion piece"... As an African without any known slavery connections, I am wondering why Tanya why? Sally Hemmings? Really? I can see why that comparison would offend people. So every black women who displays the feminine wiles and flaws in the presence of a Caucasian man she is attracted to... is a Sally Hemmings? That woman had no choice in her liaison with Jefferson. And why do you have to take things back to slavery?

  • Melissa | May 25, 2012 3:53 PM

    *woman. Also, there are more powerful men in America than the POTUS. CEOs of the multinationals that fund these presidents, who then bend to their will. Hello!

  • Static_Cling | May 25, 2012 3:36 PMReply

    I respectfully disagree with many of the author's comments. KW's character, Olivia Pope, is in love with a man who happens to be the POTUS. Love will make you act out of character. A strong, dominant woman calling the shots will let down her guard with the man she's in love with and occasionally act uncharacteristically. It's just being in love. I highly disagree with the comment that Olivia's relationship with the POTUS is not interesting or believable. What show is the author watching again The "Scandal" that I'm watching has my screen on fire with the chemistry that exists between KW and TG who plays the POTUS. Their attraction to and genuine like for each other are what makes their characters work and have viewers rooting for them despite the fact that it's an adulturous affair. Olivia's character cannot be the dragon lady all through the show. How boring and monotonous is that? She should be allowed to have her vulnerabilities, one of which is loving the POTUS. No one wants to watch her be hard and 100 all the time. SR wouldn't dare end the relationship between Olivia and the POTUS because that dynamic is why most people have tuned in and love it. She will likely get another love interest next season who's single, and that will add some interesting tension. I agree that perhaps a character could be introduced, like a family member, to give a glimpse of Olivia's personal world and to show a different side of her vulnerability. It's totally okay for that character to have those vulnerable moments because she's already shown and proven her mettle as a fixer. Plus, I don't see Olivia as a Sally Hemings. She's not subordinate to the POTUS like that. Olivia turned around his failing campaign and got him elected. How is that the embodiment of an enslaved mistress? She's in love with a man who's unavailable, and if anything, the POTUS has been more demonstrative and vocal of that love than she has. Ethnicity is not a factor in their relationship, which is awesome. They have enough to deal with. Please, let's not be overly critical and give "Scandal" room to grow.

  • Kia | May 24, 2012 9:58 PMReply

    Thank you Tanya for posting this. If there is a petition going around to Keep Olivia Pope Fierce, I will be the first one to sign. Agreed... please for heaven's sake drop the President love subplot.

  • Liz | October 28, 2012 2:11 AM

    It's not the subplot. It' the heart of the show. (repeated comment because I needed to show I can spell)

  • Liz | October 28, 2012 2:10 AM

    It's not the subplot, it's the hart of the show.

  • Wanda Leverette | May 24, 2012 9:15 PMReply

    I m catching up on the last episodes I missed and the OP of two years before is much different from the one that crumbles whenever the President is around. The woman she is as a leader shouldn't turn 160 degrees whenever the old boyfriend comes into the room! It's out of character. I hope the next 13 episodes gives Olivia a backbone with the POTUS!

  • Ronald T. Jones | May 24, 2012 9:08 PMReply

    My name is Olivia Pope. :)

  • tt | May 24, 2012 6:11 PMReply

    I like Shonda Rhimes up tempo diologue/monologues. Through those moments you learn from the characters and begin to identify with them. That is why they were written in the first place. But sometimes, if you are not fast paced, or it takes you a while to 'get it' - I do understand the frustration.
    Teams are just that- teams. Everyone places a role and you get to know each one, and value each person w/in the team. Although KW plays a large role -but she isn't the cast. A real leader - is one who will allow others on the team to step up. A real woman- is someone who is vulnerable, loving, and sensual. And just because the woman may be on her own doesn't mean she cannot be those things. Who wants to be around someone who is hard (domineering) all the time? Who wants to work with someone like that? That definitely doesn't produce loyal workers. Just saying.

  • Bookworm | May 24, 2012 12:58 PMReply

    I think you are looking for reasons to dislike the show.
    The fast pace of the show is what it is. We walk into any law office (I've interned at one) and nothing is slow. People are talking fast and throwing papers by the dozen in your face. Olivia and her team talk fast but they are efficient. You get the words because they speak clearly and maybe once or twice it was really mumbled. I think the cast is great at it!!
    I thought the scene with Amanda was great but it also showed Olivia's heartless side when it comes to Fitz. Like Cyrus, they seek to protect him and Olivia was unreasonable since Amanda did indeed sleep with him; though she was sent in.
    I don't think going to NYU's graduate film program makes you any one fit to judge a TV show than others. It just means you are petty when it comes to things; makes for bad reviews-they are less fan like and more critical "tight collar" like.
    They are both the lead but Olivia is the main character; she is fierce and in control of her professional life but she is flawed in her personal. The weekly cases and her helping the President at the end shows that she is dominate woman with control and power in her job but she has a heart that is conscious and in love.
    Also, I think you were petty with the "undermining Olivia's decision"; Olivia wanted to call the cops and Huck, being the ex CIA he is, knew he needed the phone; he mentions it and says that we have to get it, I don't see how he undermined Olivia in that sense. They are very much a team where everyone has their strong points and contributes. Olivia is the head who makes the biggest decisions and pulls them all together but this is far from a dictatorship of Olivia Pope.
    I do not think the First Lady was demeaning; she is the first lady and at the end of the day Fitz wife. Olivia and Mellie are very much on even playing field but Mellie is far more bloody thirty for power and Olivia did come to here wanting to make a deal; she got the deal of her life by playing with the She-Devil. Mellie is the perfect villain and it was a matter of time before her and Olivia showed down.
    Anyone who is fan can see that Olivia, at the end of the day, is very much in control of the situation. I do believe she "fell back" for the sake of Fitz career but if and when she wants, Fitz will drop everything to be with her. Only Olivia can really help make a plan and Fitz will follow through. We saw that when Mellie told him to lie in the beginning of the episode and he basically told her no, he's not her. But an "Olivia made plan" clearly has a different affect.
    As for the main character; Its still very much Olivia and ABC keeps all the promotions with Kerry. Ratings have been pretty good for the May Sweeps and Scandal topped all of their season ratings with the finale; it also earned them a Fall Spot.
    Also the Sally and Olivia comparison is insulting.
    Clearly you want Olivia to be the "strong black woman" stereotype instead of the regular, soft woman who is in love with a man and has her weakness. I don't need her whole background as I don't feel it matters when it comes to who she is, the fixer. She doesn't have to be "Miss Independent" and "not need a man". That would make her Mellie. I love that Olivia is a confident, smart and classy woman who is clearly feared out of respect by her peers. She is also soft and clearly feminine ; Kerry has a vulnerability feel to her that makes Olivia seem very docile but yet powerful.

