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The Ongoing Trouble With 'Scandal' And Why It's Starting To Lose Me As A Viewer

Television
by Tanya Steele
October 5, 2012 1:06 PM
154 Comments
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Like you, I watched the first two episodes of Season Two of 'Scandal'. The production values are higher. The style of the show is handled much better. Olivia Pope, at least, in the first episode, felt stronger. She was making decisions and leading the charge.

Last night, however, the show started to lose me as a viewer. I am still rooting, 100%, for this show to succeed. However, in terms of Drama, it isn't delivered in a way that keeps my interest. Serial dramas have to unfold in a way that keeps you asking-"what will happen, next week?" Mainly, "how will the central character wrestle with their moral dilemma, next week?" Olivia's journey is already clear. But for interesting side storylines that may occur, I get it. And, that's the problem.

Mind you, there are enough elements, in the show, to keep an audience. The structural elements are there. However (and this is what I note in much film and television, of late), the essential element is not a part of the storyline. But, there is just enough there to keep an audience. People will stay tuned. And, that is the goal with every show, right? So, one could argue, the mission is accomplished. However, it will fall short in being a great show.

'Scandal', I repeat, has the ability to be a great show. I'm not kidding. Here is an opportunity for a show, with a black female lead, to go toe-to-toe with the best of them. And, understand, I want it to be that. I want Ms. Shonda Rhimes to have that. Especially, with the news that she is working with Ms. Issa Rae. A television show for Ms. Rae was a no-brainer to most of us. Thank goodness there is Ms. Rhimes, a black woman, in television, who could embrace and want to showcase her talent. Actually, Oprah should have snapped Ms. Rae up for OWN. Maybe she will. But, Oprah will receive a loving critique on another day. Today, it's about 'Scandal'.

The best dramas (think 'Sopranos') bring you into the commission of an act that creates the moral dilemma. Fans of 'The Sopranos' can recall the show where Tony takes his daughter to college and commits a murder. Yes, we know Tony is in the mob. But, the arresting thing about the show was that we were actually going to get to see him be mob. The beauty of 'The Sopranos' was the set-up. We are brought into his family life. We go off with him to visit a college with his daughter and we see his demon take center stage. Pure genius. From that moment, we were hooked. What will this man do, week after week? Will he get caught? Will he stop? Will his family find out? Will his conscience win? Does he have a conscience? Great dramas raise questions and keep the ball in the air until they are ready to release you. If you are watching 'Homeland', currently, the same thing is at play. Right now, that and 'Dexter' are the shows to study. (However, I do need to catch up on 'Boardwalk Empire'. And, I will give a nod to 'Luther', too. For network TV, 'The Good Wife' is strong.)

So, here it is. The main problem with 'Scandal' is that the commission of the act that creates the moral dilemma has already occurred outside of the show. Olivia Pope started the affair with the president before the show started. The viewers should have been allowed to experience that with her. The president, or the white house, could have been a client and we should have been drawn into the affair at the same time that Olivia was. The why's, the how's, her vulnerability, her weakness, the struggle. As an audience member, we needed that in order to be fully invested in her. One could argue that the "how'd we get here question ", is the show's hook? And, it will be delivered to us, at some point. The problem is, that can only be sustained for so long before it becomes an annoyance. Or viewers, like myself, stop caring.

Right now, we are being shown their connection but, it isn't attached to a history. As an audience, we need to be a part of the creation of her history. Otherwise, it becomes just short of a soap opera. High emotional moments without a strong connection to the decision that created the emotion. If you notice, as I stated as a need in my first critique, we are now being invited into Olivia's private moments. And, the show slows down the style for them. It is very deliberate and it works. They were (kind of) there in season one but, now, we see Olivia in the process of making a decision/struggling. Her emotions are (almost) taking center stage.

Although, I still feel she should be leading the charge. A power dynamic is set up when you make her lover the president of the United States. It will keep her in a weak position because he's running the world. Whatever she does, doesn't compare to that. And, is always, in reaction to that. Her power rests in his storyline. He has to call, secure, via a "private line". She has to wait and be on the receiving end of that. It is unfortunate that her private moments are with the president. If they were about her life, in another way, something that brings us into her life and provides a contrast, a butting up against her affair, the stakes would be more interesting. Right now, the stakes are minimal. Her job is not in jeopardy. The affair isn't interfering with her ability to do her job (although that seems to be on the horizon). The stakes must be raised. Her dilemma has to crash into her professional life and start to tear down walls. Again, look to 'The Sopranos', look to 'Homeland', look to 'Dexter' for illustration of this point.

The only way to fix this is to give Olivia a 'new' dilemma. Allow the audience to see her pivot from the affair to something else. Her power lies in rejecting the most powerful man in the United States, not being weak to him. But, the problem is, the show is already set up and in motion. Doing this would be too difficult. They made the decision to go with this presidential storyline, again. Which, by the way, I don't buy. I don't believe that that is the office of the presidency. It's just not convincing. The Sudan storyline was not believable. However, I appreciate the attempt. But, back to the issue at hand. Olivia has to have another issue that we, as an audience, can be invited into the initial experience of. Otherwise, they will have to go with flashbacks to the beginning of the affair.

The show will remain interesting and engaging. The color, the sound, the style. And, it floats around stakes, dilemmas and intrigue just enough for television. I am ecstatic that the show has a strong fan base. Ms. Rhimes is very good at keeping her fans happy. She has created a brand, in terms of, how she delivers the plot points of a show. And, I am anxious to see more from Ms. Rhimes as she marches on. ABC has given us our two black women entertainment powerhouses…something to think about. But, I want to see Ms. Rhimes bring her gifts to cable. Oh, yes, can't you imagine how fierce that would be!

**And, for the record, the suggestion, in my first critique, to place Olivia Pope outside of the country was just for one or two episodes. Some thought I meant for the entire Season. A build up towards the season finale, perhaps. That's all.**

Follow Tanya Steele on Twitter at @digtanya. Or on my facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tanya.steeleOr visit digtanya.com.

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154 Comments

  • todd | April 21, 2014 5:21 PMReply

    Do anybody know why this show sells. Switch the race of the president and olivia pope . in this days environment the show would be off the air by now. There's no way a white woman be sleeping with two black men like that and be still on the air. Don't forget the biracial cheerios commercial all the hated racial crap sent to Cheerios, they knew what they were doing when they shot the videos( black husband and white wife were not in a scene together). But it's okay to do a swifter commercial with a white husband and black wife together. Two examples why this show is brainwashing at it's best. What was KING Kong really about? Google it's historically relationship with media hatred of Jack Johnson ( first Black Heavy weight champ who was married to a white woman).

