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Shonda Rhimes Doesn't Care Why You Watch 'Scandal' But Just Don't Call It A 'Guilty Pleasure'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 14, 2013 at 11:28AM

Asked to speculate on the show’s breakout success, Rhimes said: “I don’t dare or bother to speculate. I’m just supposed to make the shows.” She added, however, that the success of Grey’s Anatomy gave producers “the capital” to take some risks with Scandal. Rhimes said she doesn’t spend any time thinking about the fact that the show features a strong female lead of color. She added that she doesn’t think about it when writing any more than she thinks about being a strong female of color herself as she goes about her daily life. Asked whether she has broken any barriers in creating the series or the Olivia Pope character, Rhimes offered: “I have no idea. It would be nice to say no, but since you are asking the question, probably yes.” Rhimes says she doesn’t care why people watch the show as long as they don’t describe it as a “guilty pleasure.” She said that phrase means “It’s crap but I can’t stop watching it.”
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Asked to speculate on the show’s breakout success, Rhimes said: “I don’t dare or bother to speculate. I’m just supposed to make the shows.” She added, however, that the success of Grey’s Anatomy gave producers “the capital” to take some risks with Scandal. Rhimes said she doesn’t spend any time thinking about the fact that the show features a strong female lead of color. She added that she doesn’t think about it when writing any more than she thinks about being a strong female of color herself as she goes about her daily life. Asked whether she has broken any barriers in creating the series or the Olivia Pope character, Rhimes offered: “I have no idea. It would be nice to say no, but since you are asking the question, probably yes.” Rhimes says she doesn’t care why people watch the show as long as they don’t describe it as a “guilty pleasure.” She said that phrase means “It’s crap but I can’t stop watching it.”

Interesting revelatins there from Shonda Rhimes, in talking about Scandal at Television Critics Association (TCA) event, during ABC’s portion of the press tour, when, as Deadline notes, Rhimes, along with co-executive producers Betsy Beers and Judy Smith (the real-life "Olivia Pope"), fielded questions.

I guess I'm just surprised at how seemingly disconnected and apathetic she is from/to the "outside" universe that consumes the stuff she creates - how it's consumed, why it's consumed, what its consumption might mean, where it stands on the grander stage, etc.

Maybe, as a writer, there are pros to that approach. You're able to create without any influence or interference.

Thoughts?

Although I am curious to know how many of you who watch the show religiously, do so because you think it's a great show, or because it's a guilty pleasure, as she describes... if the latter, just don't tell her that.

This article is related to: Television, TV News, Shonda Rhimes


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