  • BeautyIAM | May 24, 2012 3:48 PM

    No need to apologize. I agree with everything you said. I also hated that the author wants Olivia to be this "Miss Independent-I can do it all on my own with no help" black woman. I love that Olivia is the go to person that people trust, but she also needs help herself. Its sad that the author nor the people that agree with her can't see that. I also found it telling that the author did not want Olivia and the president to be together and to be with a man of lesser power. It just reeks of black women being told to date/marry men who are not on their level. I just watched the episode when Olivia was at the formal dance and dancing with the Fitz. She looked so beautiful, feminine, and very vulnerable. Its great to see a woman of color being seen in this light. Yet, it was great to see the power she held when it came to Fitz. Seriously, the author is just oblivious to what makes the show great and likable.

  • Bookworm | May 24, 2012 1:00 PM

    Sorry for the long post! I am just a little irked with black journalist and there over cynical attitude towards Scandal. Everything from the Presidents race to the talking pace is a gripe and I don't understand why we can't just enjoy a great show and stop looking for invisible undertones.

  • Logic | May 24, 2012 10:47 AMReply

    Having read this again, I can't say I understand what got people so up in arms. At this point I just have to doubt that just a lot of people critiquing - a polite word for it, as some of you are plainly leveling low blows and cheap shots - Ms. Steele skimmed the article and jumped into the fray. Some plainly misunderstood: "I just don'™t agree with or understand your criticism. Why do you think women must €always lead"?... As a highly ascended corporate female professional myself, I can tell you from experience, €œWe don't always lead." Assuming that was in response to this portion of the article, "It is very difficult for women to keep a strong, female character at the center of the story. This seems to be the case here. By the second to last episode, I did not know if 'the president' or Olivia Pope was the lead. It's a very subtle dynamic. 'The president' took the lead in their interactions. He asked for 'the minute'. He showed up at her house. He was making the choices. The lead has to make the choices, otherwise, they become a 'passive' character. " My answer to that poster is that this is screenwriting 101. One of the first things you're taught (I also studied at NYU, though I won't attest to having emerged with anything more than a degree and debt) is that the protagonist of the story must drive the action, whether they're male or female. Simple. Nothing personal. Now just because Ms. Steele is offering a critique of a show featuring a black woman lead/created by a black woman doesn't mean she's invalidating the lives and/or choices of black women who can relate to her. We're not on trial. And can we get to the point where a black person can offer an honest opinion on another black person's work without being labeled a hater or getting hit below the belt? It's starting to get ridiculous.

  • Liz | October 28, 2012 2:31 AM

    Him showing up at her house is not a case of him making the choices. It's about honoring the way men and women interact. Female viewers will not respond well to a woman making all the romantic advances in a relationship. That's not romantic and a woman who does that is considered to be throwing herself at a man. When woman make aggressive overtures in film, no one swoons. It's men (because of their greater ability to have sex without connecting) who must prove their love with grand gestures, especially in a relationship where there's such a huge power imbalance. If your female character is having an affair with the president, the president must display extreme vulnerability to balance the equation. By virtue of him being so desperate to have her, she IS the one in control.

    SR also has no choice but to write the relationship this way. An extramarital relationship among lead characters has to be written very sensitively so as not to make your leads seem like cads. If Olivia were talking tough to Mellie, she would appear like a brazen mistress who feels no remorse for sleeping with a married man. And who wants to watch that kind of character? If we don't get to see the president taking huge risks to be with OP (showing up at her door, etc, then the audience has no assurance that this is a grand love affair for him).

    You say a black person should be able to criticize black stuff without the usual criticism, but how about the other way around? How about we not over-politicise everything and put pressure on a character that other white characters don't face. Why can't we just appreciate growth without expecting it to be perfect. If this is what we're going to do to Olivia Pope as a character for the next 8 seasons, don't expect more Networks to take the risk. I'm sure they're all watching to see the reaction. Don't become your own worst enemy. The fact that the author of this blog want to get rid of the relationship that's at the heart of the show means it's not being held to the same standards as other shows and not being watched with emotional freedom. It's being politicized and that drives me crazy.

  • Static_Cling | May 25, 2012 3:52 PM

    The POTUS took the lead because Olivia kept rebuffing him and he didn't feel he had a choice, if he wanted to talk to her. That was him acting out of desperation, to make her understand that he didn't kill Amanda and that she really needed to listen to that sex tape. Olivia is a very strong character because, though she's head over heels in love, she ultimately did not give in to the POTUS and walked away. As in "left her WH pass" walked away in the finale. It's a strong woman who can do that. KW is very much the lead character with TG as the more seasoned actor who helps anchor the show. The POTUS shows us his vulnerabilities with Olivia and he's still seen as strong and powerful. It seems like a double standard that the same can't be said of Olivia. She had the strength to walk away from another woman's husband when he was willing to give up the presidency for her.

  • bondgirl | May 24, 2012 11:28 AM

    @Logic: It isn't a well-thought out critique, so that is where the friction is coming from. @Darkan gave a brilliant perspective on the dynamic that few voiced...the President is weak for Olivia. He's not making choices, he's pursuing her in a manner that is consistent with his power. He showed up at her house uninvited, he grabs her into his body, he told her to meet him at the dinner...these are all indicators of his way of stating, "I love you". He keeps the President of France waiting bc he knows Olivia asks. He asks for the minute always because he is feverently attempting to woo her back, and he realizes that Olivia will never ask. I suppose it's frustrating to folks that this author couldn't see the obvious in his body language and words. He tells her he loves her while his wife is within earshot, and she coldly dismisses it, but does he care? Heck, no! He keeps saying it, each time with more passion, in an effort to either get her to say it back or believe him. If anything can be said, it's that Olivia is equally smitten but is fighting it. I reject the idea that she's weak, because vulnerable is not synonymous with weakness. She is vulnerable, because she knows how her life will be destroyed if anyone finds out the secret and she is in love with a married man. She is not weak, and I do not feel Shonda would create a weak lead character. Btw, does offering an honest opinion of someone's work, absolve said person to scrutiny? Just curious.