  • Me | April 19, 2014 12:21 AMReply

    This show is soooo bad.. I mean I gave it a chance but no I will Not be back for season 4. The plot holes are so big, the characters so unrealistic and their motives completely incomprehensible.
    1. Why does Olivia pope O.P have free reign in the white house isn't she the campaign manager.
    2. What is she doing in the situation room, she would never have clearance..
    3. If B613 doesn't report to the president (who didn't even know it existed) how did he appoint jake as the head?
    4. Why can anybody and their momma walk into OP's office, you would think with all the enemies she has she would buy a lock. I mean I work for a bank and you can't get to my office floor without a badge.
    5. Why does mellie who by now hates her husband stand by him.. she would have left him by now since she has nothing to gain and her happiness to lose.
    6. When the bomb goes off in the church the V.P. hangs around to help people.. what nonsense... the Secret Service would NEVER let the effing VP hang around after a bomb goes off!!
    7.O.P's mother was in jail for 20+ years in some undisclosed location but she comes out and still has contacts? Knows how to use a cellphone etc etc... and
    8. Really? Her mother is a terrorist?
    9. Why is her dad always angry (and can he stop overacting).
    10 Why is Jake Ballard hanging around Olivia pope..
    11. How can you shut down B613 remotely.. not a part of, not an office, the entire organization!?
    12. Not to mention all the episodes where Huck goes: I just have to hack into blah blah.. I work in IT and hacking into secure government intelligence agencies is not a walk in the park.
    13. Why does OP cry in EVERY episode now? Not exactly strong black woman.I mean EVERY episode!
    14. When was the last time OP & associates took a case? I mean don't they have salaries to pay.''
    15. I'm not even starting on all the other stupid characters: Adnan Saleef etc etc..
    16.I could go on forever....

    Scandal writers here's my advice:
    Buy all 7 seasons of The West Wing and learn something about how to write a show about the white house. Or better yet just hire their writers.

    This show had potential but it turned out to be just an Oprah approved - badly written -prime time- Days of Our Lives...

    I wont be back for Season 4.

  • Rodrigo | April 21, 2014 4:30 AM

    You clearly don't understand the show or its storylines, or you don't pay attention.

    1. Olivia Pope & Associates have free reign in the white house because they are Olivia's work team, and they all work for each other, and everybody knows that.

    2. Because she is the campaign manager, and she clears all the dirty stuff, she is basically the person who makes the united states not fall apart when we talk about national and international image.

    3. After Fitz learns about B613 he makes contacts and developes a plan to control it (somehow)

    4. Again, OP&A are part of Olivia and they can be around the white house, the same with most of the rest of characters because they all somehow are connected to the white house on a "powerful" way.

    5. Mellie stands by Fitz because she loves him, in a sick way, but she does, she cares about him, and she wants him to be happy, that's why she has kept many secrets from him, for example the rape by big Jerry.

    6. The VP (Sallie) stays in the bomb scene because her right hand whose name i can't recall, tells her it's the perfect situation to be "like jesus", that was her "jesus moment" which led her to gain all the air-time in TV and taking the president out of air because she was helping people and babies and stuff...

    7. When you're a terrorist, your contacts and the favors they owe you will always be there, and come on...learning how to use a cellphone is not that complicated, lol.

    8. It's a T.V political-drama show, everything can happen...

    9. Because he was betrayed, because he has many secrets to keep, because the sake of the united states is on his arms, wouldn't anybody be stressed if they were on that same position? I bet they would...

    10. Because Olivia has some of sick appreaciation towards Jake, and Jake loves olivia, it's simple.

    11. It's "easy" to shut down a complete organization when you have their data base, if you have a data base, you have control over them, their secrets, information, passwords, contracts, budgets and so on...

    12. Well...Huck was trained by the B613 on hacking and killing and all that stuff, it's easy for him, just because someone can't do something, doesn't mean someone is not able to do it.

    13. Because she's a human, yes, a character, but a human, i bet anybody would cry if they had to clean all the dirty stuff of one of the most powerful countries in the world, and beside handle their messy personal life while you're screwing the president of the country you're protecting, i mean..."She's the scandal".

    14. Olivia took the case of the presidential election as a campaign manager, and when i say Olivia i mean "OP&A", they are one organization, and their salaries are always big.

    15. Actually, you are right in that point, her character was kind of silly, but she dresses nice, and don't get me started on her accents because i barely ever understood a word she said.

    16. I could go on forever too...lol

    Scandal is a show that is growing every week, sometimes it gets really complex, but i like the way Shonda is handling stuff, they are slowly showing us how all the situations in the past led the way to the moment the show is in now, every character has a dark story, that's why their personalities are somehow out of the ordinary, but i like it, it's different, it's fresh, but they keep the traditional soapy style, and this keeps me going for more every week, it has become my favorite show, and don't even get me started on the last 5 minutes of every episodes! Ugh! It's amazing, season 4 will be a big thing i hope, if Shonda keeps this great work, i believe this show could reach ratings of 15 millions or even more, but for the moment, it's one of the biggest shows ABC has right now, if not the biggest they have had in a while. I have never watched season 1 because i thought it was an extremely boring show, but its potential is just growing and growing, that's why we started with audiences of 6 million, and now we're having 10 millions! Such a success!

  • donlon79 | March 29, 2014 9:41 AMReply

    Funny how the commenters here say it's not about race but the only reason must watch is because the main character is a black woman who's got a white president losing his mind over her. The show is over the top and has too many plot twists. And with Kerry being pregnant, this one-trick-pony of a show is sputtering big time. Scandal supporters will continue to watch and proclaim each episode was great. When deep down all they really want to see it Fitz and Olivia hooking up. Honestly, I hate when black women try to intellectualize things that are really simple. I say that because black women are the only people I hear praise the show but can never give a valid reason why they feel the show is so great. Watch the show with a black woman. See how she behaves when the president starts to salivate over Olivia. It's like a pack of hyenas are circling a carcass. You can hear a pin drop during all the other scenes. The show is melodrama and has zero depth. They could keep four, maybe five characters from the entire cast then center the show around them. The rest are filler and serve little to no purpose. And for God's sake, slow the pace of the show down! Not all Americans have ADHD..

  • Lauren | April 4, 2014 8:10 AM

    I am a black girl, and I cannot stress how much Olivia irritates me, her relationship with Fitz is also starting to piss me off too. I mean I'd rather see Mellie and Andrew scenes in all honesty. I agree with you on the bit about "ADHD" I mean damn they talk so fast it's hard to comprehend what they're saying. Olivia's dad speaks like a complete twat, it's like he has a fullstop between every word he says "What.Do.You.Want.Olivia?" it annoys me how everyone on the show speaks in some variation of that manner.