  • Akimbo | May 24, 2012 11:11 AM

    I think the issue is that the writer is merely uninformed. She stated that she's neither a soap fan, nor a fan of Shonda's. If she was, she would know that, on a Shonda show, stuff happens and the main character reacts. That's just how she operates. Every season finale of Grey's I've scene revolves around some big, unexpected disaster that forces the characters to reveal themselves and not around the actions of Meredith Grey. Tanya also totally misread the Huck/cell phone situation, alarming for someone who so proudly waves their degree at the top of the article. It's also apparent that she wants Olivia to be superwoman with no flaws, which doesn't make for a compelling lead character. And then she took it to the Presidential romance, to the cheers of the anti-miscegenist crowd and to the offense of the Fitz/Olivia lovers. There are legitimate flaws with the show - often telling not showing, trying too hard at times, occasionally obnoxious dialogue/characters, the repetition - but Steele's critique was uninformed and more about what she personally wanted to see from the black characters and less a judgement of the show as a whole. So there you have it.

  • sandra | May 24, 2012 10:07 AMReply

    @The Great CareyCarey says: " The opposing voice would have you believe that every black women is down with the sistah going down on the white man's "crown"... Down at the peepshow [Scandal], watching all the creeps..." *************** Do you even watch this show? Why are you being so crass toward black women who like this show? You need prayer! LMAO

  • CareyCarey | May 24, 2012 4:14 PM

    HI SANDRA, so admit it... you liked that line didn't you? I mean, albeit, it was sort of crude, but I thought it was pretty clever. I worked on that line for about an hour. I wanted to connection Olivia to the president, but I wanted to put a little bang on it. You know, I was trying to follow the vibe of you guys salivating over the "alleged" sexy-ness-mess of their relationship. So out popped the "Crown" reference. And yes, I do need a little prayer :-)

  • Akimbo | May 24, 2012 2:11 PM

    That made no sense. And I've not once seen you judge any male actor (Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle, Terrance Howard just off the top of my head) for his interracial relationships as you have done the female ones. I have, however, seen you blatantly disrespect Halle Berry, Zoe Saldana, Kerry Washington, and Shonda Rhimes. I'm not putting words in your mouth, I'm drawing conclusions from your words. I mean, you've already checked off "homophobic" and "racist;" what's one more box?

  • CareyCarey | May 24, 2012 1:57 PM

    Akimbo, your misogny claim is as "misguided" as someone saying you were living through the life of Olivia Pope, wishing for the day you can bed your own fantasy man. So stop it. I mean, if you were talking to me, I am asking you to stop putting words in my mouth. When you see me championing the affair of a black man with a white woman, then you'll be justified to make your ambiguous claim.

  • Akimbo | May 24, 2012 10:54 AM

    Misogyny poorly disguised as "concern." all these guys mad about the white President don't have anything to say about all the white women Chedle hooks up with on House of Lies or even all the real-life prominent black men involved with non-black women. But LAWD, let us get on Scandal, Kerry, or Zoe Saldana and these dudes just can't SHUT UP about crass comments like "white man's whore," "going down on the white man's crown," etc. They feel black men are free to do whatever, but black women are obligated to stick with the brothers. For those of you who think and speak like CareyCarey, let me be very clear: YOU ARE A MISOGYNST AND A HYPOCRITE. If you don't speak so vehemently about black men's dating behavior, then don't for black women either. Shonda Rhimes' body-type is IRRELEVANT to the conversation. Who Kerry Washington, Zoe Saldana, or Halle Berry date has NOTHING to do with their abilities as leading ladies and how dare you call them "not black enough," then fall all over yourselves to praise dull, no-talent light-brights like Gugu Mbatha Ra and Paula Patton who have added nothing of value to black cinema or television. I'm going to do the unthinkable and close with the words of a white man: "Really? REALLY? Really?" -Seth Meyers (Amy Poehler, too, once upon a time)

  • sandra | May 24, 2012 9:56 AMReply

    @Bondgirl - Yup, I remember reading that Shonda based "Scandal" on a British series format.

  • CareyCarey | May 24, 2012 9:39 AMReply

    "Wow... where are all of the sensible posts from yesterday (such as TRUDY'S) and why have we been left with equal parts drivel and equal parts sensibility~ Nadine". That is a perfect segway to the belly of the beast. ***READ THE FOLLOWING 178 COMMENTS AT YOUR OWN RISK*** Some women would have you believe the author of this article in the boogieman. Yet, she's actually a very sensible black woman who others have found fault with. Her balanced critic of the new tv series Scandal has sent many black women over the edge. The opposing voice would have you believe that every black women is down with the sistah going down on the white man's "crown". Which most sensible black folks know is simply not true. They will also wax poetic in an effort to pursuade others that adultery and colorblindness is great entertainment, and thus, anyone who disagrees with their vision of fun and happiness is obviously standing on the wrong side of the fence. Yes, those who differed with the author will sling mud, take cheap shots and vilify her in a disgraceful attempt to discredit her name. Along the way, it's their hope that you'll be afraid join hands with the author for fear of "guilt by assosciation". SO BE FORWARNED! ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. Until then: Food For Thought. It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under. Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge, I'm trying not to lose my head, ah huh-huh-huh. It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under. Down at the peepshow [Scandal], watching all the creeps so she can tell the stories to the girls back home ["me and my professional girlfriends all LOVE this show!!"] . My brother's so sad bout my mother's TV, says she watches too much, it's just not healthy "All My Children" in the daytime, "Scandal" at night, can't even see the game or the Mayweather fight. A child is born with no state of mind, blind to the ways of mankind [All those people can't be blind and misguided. There's something about the Scandal that is connecting with many women. And, the criticism in this article is tired] God is smiling on you but he's frowning too because only God knows what you'll go through. You'll grow in the ghetto, living second rate. And others will sing... placate, and emulate, the white man, it's great. The places you play and where you stay, looks like one great big alley way. You'll admire all the number book takers, thugs, pimps, pushers [Movie's stars] and the big money makers [ Rhimes is a genius] driving big cars, spending twenties and tens. And you wanna grow up to be just like them, huh. Sleeping with a married man-her, scramblers, be damn-her, peddlers even panhandlers. You say: “I'm cool, I'm no fool! and everyone should join me in this school - of - thought” But then you wind up dropping out, divorced, lonely and tired, no clout. GRANDMASTER FLASH - THE MESSAGE

  • Nadine | May 25, 2012 12:21 PM

    ...yes CAREY... I'm a valley girl ... from the Bronx. I've moved on.

  • you'restupid | May 25, 2012 11:06 AM

    andawful

  • CareyCarey | May 25, 2012 10:45 AM

    Nawl Nadine, I can't let you get away with that! I finally had time to read your May 24, 2012 2:49 PM comment and listen, let me remind you that this -- this board -- this place of many faces -- is not a doctorate program on Aristotle, Socrates and Eratosthenes, so please spare me the "ANTI-INTELLECTUAL" line. And please, stop taking everything so damn personal. I mean, I used an old Grand Master Flash rap song to embellish my overall sentiments and for some wierd reason YOU took offense to a couple of phrases? Come on Nadine, lighten your load, this is not about you. And please baby baby please, your inferred victims role is not working (with me it's not). Don't for one minute believe that I don't see your form of ""Signifying". I could probably define many of them as "snide" or "on the low-low" or "underhanded" or "backhanded" etc, but I let them slide because I KNOW what time it is. In short, miss me with the "white girl cry". You drop your magic and I'll do the same. You do not represent every black woman in this world so don't read your face in ever comment. That reminds me (since you laid "blame" at my feet ) your voice; most of your comments have the feeling that you're only listening with the sole intent to "snap back". I am suggesting that you seldom if ever concede another's point, which gives the impression that you're not really listening with the intent of coming to a mutual understanding or solution. You get in your crouched defensive stance and nothing gets in, but you spill out (please think about that.). Case in point, the other day you went out of the way to say "YOU LOSE". What the hell? What the hell did I lose? And what's to win down here in the bowels of a place with no faces? Anyway Nadine, excuse my harsh tone but your last comment pushed a brotha up against a wall. In short, don't read me the riot act on the low-low in an attempt to paint me as the offender and you as the innocent-intellectual-misunderstood-black vally girl, it's not gonna work.

  • Nadine | May 24, 2012 4:24 PM

    Perfection. That is exactly what I wanted. Now we can move forward.

  • CareyCarey | May 24, 2012 3:50 PM

    Excuse me Nadine while I talk to the reeler dealer. But wait, to be brutally honest, although we're real cool, I didn't read your last comment. I mean, I smelled youe vibecoming through the door, so like Akimbo, I knew you were not going to throw me a sniff of a bone. NOt once has any of the anti-Tanya crowd admitted to any wrongdoings. You guys didn't do anything wrong, let you tell it. So yeah, I didn't have to read your post. @ Reeler than Reel Deal Hollyfield, maan, have you been peeking in my windows? I mean, you asked whether or not I was auditioning for a writers job. Well my friend, I just received another contract from a newspaper to be a guest columnist. It's a one year deal and the pay is nothing to shout about, but it's one of my passions. And yes, I do use this board to practice some of my lines. But check this out, I do write from my heart. In doing so I try to stay away from "writer's talk" that would give any indication that I am trying to dress to impress. You know, as an old dope dealer told me "the dope will sell itself, I ain't gotta go around telling people how good it is". :-). Yep, that's actually what he said, and I live by that creed. You know, it's kind of like, "don't be no fake-ass pretender, because if it does not come out in the wash, it will come out in the spin cycle. In other words, write that you know something about and stand on it. Btw, I loved YOUR voice -- you're working with something young man. You-writer? Anyway, you're killing me, I was in Indiana and I've been around a horde of white folks. Yep, most of my classes were with a room full of white faces. As a pre=teen I even went to "Saturday School" for the **coughadvancedcough** students. My dad said "boy, they say you have something special, so pick up your lip and take this quarter and buy you a donut". Damn, I wanted to be running around with the rest of the knuckleheads, not sitting in school on a Saturday morning. Btw, before I forget, check out what someone sent me from another "board". Listen to this exchange "I'm convinced that the S&A commenter "CareyCarey" is a plot to destroy black people. @SonofBaldwin, You mean like a virus, intentionally and purposefully injected by you know who? :). LOL, can you believe that? *Evil Grin*. I know SonofBaldwin from this site and I can't say who the other person is. But Damn, I've been called many thangs but, "an injected virus, shot out of a white cannon, to destroy black folks? WHOA! LMBAO. But you know what, I wonder if there's any pay for being the white spook who sat by the door? I better call my agent. Btw, I love that Dave Chappelle skit, but my favorite is the Rick James skit. He came by his house (all high and sh*t). I think Eddie Murphy's brother was in it? So Real Deal -- all of the above is a short answer to my spiel/method to my madness. I have to send off another column before the 28th, so maybe I could shoot something pass you for your consideration and feedback?

  • NADINE | May 24, 2012 2:49 PM

    THERE IS NOTHING MORE ANTI-INTELLECTUAL THAN TO WARN READERS TO "BEWARE" OF SUBMISSIONS ON A COMMENT BOARD. That and your indirect jabs in your "comment" would be another trait you could have listed from our last conversation, CAREYCAREY... "Signifying". You are a RABID fan of Tyler Perry and Lee Daniel's work, yet you find folly with Rhimes' storyline about an affair (which I have noted I wasn't buying and never excused) but have no issue with Black movies you have lauded in the past that have featured such stellar moments as a "PRECIOUS" Black daughter being forced to perform oral sex on her Black mother (at the mother's request), or a have made excuses for a man who writes a storyline that includes a Black woman who maliciously watches her husband's anxiety reach a boiling point as he struggles with an STD she knowingly gave him (WDIGM),
    a comedy no less? I am open to Black women's (people's) becoming "humanized" on television, not pathologized. I repeat...I am open to Black women's (people's) becoming "humanized" on television, not pathologized. I'm not going to get into a back and forth with you, as I've stated repeatedly in the past week. I'd rather get into a dialog with people who
    have taken the time to familiarize themselves with the content of which they speak and not have pointless back and forths with those who speak from false pedestals of Blackness whilst labeling those who disagree with their viewpoints as "uncle-toms", as you did below. As I said in a previous post, your insistence on labeling a Black woman, let alone Black person,
    as "white" (see last SCANDAL S&A post) in an attempt to diminish their "being" or downness", was and is foolish (please do not pretend that you were not aware of what by-products could result in the eyes of others who subscribe to that mentality, such as labeling and summarily dismissing programs and ideas, i.e., if the people don't sound or look like you, they don't matter...and can't really be a reflection of some, say, larger or different reality.). It offends in its foolishness. I also desperately attempted to convey my concerns, then disappointments, with you as the points you made could have also been applied to many Black women, including me, who grew up under similar circumstances as the actress and character in question but you continued to dismiss an entire group's experience, which reeked of a disabling provincialism through its claims of a clear understanding of (yet never articulated) "universal Black behavior". Instead of simply stating that you had a strong visceral reaction to the Olivia and Fitz storyline because of his whiteness (which I can empathize with given the never-ending match-ups exclusively featuring BM/non BW that had been plaguing tv/film for the last 12 years) or whatever your real issue is, you deflected and spoke in circles, honestly wasting most of our time..."Being Real" is another trait, you could have listed CAREYCAREY, as it would have served us all best if you had simply been honest about your concerns. No, TANYA is not the bogey-woman, but Tanya has written a pretty inflammatory and irresponsible piece, with incorrect information. If you're going to be inflammatory (and no, I'm not going to waste my time explaining to you why the piece was inflammatory and how it could have easily been rectified with a title change)... then you'd better come dropping facts like "POW!". Don't show the audience that you are not familiar with the content - make the audience question or reexamine their own thoughts based on a foundationally (fundamentally) solid piece. I am sorry if you believe you have
    made an enemy of me (you can call me out my name, you know.. I don't bite). I simply have no patience for insidious and reckless argumentation on issues of "race". There is nothing more offensive to me than strident xenophobia and classism being whirled about under the guise of "Blackness", a horrible ingredient that has been used over the centuries by Blacks,
    Whites and those along the non-White "race" spectrum to keep Black people from prospering spiritually and societally. ...and dude... no one is sweating "money" or cars...I'm not a dude. I am always disheartened when I see Black people on this site subscribing to the whole "Hollywood sees no other color than Green"...(BS). What is also BS is Colorblindness; please stop pretending you know who subscribes to it and who doesn't. What I'm saying is you continue to slander and misrepresent me, as well as others, which is beneath you. Based on your points below, we SHOULD be, in general, on the same side (I just don't show my cards), but instead of your being open to a different point of view on a show (WHICH DID NOT INCLUDE YOU IN ITS VIEWING DEMOGRAPHIC) that you could not peronsally understand, you chose to put me in a 1-dimensional box. As I've said before... let us please navigate these boards, with relationship to one another, in silence for I do not want to dislike you, but you continue to disappoint me. Tanya is a big girl and clearly knows the difference between mean-spirited attacks and honest and rigorous feedback. Don't use her article as your crutch. So I'd prefer if you'd cease quoting me and then proselytizing without "Being real" as I am Black and have no time for games.