  • ABC | March 24, 2014 1:55 PMReply

    Learn how to use a comma.

  • tom | March 23, 2014 9:51 AMReply

    I think I'll stick with Shondra's version of Scandal.

  • CPB | March 23, 2014 9:21 AMReply

    I really enjoyed reading this review, thank you! I am an art house film fan, but recently got into TV due to Netflix streaming & the availability of engaging shows with story-long plot lines. I agree with your points -- what do you think about how the show has unfolded, now that it is in its third season?

    My favorite shows, to date, are:
    1. DAMAGES
    2. SOPRANOS
    3. SCANDAL
    4. LIE TO ME

  • Mo | March 21, 2014 11:17 PMReply

    You are overthinking this. If the acting and cinematography weren't so cheesy on this show, your analysis would make sense. As is, you are treating a mediocre soap opera like the great drama it could have been in an alternate universe.

  • Renee | October 9, 2013 7:22 PMReply

    Great way to poop a party Miss Steele...

  • Kimiwnu Adeboyeku | August 21, 2013 12:15 AMReply

    Well the good news is she recently married Nnamdi Asomugha!

  • Meme | May 30, 2013 10:33 PMReply

    The thing about Shonda Rhimes is that she is writing a series in a soap opera type format. Grey's Anatomy started out the same way and now it ismore of an slice of life medical drama. Why is it when there is a talented black writer or director, it has to be held up to a white male standard which is the norm and she does well especially to those well known writers of Law & Order or big movie diretors of high impact; emotionally stirring tempos. Watching West Wing was like being at an imtimate living room "whiskey" party, just an daily habit of whitehouse drama. I hate that Oprah has to snap every "minority effort" as Hollywood is good at appointing a token. She is good and that is considerable.

  • Joey vail | May 22, 2013 5:58 PMReply

    Just got a new iPhone sorry for typos and grammar issues! This new keyboard is tricky for me!! I swear I'm not illiterate! LOL

  • Joey v | May 22, 2013 5:55 PMReply

    To everyone ANC anyone suggesting Olivia needs a new love interest is just an idiot! We wouldn't need fitz then. If Olivia wasn't with fitz, his character wouldn't be necessary to the show! Ok so take fitz away, then we can scrap every person in the White House. That includes Melly, Fitz,Cyrus, even characters like Jake. We wouldn't have jake bc the only reason he came to the show was bc fitz hired h to spy on Olivia. If she wasn't involved with fitz, the show wouldn't work! The White House and its staff needs to be tied into Liv and the rest of the gladiators! So say liv meets "guy x". Since they are together, this leaves fitz and his wife just at the White House in a crappy marriage, it's really not that entertaining. If it weren't for the affair "Defiance", wouldn't of happened! Liv wouldn't have let it happen if she and fitz weren't involved! It's the best show out there, a huge breath of fresh air for people who consider themselves, "above", reality tv trash! Shanda Rhimes uses a "color blind", casting method, which doesn't allow casting To be done based on race alone. Legs all agree to agree, or all agree to disagree! Chances are we will never ce face to face with one another! So either enjoy the show, or change the channel! I agree that Fitz is a very attractive man and Kerry, you'd have to be blind or mentally challenged to not see her radiant beauty. She deserves all the success in the world, that girl did not get to where she is today, overnight!! Also, the show does flashback to show the befinning of each gladiator, as well as the beginning of their affair! So much felatio in this show! It's. constant, and I am happy for them lol! They have insane chemistry! You have to be a moronic retard, to not see that!! #SCANDAL4LIFE

    -J.Damien.Vail.

  • Annoyed | May 21, 2013 3:48 PMReply

    Why is this suddenly about color for goodness sake get over yourselves, its a drama, a man who has an instant connection with a very intelligent woman the minute he lays eyes on her, the minute she started walking towards him, he knew he was in trouble, why should this be about the color instead of the beauty, why not an extraordinary beautiful intelligent woman as equally, if not, more powerful than this man who knew, if she stayed to run his campaign, he won't be able to stay away from her, ever! That's why he wanted Cyrus to fire her......enjoy the freakin story. IT'S ABOUT PEOPLE NOT COLOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • NO BRAINER | April 25, 2013 11:34 AMReply

    Are we still talking about this show? It's weak, soap opera television that isn't nearly as thrilling and interesting as they want us to believe.

  • Unknown | April 25, 2013 10:47 AMReply

    By "supposedly" not making race and issue on tv drama's like Scandal, you're making race an issue. A successful, powerful, brilliant black person whose only kryptonite is a unavailable, morally inept white person with 10x more power and influence. Check and check. Not about race? My bad.

  • Unknown | April 25, 2013 10:46 AMReply

    By "supposedly" not making race and issue on tv drama's like Scandal, you're making race an issue. A successful, powerful, brilliant black person whose only kryptonite is a unavailable, morally inept white person with 10x more power and influence. Check and check. Not about race? My bad.

  • Sergio | April 13, 2013 8:19 AMReply

    Jesus Christ 128 comments so far! You know maybe I'm going to have to watch this damn show once to see what the hell all the fuss is about. Does it have any zombies in it?

  • haha | June 23, 2013 5:04 PM

    lol zombies that's funny

  • Alan Katz | April 5, 2013 11:31 AMReply

    Sorry, but I don't get this article at all. There were at least two arcs, told in flashbacks that led the viewer through the beginning of the affair between Olivia and the President (as candidate). Isn't that exactly what the author is claiming as missing? In what alternate universe?

    As for me, Scandal is my No. 1 show on television. I am ticked that they keep inserting repeats in the middle of a building season - why do television programmers insist on destroying shows by pissing off their viewers? The Good Wife is never recorded successfully on my DVR because the Sunday schedule is so flexible that the show sometimes starts at 10:00, 10:15 or even (like last week), 10:30.

    I sincerely hope that the network keeps Scandal going and growing. Kerry Washington is a beautiful, brilliant actress and the supporting cast is one of the best that has ever appeared in a network series.

  • NotI | March 2, 2013 11:48 PMReply

    Reading your blog made me sad. I was sad because you failed to get the big picture. Olivia Pope is a brilliant, beautiful, polished woman. She is sexy because she is competent, confident, and capable. in Kerry Washington you have an actress with the ability to play a high class, well educated woman convincingly. Thank Shonda Rimes for creating a show that gives African American girls a role model who isn't't slapping five, dropping her ing's, or complianing about not being able to find a good "brotha." Olivia Pope can have any man she wants because she attracts rather than repels them. I, for one, am glad to see a strong black woman who doesn't have one foot still stuck in the ghetto. Don't waste time over-analyzing the show. Just watch and learn.