  • Reeler than Reel Deal Hollyfield | May 24, 2012 2:41 PM

    Carey Carey...You should add a third Carey to your name like Toni Tony Tone. Every time I see your post I say to my self "Carey Carey Carey has done it again. And it feels good ...yeaaahhh"(to him)...I cannot help but wonder if you are auditioning for a writing position on this site. You always have something strange to offer the post. It's like when Ghost Face Killah raps ...its sounds good because you know its coming from his heart however it does not make any sense most of the time. The same gentleman who claimed to have "slap boxed with Jesus and lic shots with Joseph". We want to believe it does because he dares to do what no one else would do. Is this the affect your going for. What is you plight? Are you a rebel with out a cause? How do you sleep at night? How do we know that your not part of a right wing agenda to infultrate the black community through grass roots efforts such as blogs and peaceful demonstrations. Most importantly can you be trusted not to say something crazy once again. I have this image in my mind of you as a white man who grew up in a middle class black community in Gary, Indiana in the early 70's. You were a change of life baby who have assimulated well based on you knowledge of black culture through soul train, rap music, and today's bossip.com. You came alive in the early nineties during the new jack swing era and can often be seen wearing the same outfits today popularized by groups such as Wrecks n Effects and Guy. People look at you in strange ways often at your expense as though you are the one who invented the question mark. But don't count me in that group of people. In the dave chappelle skit about the black white supremacist there was a gentleman at the klan rally who was soo caught up in dave's speech before he took his mask off and he shouted the words "Show us your faaace ...show us your faaace". I am that guy and we would like to see your face. That would add clarity to your past and present post. ----- And thats Reeler than Reel Deal Hollyfield

  • Akimbo | May 24, 2012 1:59 PM

    You failed. Whole lot of finger pointing and a whole lot more than five sentences. Also, you will defend those "unfairly persecuted" yet persecute those who support/partake in interracial or homosexual relationships. At least you're wearing your bigotry on your sleeve now.

  • CareyCarey | May 24, 2012 1:45 PM

    "I DARE YOU to articulate your issue in under five sentences and without name-calling/pointing fingers at someone else". Hello Akimbo, I accept your dare under one condition. You will have to come back and concede some of my points of concern (i.e, negative messages that adultery and casual sex should not be viewed in an ambvalent manner -- Shonda Rimes may be placating to white viewers by her omission of anything related to Olivia Pope's race -- Tanya Steele's piece was merely and overview of her concerns and/or likes and dislike of the series which included her "Some thoughts", that she believed could possibly improve the series) -- The personal attacks on Ms Steele were unnecessary and spiteful). And Akimbo, to show your heartfelt honesty, your reply cannot include the propostions/conjunctions/transitions "yeah but" "But" "however" "nevertheless" etc, which could tend to water down your concession. Okay? I'm on the clock: My issues/concerns in five sentences or less. 1) I will defend anyone who I believe is being unfairly persecuted/harassed ( i.e, Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, Oprah, new directors whose products might not pass the inspection of the elite film crowd, and any person -- woman or man -- black or white -- who I believe is being wrongfully dressed down). 2) I am not a proponent of interracial unions, regardless of "their" sex (i.e, wm/bw, bm/ww ) so therefore I will continue to question those who push the message "everybody is doing it, so it must be right". 3) I am not a proponent of gay unions. Four & Five: see above concerns. Done! How you like me now? The ball is now in your court, Akimbo. Do or dare baby!

  • Akimbo | May 24, 2012 1:12 PM

    @CareyCarey: Exactly as I thought. Most of the "vengeful attacks" have and still come from you. There were very few commenters who personally attacked Steele and it's very telling that you've said nothing about those who called Olivia a whore or demeaned her in other ways; most of the dissenters reasonably picked apart her critique. It's amazing that one of the most inflammatory characters on this site is trying to blame others (wayward sisters, to hear you tell it) for the lack of substance to his posts. If the interracial couple (and, by proxy, Olivia's lack of blackness) is not your main concern, you still haven't said what is. So many words just to tear others down. As usual.

  • CareyCarey | May 24, 2012 12:25 PM

    @ Bondgirl, I am laughing with b/c I know I can talk to you without feeling like we're enemies. Now -- although it may seem like the interracial couple theme is my major concern, it is not. I just wanted to fight fire with fire. I mean, as Logic (above said) "some of you are plainly leveling low blows and cheap shots". I became appalled at the vicious assualts some were leveling at Ms. Steele, so I felt complelled to jump in the fray with my slacks jacked up and my fist balled. I thought, what a better way to defend Tanya, than to give the wayward sisters a shot of their own medicine. So yeah, since I truely believe Tanya's piece was a fair and balanced assessment (as she viewed it), there was no way in hell she deserved the over 300 pages of vengeful attacks, from the seemingly scorned backseat screenwriters, racial colorblindness advocators and garden varity kneejerks. Bondgirl, in other words, the shit was getting too damn ugly. My god, some women wrote miles of script-on-script to explain this scene and that scene, but yet, took umbrage at Tanya's short Critique?! That's right, it got good to'em. They became a frency of flesh eating sharks with pens in hand. Pickin' and pokin' at Tanya's every word (with the exception of her compliments to Shonda, Kerry and the show). Yeah, go figure! She (Tanya) was not here to defend herself, nor could she give a more detailed account of her opinion, hence, "cheap shot mammy". So my friend from the East Coast, a brotha gotta do what he gotta do when a sistah is in need of his help. Lastly, I hope some of the more voiceful and opinionated women will turn the mirror around, and then seek first to understand. I ain't the problem and neither is Tanya Steele.

  • bondgirl | May 24, 2012 10:51 AM

    Carey, what are we to do with you?? LOL. Now you just posted last month about Kerry dating all these white guys, and you weren't happy about it. Now art is imitating life, and you are seeing red. It's okay, give the girl a break (for now), and see what takes place later next year. Just so you know, Shonda has hinted that Olivia won't have any love interest early S2, so she will be solo for a minute. Judging from Grey's Anatomy & Private Practice, the black lead usu. gets a black and white love interest at some point. Just do like I do when Denzel had his tongue down Eva Mendes's throat (twice!)...drop the cause, and enjoy it for the entertainment it's supposed to be.

  • Akimbo | May 24, 2012 10:19 AM

    "The opposing voice would have you believe that every black women is down with the sistah going down on the white man's 'crown'. " This is all you care about. Oh, and Olivia's lack of blackness. You will call anything reasonable if it even slightly furthers your transparent agenda and you waste so many words maligning your "opposition" and wheezing out colorful diatribes to shroud the fact that you, as a black man feel personally affronted that this beautiful, powerful, infuential, and intelligent black woman is in love with a white man. We get it: your feelings are hurt and both Olivia and Shonda Rhimes are merely black women who should bend to your or some other black man's will. If I'm wrong, I DARE YOU to articulate your issue in under five sentences and without name-calling/pointing fingers at someone else.

  • sandra | May 24, 2012 9:14 AMReply

    @NADINE - Oh snap! You're on fire. Nothing but the truth.

  • From Tokyo | May 24, 2012 3:33 AMReply

    "I don't simply support because it's black. It's got to be well done."

    This. Supporting well-done media, regardless of race or whatever else, would hopefully encourage the creation of more well-done media. I fervently wish we could do this en masse, so that whether it's a deep, thought-out drama or an action flick, it could still be well-done. Just because a tv show, song, movie, etc. serves a purpose, it still should serve that purpose well.

    That said, I have not seen the show yet (not broadcasted here), but because of this site and articles either way about it, I've become curious. If I can find it, I'd like to watch it and see for myself.

  • sandra | May 24, 2012 11:02 AM

    @Bondgirl - Yes, yes, and hell yes! Citing the bitter "acting sisters" and coming from a place of pure disdain for the genre and the showrunner are among the many things that infuriate me with this article. :-(

  • bondgirl | May 24, 2012 10:29 AM

    @Nadine, this has ALWAYS been my problem with critics. Whether it's the NY/LA Times or this blog, why choose to have the one person on your staff who knowingly has a bias against the person they are writing about? My heart sank when I saw her name attached to this before I even read a single word, because I knew I was entering a slaughterhouse. She did the exact same thing to Viola Davis, when Jasmin, Emmanuel or someone who writes with more objectivity in their "voice", should have written this article. The tone would've been different, and so would the delivery of the concerns. When you cite your "Actor sisters" (sic) (whose ass is salty because they weren't even considered, while Kerry was cherry-picked) as an authority on the validity of Kerry's casting, you're being irresponsible with the power S & A loaned you. She's got a critical eye? Yeah, well so do we.

  • Nadine | May 24, 2012 8:36 AM

    ^^^ this, @TANYA, is why you should really reflect on the gravity of your role as a writer for a site that serves such a specific purpose. You should assume that you are not only writing for your topic's current viewing audience (and its critics) but assume you are writing for those who have "yet to watch" (or have barely watched) by providing us all with a quality EDITORIAL that intersects your opinion (acceptable only because this is a blog) with factual information. We got your opinion, but we didn't get the factual information (not to mention some of the opinion was based on misinformation). When I Google "Shadow and Act", this "piece" is it's second or third search result... it is not fair to people who have not watched the show and are using their trust in you to provide them with solid information. Please keep these things in mind. @FROM TOKYO made a good point but he/she probably would NEVER have allowed these thoughts to slip from his/her fingertips had they actually watched the show which is clearly in another league. The one very good thing about your piece is your transparency. You state that you are not a fan of Rhimes work and have a more critical hyper-feminist lens (which I think you used more than your film school lens). You also admit to not being a fan of the "soap opera-esque" genre which makes you not the intended audience of the piece you are critiquing . Just because there is a Black woman on the show doesn't mean every Black person needs to watch. I can't even being to dissect your "Superwoman" as opposed to "Human" requirements of this lead character who, in comparison to Rhimes' other female lead characters, is right on par in terms of their perfection to flaw ratio (which is a major flaw with a lot of Black media/cinema). I'm not going to watch "The Walking Dead", because that, "spiritually", is not ever going to be my genre. The thought of my writing a piece critiquing an entire season of "The Walking Dead" is anathema to me and really should have been applied in this case because you, based on your prefaced admittance, are not SCANDAL'S intended audience yet even then, SCANDAL was able to reel you in somewhat. Is that not a small victory? ...outey.