  • Miss Truth Hurts | November 1, 2013 2:53 AM

    Yeah a "brilliant, beautiful, polished woman" whose f**cking a married man. She is strong as an oak but weak as f*ck when it comes to that ugly mummy-faced WHITE man to whom she is his "side-piece". She's no better than a neighbor hood "hoodrat" doing the same sh**t, only she has an education/money/entrepreneur/Million-Dollar-Condo/etc......Chile' please

  • Cid | February 9, 2013 3:58 PMReply

    I am new to the show, but have seen all the first season and the second. My belief is that the main character in the show is the conspiracy and the effect it has on the Defiance 5. All the other people are caught up in the effects of that scandal. Do you really believe that this has NEVER happened in the history of the USA? You are fooling yourselves. The affair between Olivia and the President is window dressing. That she is a "fixer" and finially needs "fixing" herself is inevitable. She balances moral and amoral constantly. The character shows clearly the stress this causes in her life. In the beginning her work drives Olivia, but in the end her personal life is driving her. Also inevitably she falls apart. The scandal wins. Fitz is gone, Mellie is back , Silas is seen to be as duplicitous and dangerous, Vera confesses her sins..I don't believe another lover will rehap Olivia. I think her work will! I think that that is her true lover!

  • Jeri | February 9, 2013 2:34 PMReply

    I hope the show dies. It was NOT Shonda Rhimes idea to begin with. I have it on good authority that a movie script passed to the assistant of Keri Washington a few years ago (which the writer never heard back about) was used as the baseline story for SCANDAL. Seems odd to me that this script that featured two powerful woman and one man, a shooting, a hospital scene, intrigue and drama, was in the hands of the woman who is now the star of this show? And it was "created" just a year after that script was in Ms. Washington's possession? Do you believe in coincidence? If you do, you're a fool. The idea was stolen and because you cannot copyright ideas, voila! Another new show by Shonda Rhimes? Hardly.

    Wake up, America! Sad part is, the writer's film will likely never see the light of day because it'll be labeled a "copy" of the basis of the show they actually created. I hate it when writers are abused like this and NO ONE gets dealt with, but its OK because SCANDAL is gonna die soon because they've already killed the best parts of the show. And now maybe Ms. Rhimes can go and steal something else.

    No, SCANDAL doesn't impress me. What WOULD impress me is those folks coming clean and doing the right thing by contacting the writer and giving them their due.

    SMDH

  • Son of Kush | February 1, 2013 7:31 AMReply

    I haven't even watched the show, but always see people talking about it on Facebook. First off, once I saw that a Black women created the show, and that a Black woman would be starring in it, I already knew what the plan would be. The plan would be to make the Black woman powerful in the beginning of the show so that Black viewers would get hooked early on as they have. Then as the show goes on, the Black women would perhaps have an affair with an attractive European American man which would get the Caucasian viewers hooked on the show as they have. Then as the show continues on, the ultimate plan is to make the Black suspected powerful Black woman out to be nothing more than an intelligent high powered whore who sleeps around with any and everybody no matter what color they are. Mark my words, many of you (particularly Black folks) will be let down once again by this show in the future, just wait and see. How many times are we going to let Hollywood and the big studios trick us into believing that they are really going to portray Black Folks in a positive light on public television? Television (Tell Lies Visually) is nothing but an illusion; a lie, and if you're not careful, you'll be duped over and over again into believing that your getting good entertainment when your not. Just because a Black woman created the show doesn't mean that the show will be created showing this Black woman in a positive light. Some of you (Uncle & Auntie Toms Black Folks) have a lot of work to do when it comes to being proud of your race and ethnic heritage. Peace, Love, and Light..............Kush

  • thisishilarious | March 23, 2014 10:06 AM

    Yeah because those TV shows on BET, VH1, & OWN portray black women so much better. Shondra keep doing what you do. "BANK".

  • Tallulah | November 23, 2013 9:46 AM

    I know I have the power of hindsight but your comment is so wrong it's hilarious. I think we can both agree that's a good thing though!

  • reality_check | October 27, 2013 6:00 PM

    so much sense....you told the unfiltered truth!

  • CarlaLou | January 29, 2013 9:49 AMReply

    I love the show! I wish we could all just enjoy the show and stop with all the drama. It's a T.V. Show. Just enjoy! I think that Kerry Washington is doing a great job.

  • Queen | January 11, 2013 9:49 AMReply

    I do like the show and yes it is interesting but I totally get where you are coming from. I do feel it is a bit predictable at times. I pretty much knew last night's episode would go in the direction it did with maybe a few twists. I have been asking myself, if the show is so good, why hasn't it been nominated for an Emmy or Golden Globe? There is something missing about it and/or people are not really feeling what it is about. At least the people that have say so about giving it nominations. Maybe the thought and visualization of that much corruption in the White House is a turn off.

  • Mikayla | January 3, 2013 3:20 AMReply

    My problem with this critique is that it assumes the affair is the main plot of the show. For me, it's not. The main plot is the obviously complex conspiracy that is happening. The affair is certainly interesting, but ultimately a side plot. During every episode, the burning question on my mind is not "what will happen next between Olivia and Fitz?" My burning question is "who is in charge?" It's not Fitz. It's not the Defiance 5 (as a whole). Someone is pulling all of the strings. Someone is messing with Olivia Pope and given what I have seen so far, that is a nearly impossible accomplishment.

    Back to this particular article. This show is not called Pope, it is called Scandal. To focus on the biggest romantic scandal in Olivia's life, while ignoring the biggest scandal that has ever happened to the United States, is a huge error. To assume that Shonda Rhimes would lay everything out in the open after just 2 episodes of season 2 is a huge error. Shonda Rhimes writes this show like a mystery, not a drama. Instead of spelling out the overall arc for you in the first 10 minutes, she makes you wait. She drops hints and gives reveals, but ultimately she makes you wait to figure out what the show is really about. And with a bit of patience, she gives you exactly what you want (to understand Fitz/Olivia) and then some (the huge conspiracy that could literally destroy the United States).

    Any viewer that quits after 2 episodes because the writer isn't telling you about the affair must really only be interested in the romance. At the end of episode 1, we see that Olivia and Huck turned Lindsay into Quinn. If THAT wasn't enough to keep you intrigued as to what is the bigger story, perhaps you'd be better suited with a romantic drama.

  • Jane | December 17, 2012 5:45 PMReply

    Why do Americans, especially black Americans always have to turn everything into a race thing. This isn't a show about a black woman having an affair with a white guy - it's about a young, hot, successful woman and a powerful, attractive man. That they're black, white , whatever doesn't matter to the narrative. They're just a sexy couple with incredible chemistry .
    The whole Fitz , Olivia moral dilemma is part of what makes the show fun, intense and watchable. And the slow, gradual way we are exposed to the back story of the affair is captivating. I love this show

  • Erma | December 25, 2012 7:46 PM

    I agree with you Jane. I think what I like about the show is the fact that it doesn't make race an issue. When you're watching, you really don't think in terms of race. I hope they keep it that way. I'm not in the mood for any of the racial tension. We all know that there is lots of racial tension in the real world. We watch shows like this to escape it. I hope they keep it race neutral.

  • Ashley | November 30, 2012 3:03 PMReply

    Geez... I guess you missed your Civics/Government and English classes in school. When referring to the "President of the United States" and the "White House"... You always capitalize those items. Please get it together!

  • Shelia | March 22, 2013 10:46 AM

    No you should capitalize GOD and that's it

  • Asia | February 9, 2013 12:04 AM

    I agree to a point. I somewhat love the way Shonda Rhimes deals with race and the powerful image of Olivia Pope and her characters. However, not all black Americans are making everything entirely about race, but the portrayal of black male and female characters in the media that scarcely portrays them. Not every black American relates to the images shown on BET, the allotted shows on UPN, etc. Black americans are very diverse. I have a hard time with people, who say black Americans make everything about race without considering its stance, history and understand where each argument is coming from. Scandal is a great show. The storyline is very entertaining. However, Scandal is also a big deal because it is the first show on this network in thirty years with a black female lead, which is pretty sad in this day and age. But yes, it is a big deal to the black community, as well as other communities. It is also as much as a big deal as the the struggle to change the portrayal of women from the 60s housewife to more independent women in the new millennium. I do not see many people nowadays dismissing an argument by a woman as making everything about a "woman's issue" or a "gender issue" because there is a more diverse portrayal of women. Sadly, the portrayal of the black community or even other minority communities has not come that far. It sad to say that a show is "race neutral" when the person is black. It's not that I expect Olivia to go on some rant, but she is a black american. I don't understand how people expect the character to sweep that issue under the rug or act a certain way to be deemed acceptable. For me, Olivia represents every other powerful female seen in more main genres such as this. She does a lot of scandalous stuff. I think that's great but some people, even in the black community, will not see it that way. they will bring up the portrayal of her because there is a lack of minorities in shows and there is a great surge of negative images that focus on the 60s and other modern images. There really needs to be more shows with not only black characters, but other minorities and groups breaking stereotypes and showing diverse personalties in these groups. There also needs to be a change in every argument by a black individual as a race issue. Some of the arguments have merit and should not be ignored based on race. Sadly and apparently, It is still a issue.

  • sonya | January 17, 2013 11:06 PM

    you added absolutely no insight to the situation.

  • Kayla | November 5, 2012 4:14 AMReply

    Reading these Comments on here. I have to say this. How is Scandal showing a negative image of a black woman? What image do you what portrayed on TV? Do you wish Olivia was some ghetto trash or what is portrayed on reality Tv. Olivia Pope by the way that is her name not Amanda. If you going to talk about something at least know the character's name. Getting back to what I am saying Olivia Pope is not a home wrecking whore who is sleeping with the President. The home was already wrecked and besides the First Lady knew about the affair and was okay with it. She even scolded Olivia for ending the affair. How does that make her weak because she is in love with a man. Women are very complex individuals. New Flash: A woman can be in love and be a strong woman at the same time. I am not condoning her being involved with a married man. The need to give her a new love interest. I have to say this though what if the show was about Oliver Pope and his involvement with the a white woman.

    How is she considered to be hyper sexual? Just because she is having an affair with President that makes her hyper sexual? Please she has only had one sex scene. I have watched enough TV and have seen far worse then Scandal has every shown.

    People are putting a heavy burden on this show to be everything. When it does not give everything you have blogs like this? The viewership is not high but please don't complain
    when the show is gone about there are no shows with black leads.

  • Danny | April 13, 2013 2:38 AM

    Olivia Pope is a whore anyway you slice it she's the white man's whore. Just like Halle Berry became famous by being the black whore of Hollywood now Kerry Washington has taken Halle's place she's the new black whore of Hollywood. It seems to me a black actress can only become a leading lady if her characters in movies opens her legs for white men. Halle Berry did it in Monster's Ball and Kerry Washington is doing it in Scandal.

  • Amanda | November 10, 2012 1:07 AM

    "Olivia Pope by the way that is her name not Amanda. If you going to talk about something at least know the character's name."

    Just wanted to point out, since you jumped down some other person's/people's throat about it, that the President was sleeping with two other women besides his wife (that we know of). Olivia Pope AND a campaign worker named Amanda Tanner.

  • liz | October 29, 2012 5:50 PMReply

    Tanya darling, listen carefully. I say this with love. You're so invested in the politics of how the first black female lead in Prime Time is being presented that you can't simply enjoy this entertaining piece of fiction. You need Olivia Pope to be an independent strong woman stereotype to counter your own issues. It's fiction. And it's hot. Shonda shows extramarital affairs in every show she writes and she always roots for the affair. Did you do this for Meredith and Derek? How about the extramarital relationships in Private Practice? So why this one? Why can't you just enjoy the show without bringing so much politics into it? And don't even pretend that's not what it's about. Blacks are their own worst enemy. It's obvious the show is a hit based on the number of comments your article attracts and yet you must rip it apart every chance you get. Because that's what blacks do. No other group does this. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

  • To whom it may concern | April 25, 2013 11:34 PM

    There is no such thing as a work of fiction that is politically neutral. When they depict black women as leads for crossover appeal they always have her with white men. But when there is a white woman as lead they never put her with a black man. Interracial affairs are not required their mainstream success. Sorry, we'll stop bringing in politics when we stop noticing the pattern.

  • moni | February 8, 2013 10:23 PM

    omg liz you are so right on so maaaaannyyy levels!! scandal is my fav show of all time! i love every moment of it. i have yet to miss an episode! this is her second time writing a bad review about this incredible show. she probably loved edison (while he lasted). olivia pope is flawed like everyone else on the show. and all she cares about is "who's pulling the strings" like who cares? u follow the storyline and then u enjoy your night. why must people analyze stuff so much? and the shows ratings have been through the roof! so who cares if scandal is starting to lose you as a viewer tanya it doesnt need you anyway

  • Liz | October 29, 2012 5:36 PMReply

    How sad. Launching a campaign against this instant hit that everyone loves so much. With lame excuses to mask the issues oozing from your writing.

  • jay | October 28, 2012 11:51 PMReply

    this show rocks....stop hating bitches

  • Orville | October 11, 2012 2:52 PMReply

    It seems to me some black women on this message board are making excuses for the bad relationship Olivia Pope is in because she's with a white guy. I bet if Olivia Pope was having an affair with an older black man who was President of the United States the black women on this board wouldn't be so supportive. I know people want to make excuses but this relationship Olivia Pope has with President Grant is manipulative and emotionally abusive.