  • Nadine | May 23, 2012 7:52 PMReply

    Wow... where are all of the sensible posts from yesterday (such as TRUDY'S) and why have we been left with equal parts drivel and equal parts sensibility? I would like to reiterate, very important, that your "interpretation" of the "clean up" of Gideon's apartment is wholly incorrect. Please see the final episode at the 7:20 mark. Olivia asks Huck, "...we good?", Huck replies, "We're good.", Olivia asks again, "...we sure", and then Huck's final reply is "We're good.". The scene moves on and Olivia calls 911... Huck then remembers the cell... it was Huck's error (he just didn't own it), not Olivia's fault ...at...all..., so if that scene, that "simple moment" spoke volumes to you... you should rest at ease. I do believe that it would be irresponsible for you to keep that portion of your article up, though, as it misleads the many readers who have not actually watched the show. Tanya, I find that misinterpretation as careless as the title and perspective of the article (changing the title of the article would help to silent the false "alarm" set off unless that was your intention). Tanya, I get the film school eye, but it is also seems clear that you could be more seasoned. Your lack of understanding regarding the feat Shonda Rhimes undertook in successfully condensing a major storyline of such magnitude with ancillary characters (and tangential arcs) whom we, the audience, are supposed to care about (let alone breaking barriers with a Black woman lead character in Obama's Amerikkka) within a 7 episode "season" is short-sighted and near negligent. Your request for more Columbus Short is also unfortunate. Honestly, any seasoned writer, or patient viewer, could see how Rhimes was quietly developing a connection between Quinn and Short's character. The show opened with Quinn and Short's character (Harrison); as Quinn's character develops next season, we will, obviously, see a heck of a lot more Short. I loved his role and liked how, in the few short episodes, they were able to establish his reliability, his personality, his maturity, yet his junior status which works well since before Quinn arrived, Short's character would have been "the baby". I loved that, for me, it was clear that Short's character (Harrison) was going to be given the opportunity to grow next season, so my interest in the Quinn storyline has more to do with the development of the Quinn/Harrison dynamic (which I'm excited to see... I find their relationship to be very sweet and also perfectly staged for a wonderful dynamic next season). This sense of urgency in moving the storyline is something I often see as a major fault in up and coming filmmakers. They want to tell TOO much story and haven't really learned that drama can be quiet. Drama can be established and LATER USED to make what would be seen as a more pedestrian storyline... e.g. "Oh, Olivia's got a new boyfriend", where everything is riding on the casting of the actor, their chemistry and more blah boring stuff, to a more layered storyline, "Oh, Olivia has got a new boyfriend who once consulted for Senator Gonzales who ran against Grant and so on and so forth...". Scriptwriting... is a weakness I'm seeing a lot more of, and this lack of patience is a major contributor to these issues. Rhimes is a genius. I'm not even going to break down why, but Rhimes has been patient, the tortoise, and won.

  • bondgirl | May 24, 2012 9:47 AM

    @Nadine, we are >>><<< "This sense of urgency in moving the storyline is something I often see as a major fault in up and coming filmmakers. They want to tell TOO much story and haven't really learned that drama can be quiet. Drama can be established and LATER USED to make what would be seen as a more pedestrian storyline... e.g. "Oh, Olivia's got a new boyfriend", where everything is riding on the casting of the actor, their chemistry and more blah boring stuff, to a more layered storyline, "Oh, Olivia has got a new boyfriend who once consulted for Senator Gonzales who ran against Grant and so on and so forth...".<------You may have to reiterate that and dumb it down for the short yellow bus crowd, because that is EVERYTHING the pro-Scandal people are saying...even the ones who have concerns are willing to let Shonda flesh out the sophmore year (this one is more of a "teaser" season) before dissecting it. And I'm with you on the subtle approach to storytelling, because I enjoy the pebbles being dropped here and there. It's the difference between a slow lover, and one who is fast and spasming. If anyone would bother to read her interviews, she has said that there were little hints in S1 placed precisely to connect into S2, and that we would end up having to re-watch the last season to connect the dots. I love that approach,and it's why I enjoy BBC shows because British storylines tend to do that more. Allowing Tony & Kerry to communicate with their expressions (see: Ep 1 when they're in the Oval Office http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjOTgJXQuTI&feature=related) only is pure gold. Hell, it's why people love McQueen. Less dialogue is often times much sexier and dramatic.

  • sandra | May 23, 2012 8:49 PM

    @Nadine - Thank you! ---" 'Perhaps, a friend explained, the ratings weren't great, so the creators put the 'white characters' at the center. ' - TS, ain't doin' it for the world of journalistic integrity." **********So true, again, Nadine. If you're going to come with your guns blazing, you have to come with solid facts. That comment (among others) made TS come across as a disgruntled, failed screenwriter lying on her couch at home, munching on hot cheetos, while flipping the channels (to see what the gutsy, risk-taking writers are doing) and mumbling obscenities and criticism at the t.v.

  • Nadine | May 23, 2012 8:04 PM

    The finale: http://www.hulu.com/watch/362308/scandal-grant-for-the-people, again... see 7:20...

  • Nadine | May 23, 2012 8:01 PM

    ...also, can S&A please try to cite actual ratings for these shows instead of opinion and hearsay (using statistics and growth numbers as well), because "Perhaps, a friend explained, the ratings weren't great, so the creators put the 'white characters' at the center. " - TS, ain't doin' it for the world of journalistic integrity. Anyone can look up the ratings and see how SCANDAL grew exponentially and it really should have been reported more thoroughly or excluded from this piece. Not cool. There is more that needs to be addressed, but gotta go...

  • Nicole | May 23, 2012 7:01 PMReply

    And here I thought this post would top out at 100 comments. 165(166) and still going strong.

  • Solaam | May 23, 2012 5:20 PMReply

    Why did this article create anarchy?

  • CareyCarey | May 23, 2012 8:16 PM

    @ WOW, EXACTLY! I wholeheartedly agree. The paragraph that you highlighted proved that Tanya simply gave a fair and balanced assessment of her concerns. Yet -- it's my not so humble opinion that many of the "protesters" did not fully read the article, or conciously chose to ignor the areas that championed the series, Kerry Washington and Shonda Rimes. And less are really listening to the valid concerns of those who agree with Tanya (which there are many). Instead, the opposing voice has narrowed their tunnel vision and chosen to take a mean spirited course of vilifying Ms Steele. Why? Because her opinion didn't -- totally -- agree with theirs?

  • WOW | May 23, 2012 7:06 PM

    Solaam, although this may not be Anarchy, comments like DHARR's are the crux of the problem. When I read the article I saw valid and balanced concerns and several mere "suggestions". The author called them "Some thoughts". "Olivia Pope established her skill set, her power, her uncompromising commitment to her work, her character, her grace under fire and it was stunning! Stunning! There was no finger waving, no back and forth head motion, no pulling of weaves; it was pure and uncompromising intelligence. She wasn't anyone's (basketball) wife, she was in complete possession of herself. And dressed to the nines while doing it!
    I was even pleased with the delivery of the twists and turns toward the end of each episode. The fierce leftist politics. Yes, they are. The complex storyline of the black woman in love with the republican president. There was a lot of information being delivered here, and Ms. Shonda Rhimes was not waving any race banner. That made it all the more engaging. Olivia Pope is vulnerable, caring, wise and sharp - these are the black women I know - by Tanya Steele

  • Dharr | May 23, 2012 6:37 PM

    Its not anarchy. It's just disagreement. A lot of people liked this show. Check out other blogs. All those people can't be blind and misguided. There's something about it that is connecting with many women especially. And, the criticism in this article and some of the coments come across as petty, knitpicking and tired.