    Olivia needs a new guy a new love interest and assert her independence from a terrible relationship which is stale. I would love to see Olivia fall in love with someone new.

    No offense to Tony Goldwyn fans the guy is okay looking for a 50 something white guy but he's not hot. It's not like Kerry's love interest is someone gorgeous like say TJ Holmes, Don Lemon, Boris Kodjoe, or someone young and hot someone in her own age range or something.

  • liz | October 31, 2012 2:43 AM

    Orville, you're either very young or you don't understand women. All women over 30 would find a man like Fitz hot. It's not about just looks or young firm body parts the way it is with men. He's the mot powerful man in the world, he's tall and has swag. That's sexy. If the older black president were Barack Obama, then women would be swooning. If he looked like Herman Cain, then no. If the white president were JFK, women would be swooning. If he looked like Ronald Reagan, then no. That's what it's about.

    A 50 year old man is not old to a woman over 30. That's what you don't get. Women and men are not the same. Men want youth and perky breasts. Women find confidence and manliness attractive and a man in charge has it in spades, so if he's even a little bit handsome, he's likely to be very attractive.

  • Josh | October 11, 2012 7:14 PM

    I agree with you, Orville. Kerry Washington's character Olivia needs a new love interest on the show. Michael Ealy, Blair Underwood , Jesse Williams or even develop a romantic relationship with Columbus Short's character

  • dee | October 10, 2012 10:30 AMReply

    I do recall in season 1 where they did a flashback of Olivia and Fitz and how it begin. I believe we are going to get to see her whole staff and how they arrived working for Olivia. Example: (Quin) I believe they all are apart of some scandal in one way or another. I have faith in this show it will all come to the light soon enough.

  • Yolanda | October 9, 2012 8:38 PMReply

    I like the show a lot. I will definitely remain a viewer, but I would love to see Olivia develop a relationship with a man that is accessible. I know an ex lover of hers is being introduced and who knows maybe they will rekindle their romance. I would also like to learn more about Olivia's background. Give her some parents and siblings like Meredith on Grey's Anatomy Shonda. Let's see why Olivia became the woman she is.

  • starry118 | October 11, 2012 2:27 PM

    I agree...although I like Fitz & Olivia, I am interested in seeing her develop a relationship with someone else she has great chemistry with and is more accessible. I also look forward to some more character development for her...we're 9 epis in, so there's time to explore that. I think they should introduce us to, at least, one of her family members this season...a sibling perhaps?

  • CareyCarey | October 9, 2012 12:54 PMReply

    Mr. HMMM and Mr. NO BRAINER, both of you guys are on some poppycock :-). Seriously, how did y'all fix your lips to say--> "What was her goal in sharing it HERE? I understand wanting to get it off her chest. Writing this was cathartic for her. But Tambay chimed in this setup". WHAT?! You guys generally speak with a rational mind, but listen. One more time, how in the heck can you imply that there's some form of secret conspiracy between Tambay and Tanya to dupe readers into writing comments? The dope sells itself. I am suggesting that first and foremost Tanya is a writer ( let's say that again. Tanya is a WRITER, okay) who has been adding content to this blog for OVER A YEAR and Tambay is it's host and editor. So by a natural extension he chimes in, okay. Now, this post was NOT a "review" per se, in fact, the title said: The Ongoing Trouble With 'Scandal' And Why It's Starting To Lose "ME" As A Viewer. So what's the confusion and who really has a problem? Yeah, ask yourself this, why does any of S&A contributors add content to this blog? Why does Sergio add commentary to his Weekend B.O. column? And why does Curtis add his form of commentary to his "This Week In TV" column? And surely you know why Courtney, Natasha and Jasmin do what they do, right? Yeah, they'll all writers who add content ( in various forms) to this blog with their own voice; flare and uniqueness. Having said that, one more time, let's say it again, what's the real problem?

  • Gerald | October 9, 2012 2:33 AMReply

    I really don't have much to say. The affair with the president does weaken her. She seems painfully, hopelessly in love with him and she seems very fragile and weak and not to mention the whole aspect of a black woman stepping so low as to sleep with a married man. It's sickening and I stop watching the show and no it's not racial, it could have been a black man. I just think it's a cheap, lazy way to develop the character. Why do black female lead actors have to be sexualized. They did it with Halle Berry and others. I agree that Amanda Pope needs a flaw. We all have one or more. It's too bad that the writers couldn't have been slicker and wrote something more challenging and less demeaning. But hey sex sells...so who really cares

  • Kayla | November 5, 2012 4:21 AM

    How does that make her hyper sexual? I have seen far worse on TV.

  • Troy | October 9, 2012 1:08 PM

    One could argue that the exclusion of sexual interest at all is abnormal. Should her sexual storyline rival a doctor, or politician the very busy and influential people she fixes situations for. The only way to rise out of the morass for her sexual storyline is to up the ante. It doesn't to seem to had work the way they wanted. So what kind of relationship could she have with another type-A like herself who still has time for her and she him. The unavailability factor is not only a problem for the viewer but these very women complaining in real life. If they cannot constantly aspire to be like the women in the movies, television, and magazines then what hope do they have in the "Real" unglamorous world. I don't find asexual or nonsexual characters realistic unless they are playing Mother Theresa. Morbidly obese people are sexual beings also. I mean substance dealing with people in created content means nothing without the threat of death and the opportunity to create life, sex. Her flaw to me is her job, she is literally a criminal. The scandal of scandal has distracted a audience that can't help but be singularly focused on whether or not a black woman ends up in a stable fictitious relationship. Well Sanaa has a husband and kids on Boss.

  • Laura | October 9, 2012 10:00 AM

    At least they saved us from an Eddie Long character. Instead they gave us the stereotypical cheating black pastor. HOORAY for Shonda Rhimes, this should get her a BET image award if she can beat out Tyler Perry. However, the polls have Tyler in front.

  • Darnell | October 9, 2012 3:17 AM

    HELLO! There it is, that's exactly what many are refusing to say --> " I just think it's a cheap, lazy way to develop the character. Why do black female lead actors have to be sexualized". Exactly! We finally get a black female lead and she's sleeping with a married man. Thank you Gerald for broaching the subject that many are afraid to talk about (on this blog that is).