  • WOW | May 23, 2012 6:12 PM

    Short answer: Tanya Steele disturbed the value system of some black people. The truth hurts so disorder ensued.

  • Dankwa Brooks | May 23, 2012 4:32 PMReply

    WOW! 156 comments! #ThatIsAll

  • MOGAL1 | May 23, 2012 3:05 PMReply

    Tanya were we watching the same show?... Because me and my professional girlfriends all LOVE this show!! We love it's characters and it's story line(s). I just don’t agree with or understand your criticism. Why do you think women must “always lead"?... As a highly ascended corporate female professional myself, I can tell you from experience, “We don't always lead.” Nor do we always want to – the Smart ones allow those around them to lead when necessary too. They also realize their idea is not the “only idea” or always the “best idea” for that matter. What I can tell you is that we do “want to WIN!” And that’s what Olivia Pope’s office does each week. WIN! Next, why can't Olivia make a bad choice in who she falls in love with - women do it every day - Even smart women? For the story to have credibility the "President of the free world" would NOT be someone who "only takes orders from Olivia Pope! Come on… Now regarding the lines/delivery, really, you don’t like the delivery? I love the rapid fire delivery of the lines - It puts pace in the story and the show, "if you don't pay attention – You will miss it!"... That's what happens in high power jobs!! I know – I’ve got one. It’s "keep up, or get run over - left out - or fired!" I actually agree with your comment wanting to see more back-story about Olivia’s childhood/background. How did she become the power player that she is? – that’s usually an interesting story too. The back-story and her inner circle of friends probably will be covered in the future of the show. I don’t think that you can disclose this kind of detail in a mere 7 or 8 episode. I predict that we will not discover much in the friend’s area because women (people) with jobs like Olivia Pope "usually" find that the people they work with also become the “friends & family” that they socialize with. Why? Because they can't speak freely to outsiders about “what they’re doing” – “what's really going on with their clients business” It’s the kind of confidential information that everyone involved KNOWS they cannot share outside the office or it would all be sold to TMZ and they would be fired. Can you say “Client- Lawyer confidentiality?” Tanya, bottom line is SCANDAL, is a great new show so “Don’t Hate!”

  • rozzjack | May 23, 2012 2:10 PMReply

    I disagree with you Tanya. I think Olivia Pope is realistic. I love the fact that she's all powerful in her work life, but vulnerable and unsure in her love life. That's realistic. I know plenty of women in real life who are like that. If Olivia were superwoman in both her work life and personal life, she'd be a one note character and she'd be boring and predictable. Shonda Rhimes' signature is creating female characters who have it together career wise, but struggle in their love lives. You see this in Meredith, Christina, Bailey (Grey's Anatomy), Addison (Private Practice), and now Olivia. In regards to Olivia being checked by FLOTUS, she was sleeping with the woman's husband. She would have some nerve trying to tell her off when she's in the wrong. What is she supposed to say? "Yeah b*#ch, I slept with your husband. What of it?"

    I love the dynamic between Olivia and the president. Again, she's all powerful at work, but when she's around the president, she's vulnerable, weak, and she second guesses herself, however, she eventually ends up doing what she feels is the right thing. You can tell she likes being dominated sexually by him. She spends her day in control of everything and everybody, but in the bedroom she wants to be dominated. I get it. I think it's very sexy.

  • rozzjack | May 23, 2012 9:14 PM

    @ Nadine, thank you! You hit the nail on the head!

  • DHarr | May 23, 2012 1:55 PMReply

    I think you're overanalyzing and placing expectations on the show based on your own biases, You're not giving SR or KW the respect they deserve for delivering a very entertaining and engaging show in just seven episodes. So what if some of KW's acting involves silences. She does a hell of a job with those silences. Everything doesn't need to be said out loud. I love the show including the very sexy and intriguing Olitz relationship. I plan to trust SR's vision for the next season---that she will flesh out Olivia and the other characters in the 13 show season. It's her clay, let her sculpt. If you want to create something, why don't you just do so and not bash someone else's creation.

  • Static_Cling | May 25, 2012 5:04 PM

    @Dharr, yes!!! The silences in this show are golden. The "one minute" scenes between Olivia and Fitz, then and now, portray some the best acting I've seen in a while. When the POTUS is on her sofa and they just sit and hold each other, it's truly poignant and anyone can see how much they're in love and how they regret being in such an impossible situation. That scene or the first "one minute" scene were not about her being a mistress or him an adulterer. They are fiercely in love and just their expressions and emoting convey that in such a lovely way. I never watched a single episode of "Grey's" or "Private Practice" because the premise of each show just did not appeal to me. I'm not that curious about any of those characters or actors protraying them. With KW and "Scandal", however, it was different. I gave it a chance because I think KW is an extremely talented actor and I wanted to see her calling the shots in the show. I have not been disappointed and will definitely be watching Season 2.

  • Bookworm | May 24, 2012 1:18 PM

    I agree. I give credit to Kerry, Tony and Shonda. The silences that they have are magic and its one of the few shows where you can feel the emotion thick in the air. The jab on Kerry's acting skills sounds personal to be on behalf of her bitter friends. Kerry is one of the few black actress who I fell views acting as a art and is well on her way to mastering. She is clearly a theater geek; I can say the same for Voila Davis and Taraji.

    Olivia and Fitz have chemistry that set our TV's on fire; its rare to find that between two leadings and Shonda has lucked out with Tony and Kerry. She has done a lot in 7 episodes as I feel every minute was used to the max. There was no minute gone wasted and she has filled us in on a lot for 7 episodes. The season was short but you felt like you got a whole 22 episodes worth of information and insight. I literally feel in love with this show by the second episode and I've been on my seat since then.

  • babygirl | May 24, 2012 1:07 AM

    i completely agree. its a wonderful show and the suspense is chilling. SR is a mastermind behind not one, not two, but three incredible shows! i think she knows what she's doing and from what I've seen, her loyal audience is eating this drama up and awaiting the next season. this woman is putting far too many "race" issues and thats not the problem at all

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