  • starry118 | October 9, 2012 12:03 AMReply

    (I haven't read any of the other comments yet, so someone else has probably brought up these points)

    "Right now, we are being shown their connection but, it isn't attached to a history. As an audience, we need to be a part of the creation of her history."----------

    Did you see Season 1, Episode 6: "The Trail?" Much of that episode was devoted to showing how Fitz and Olivia met and their relationship developed. Actually, there was instant attraction...at least from Fitz's side. Perhaps if Season 1 had been longer, they could have gone more in depth with it, but even without the slow burn/buildup, Liv & Fitz have still "got it" to the point that people enjoy watching them say "Hello" and breathe to one another on the telephone. I think it was a good idea to establish the romantic relationship/connection early, so the "Moonlighting Effect" won't come into play. As the married President of the U.S., the chance of them truly being together is unlikely...so they will "break up" for periods of time, and she will date other people, but the writers can still play with the "will they/won't they" throughout the run of the show. Viewers will remember the intense chemistry they shared, and know they will eventually get back together at some point, so will always be looking for signs indicating when the next rekindling of the affair will happen. #thehook----------I do look forward to members of Olivia's team being fleshed out more, as they writers are doing with Huck...what is Columbus Short's character all about? They really need to bring in some replacements for Annoying Abby & Boring Quinn, because they are the wink links in terms of casting.

  • starry118 | October 9, 2012 12:06 AM

    *weak* links...

  • Name Ellen | October 8, 2012 9:00 PMReply

    Your Comment
    I think the show is great, sometimes I mess it at it's regular time, can we get a repeat or somthing. Olivia you are the bum.

  • Masha Dowell | October 8, 2012 4:45 PMReply

    I love Scandal. I watch it online, and I am growing with the storyline. I want Olivia to have a love interest that is available to love her though. The actor that plays the President is handsome, but I want to see someone smoking HOT for Olivia :) I want to see FLAMES on my screen w/ Olivia! I mean Columbus Short would do just fine. Something to shake it UP!!!! Kudos to the show for making it to season 2!!!!

  • starry118 | October 9, 2012 12:14 AM

    Yes, Columbus Short would do just fine...been wondering about that since last season :D

  • Just Another Person Talking To A Screen | October 8, 2012 3:21 PMReply

    Could anyone suggest some black scripted dramas for me to watch? How do independent critiques make shows better? Does promoting a discussion lead to new opportunities? Will there not be a Tanya "Michael" Steele to head the opposition no matter how good a black lead drama is? Will not a site like this always host the contrarian argument compared to more popular channels? Production is one thing, our understanding of power dynamics are another. Tony Soprano is strong and Olivia Pope is weak. Tony was codependent on his wife, his therapist and a organization of murderers. Olivia uses leverage over people of power to manipulate outcomes for money that allows her to pay several comfortable salaries. I don't think we know what a woman in power looks like. What are your examples of women in power? President by the balls and she has the biggest, baddest dog in the neighborhood. President Fitz is Tony Soprano, the wives are almost symmetrical, Olivia as the therapist, and he also depends on the homosexual Cyrus to prop up his own ambitions. The level of writing never matches what the viewer imagines. I think the character of Pope is strong. Kerry may be as stiff as Jennifer Anniston. Shonda Rhimes may create for a large audience that network tv commands. Who are some of Shonda Rhimes contemporaries and what black producers is she walking in the shoes of?

  • danieb | October 8, 2012 2:58 PMReply

    I kind of disagree. I don't think we needed to see Olivia sleep with the President. I think the writers of this show are fierce and brilliant. I watch this show religiously!!

  • NISH | January 8, 2013 2:03 PM

    THANK YOU!! I ABSOLUTLEY AGREE...SOUNDS LIKE SOME TING GOING ON TO ME.......

  • Kiki | October 8, 2012 1:11 PMReply

    *Yawn* the show is getting pretty good ratings so Shonda must be doing something right. If you don't like the show, simply turn it off and keep it moving --->

  • Renee | October 9, 2013 7:26 PM

    I agree 100% Kiki. There are maybe 1000 other channels- or read a book. Don,t poop our party.

  • Gerald | October 9, 2012 2:37 AM

    I did...by my wife and mom still watch it...but they hate the whole deal with Amanda sleeping with the prez who's married. Really sleazy when you think about it. Black woman sexualized again.

  • Taz | October 7, 2012 10:58 PMReply

    @ Charles Judson. like your POV. @Orville: Like the first piece Tanya wrote, it seems to be based on a specific definition of what an independent woman is. Let me, an independent woman, give another definition. An independent woman is a woman who makes decisions for herself. Right, wrong or indifferent. She takes care of herself, knows how she wants to live her life and for the purposes of this discussion, if she choses to have a partner, it is because she wants one....however she wants him. The decisions an independent woman makes is personal and does not have to make sense to anyone else, nor does she really and truly care about what they think. An independent woman can have insecurities, self-esteem issues, etc. etc. etc. That said an independent woman, hell a regular WOMAN, could have made the decision to have an affair with a married man because it keeps the relationship EXACTLY where SHE needs it to be. If Olivia wanted to have Fitz, she could shut her mouth and waited to see if he would leave his wife in the midst of a scandal. Or she could have leaked the affair herself and caused a major stink. Please. I am getting bored with the judgement made on a female show character. It is one dimensional and frankly, boring as hell. And so would any tv show based on it.

  • WOW | October 9, 2012 3:25 AM

    It's not one sided!? Please, let's tell it like it T.I.S... Ms Olivia is just the brown romp on the side. Hell, what's new, he's suppose to make Olivia feel like she's needed and in charge. That's the way good players play the game... and it's working. He got y'all fooled.

  • starry118 | October 9, 2012 12:22 AM

    @Orville They're addicted to one another...it's not one-sided at all. Olivia, Mellie, and Cyrus are the reasons Fitz is still in the White House, because he's indicated more than once that he'd happily leave it and serve the community in other ways. They're more into it than he seems to be.

  • Orville | October 8, 2012 4:00 PM

    @Taz I disagree, in the second episode, Olivia was clearly distressed she asked Fitz to "let me go" she's unhappy because she knows the affair is going nowhere and she's the one getting burned.

    I don't see how progressive it is for Scandal to show a black woman in a power imbalance and an emotionally abusive relationship. Fitz is manipulating Olivia she's addicted to him she wants to break free but she's having withdrawal symptoms right now.
    The show needs to show Olivia break free from Fitz and find a love interest. She needs to move on from Fitz it is boring to watch Olivia pine away for a man that's never going to leave his wife she looks desperate, weak, and pathetic.

  • bohemian princess | October 7, 2012 7:30 PMReply

    @Tanya, I certainly respect your right to express your opinion as you have in your two articles on Scandal. That being said let me offer you some sage advice. Just stop watching the show already. I don't know what you're expecting. This is escapism television in the vein of Grey's Anatomy or Desperate Housewives, or even Revenge (I realize that none of these shows are political dramas) but it's obvious that since we have so few dramas with black lead characters a heavy burden is being placed on Scandal. It's not meant to be a cerebral experience. Shonda isn't trying to break ground on the small screen. She's not making 'The Soprano's' or 'Breaking Bad' or 'The Wire' or whatever show you happen to think is the best thing to grace the silver screen in the past decade. Scandal is a night time soap opera. Accept that and deal with it or move on. It's a decent show with great acting. It never purported to be anything else. Yet some of the critiques I've read on this site have been pretty asinine and lacking in depth and critical analysis (i.e. Sally Hemmings? Seriously?) . Ironically enough things some have accused Ms. Rhimes of.

  • sandra | October 7, 2012 11:20 PM

    @Bohemian Princess - I agree 100% -On another note, I wish this website offered a way to secure one's username (different Sandras).

  • Sandra | October 7, 2012 11:11 PM

    @ BOHEMIAN PRINCESS, Tanya is a writer and you're yelling from the cheap seats. Now let me offer you some sage advice. Stop raining on someone else's parade already. Contact Tambay to submit your own opinions on Scandal. In the interim let Tanya do what she does best and you do the same... wear a mask while critiquing a writer from the balcony.

  • Winston | October 7, 2012 3:37 PMReply

    I am consistently amazed that some of you become so emotionally involved in other people's works of FICTION. It isn't real. It doesnt affect you. If you don't like it, then turn it off.

  • Charles Judson | October 7, 2012 9:58 AMReply

    I agree with Tamaby that the stakes for some of the storylines on SCANDAL are at times too low. As an example, the Quinn/Lindsey trial in the first episode lacked dramatic weight and immediate consequences. A woman is accused of bombing 7 people, the judge ends the trial just as the prosecution was clearly winning, and the media, public and political establishment goes along with it. Only David gets the blowback. Lindsay travels to see her dad and she's not only not hassled by the public, who has seen her face on TV for weeks, the most she gets is a semi-nasty stare. That being said, SCANDAL is not a character driven thriller. It is a political soap opera. And there's nothing wrong with that. Is Olivia a morally weak woman? Yes. She slept with a married man and even a part she isn't able to break the emotional connection they have. This does not take away her power. In the first two episode of this season it's shown that A) the Chief of Staff still takes her advice and heeds her influence, B) The President uses her entire strategy and parrots her words about him, C) It's the President that calls her, not him, and D) She's able to both call the President to have an investigation squashed, and call someone else to have a trial ended. Anyone that considers Olivia subservient to the President doesn't know what subservient means. In fact, Mellie's "What happened to us" conversation in the second episode, even if it was meant to manipulate Fitz, is problematic. She's already given up her law practice and she's playing the mommy card hard. That plotline from a feminist perspective should raise some eyebrows. Even if Mellie still has access to power behind the scenes, it's an illusionary facade of 1950s values that should be disturbing, especially since in SCANDAL's world everyone is playing into it. But, this is the same media that didn't call bullsh*t on a bad outcome at a trial. To Tanya's points about giving Olivia having her own Dilemma the writers have given her one. She's called Lindsay Dwyer. The Sudan storyline is The President's not Olivia. The Lindsay plotline is clearly meant to be Olivia's metaphorical Big Bad with David leading the charge. She fixed something in the past and that fix is now unraveling. It's unraveling by her own hand when she screwed over David not once, but twice. Did the writers bungle setting that up in the first two episodes? A little. There's a lot more cat and mouse a show like DAMAGES could and would have wrung out of David's slide from drinking buddy to antagonist. But, again, this is more soap opera than thriller. It also appears to be that the writers understood there wasn't much to be gained from the trial and they needed to get David investigating as quickly as possible if they wanted to start raising the stakes in the Lindsay case. Sometimes you have to make narrative sacrifices in the service of expediency. Still, the writers can do a better job of turning Olivia's pouts and pensive looks into action. Other than screwing over David, there's not much that I can point to that Olivia's done to make things worse or that backs her into a corner. So far the reveal of what Olivia and Huck did is great as information, but it's action that happened in the past. It only shades what we see now. And considering it's a network show, I'm pretty sure what we saw is more Olivia playing White Knight than Olivia pulling a Patty to save her own hide. Where the show seems most afraid to go (back) to but does dabble a bit in is the Olivia vs. Mellie for the President's ear. It's a fascinating dynamic of two politically savvy women who seem to be the real power behind the throne. It will be interesting to see if Rhimes and her writing staff amp that up. The possibility of more chess games between them could make for more fireworks. Is SCANDAL a great show? No. It's a mashup of WEST WING, THE PRACTICE and GREY'S ANATOMY that prefers archetypes over character and lacks subtlety. Huck's I don't want to be hired to drink Whiskey anymore monologue is laughably hokey and illustrates this best. I was waiting for someone to get up and ask him if Whiskey was code for killing. But, again, it's a political soap opera that's fairly entertaining and does enough things right that, while it isn't appointment viewing for me, is watchable and even fun. By the way, returning to Olivia as a morally weak person. She helps spin politics and hide skeletons for a living. She's already a morally compromised character even if she hadn't slept with the President. You can pull out her affair and that's like removing one ketchup stain off an already multi-stained blue dress.

  • starry118 | October 9, 2012 12:34 AM

    Good read...well stated & I agree with all points.

  • Carey | October 7, 2012 9:34 PM

    I am laughing to myself because as I was reading and reading, and reading more and more, I was wondering when Charles (with his politically correct, good writing self *big smile*) when was he going to cut to the chase? Well, I knew we had arrived when he dropped this-->" Is SCANDAL a great show? NO. IT'S A MASHUP!". In short, he said it's a soap opera. Albeit a "political" soap-opera, but an "opera" nevertheless. Now I'm sitting here wondering what the hell is a soap opera? Well, don't quote me, but I think in the old days each program had one sole sponsor and thus soap detergent companies were major sponsors of daytime programming. So there we have "soap". That's off the top of my head so again, don't quote me, but what is it about a series that relegates it to the basement tier of television programming known as soap-operas? Is this it-->"make narrative sacrifices in the service of expediency"? Or does/must it include hokey plots and archetypes over "character"? I don't know, but after reading all of what Charles said Scandal could-be and should be, I definitely feel and hear what JMac said: "Maybe that's the real issue with Scandal. I guess I prefer a nice slow build up than having crisis upon crisis bombard me each episode. When I first heard about the show, I thought it was going to be a serious, reality based drama - or at least more serious and reality-based THAN WHAT IT IS".

  • zeal | October 7, 2012 9:56 AMReply

    This is the best blog post ever by Shadow and Act. Please hire this woman. She was very fair in her critique and didn't allow her feelings to take over her criticism. I love Scandal and don't find anything wrong with how she critiqued the show. This is fair criticism. Please get with it Shadow And Act!

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