Thoughts On Debut Episode Of Shonda Rhimes' "Scandal" Starring Kerry Washington?

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
April 6, 2012 10:36 AM
31 Comments
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Alright... after months of anticipation, debate/discussion, etc, it finally premiered last night on ABC; I happened to be out socializing when it happened, so I missed it. But I know many of you didn't. I hope to watch it some time today.

For those who did tune in for Scandal's premiere last night, what did you think of what you saw? Will you be returning for a second episode, or were you not convinced enough?

I usually give new series at least the first 3 episodes to win me over, but I'm guessing some of you have already made up your minds as to whether it's a show you'll be tuning into from here on, or not.

And even if you haven't made that early decision, I'd still like to get your general thoughts on the show, and especially Kerry Washington as leading lady. History is being made here folks; this is the first hour-long network TV drama series to be created, written and produced by a black woman (Shonda Rhimes, who has received lots of criticism for the dearth of black leading characters in her shows), AND with a black woman as the star (Kerry Washington, whom a lot of you weren't convinced could carry the show).

So, thoughts after finally getting to see the show? And give me something other than, "it was really good," or "it sucked."

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31 Comments

  • LA industry wrtier | April 7, 2012 2:18 PMReply

    I've seen the first 3 eps and it gets even juicier! The fast paced talking is said to have come from the actual person the show is based on Judy Smith, consultant on the show and is authentic to the pace of that world. Cast said at a screening they were at times timed with a stopwatch, and told to do it faster.

  • Nadine | April 7, 2012 3:55 PM

    Got this off of a friend's Facebook page: SHONDA, JUDY & KERRY: http://www.hulu.com/watch/346082/scandal-meet-the-women-of-scandal#s-p1-sr-i1

  • Dankwa Brooks | April 7, 2012 2:40 PM

    That's cool! I'm SO GLAD that Judy Smith is a part of the show. She will keep it authentic. When I read that she was actually a producer and not just have the show based on her life it upped my interest 1000%. Nothing worst than having something based on a person and having the producers go "off the reservation" so to speak.

    And truthfully it happens far too often when the story is supposed to be about the black character, but wind up being about the white character. I think the involvement of Shonda Rhimes and Judy Smith should combat that.

  • Dankwa Brooks | April 7, 2012 4:35 AMReply

    I thought Kerry Washington gave a nuanced performance and proved to be an apt lead which a lot people are not. 

    Her scene on the park bench was OUTSTANDING as was the "lipstick scene" in the Oval Office for two complete different reasons, two varied performances. 
     
    The rest of the cast hasn't grown on me even though I like Columbus Short as an actor and as a huge 'Lost' fan was excited to see Henry Ian Cusick in the cast. 

    As far as Kerry, I always liked her as an actor, but that didn't mean she would be a good lead for a television series, but she is!

  • CHJ | April 6, 2012 8:52 PMReply

    FANTASTIC!! I'm hooked! Loved It!

  • Carlton Jordan | April 6, 2012 8:09 PMReply

    Absolutely loved it. I love Shonda Rhimes' writing style that mixes dramatic and comedic elements. And I am not too annoyed by not knowing every single characters' nuances the first episode. Obviously, like in Grey's Anatomy, none of the characters are who they seem to be in the beginning and are completely layered. I am excited to see how she peels back the layers for each character throughout the season. Lots of set up and potential storyline surprises. From my understanding, every episode after this one is filled with surprises and revelations. Keep watching!

  • Ava | April 6, 2012 6:05 PMReply

    As a writer, I was able to predict very quickly Olivia Pope's relationship to the President, so hopefully that was not supposed to be the big reveal because I spotted that a mile away. Despite that, I found Kerry Washington and the cast very engaging. At times, I liked the frenetic pace of the dialogue as well as how the scenes were cut. At times I found it too self conscious. On the one hand, I understand how characters/people who work in such close proximity over time-- on the other hand, I wish each character had a more distinctive manner of speech and point of view, all of Olivia's associates sound and speak too much alike. It makes sense that Olivia would employ lightning fast speech but I was left wishing that more of the other characters, somebody besides the overwhelmed 'newbie' would take a breath. I expected the President to not be African American and honestly I appreciate this, it would draw away from the show to some other ridiculous speculation (you know it would happen!) and who needs that for a show that is just starting out, trying to find an audience?
    I think there is upside to this show but I would simply like more variation on the dialogue between characters. All that 'rapid speak' all the time reads too "Grey's Anatomy", which I no longer watch because the sameness in the way characters deliver dialogue began to drive me crazy!

  • Nadine | April 8, 2012 12:15 PM

    @BONDGIRL - Oh no, I didn't see the post. Yeah, not a fan of the e-mail addy worldwide, but here's a temp e-mail... I'll get the real one to you through this one. nadine2connect at yahoo.com. CareyCarey... same to you. @BGirl - hopefully her projects will resonate with you.

  • CareyCarey | April 8, 2012 10:42 AM

    Bondgirl, I didn't even see the post *smile*.

  • BONDGIRL | April 8, 2012 10:37 AM

    Thanks for the Ep 2 link, okay they've reeled me in for now:) Sure, I don't know if you saw my post to Carey about a month ago saying to fwd Nadine's info along, just in case you mind having your email addy seen worldwide.

  • Nadine | April 8, 2012 8:56 AM

    Episode 2: Dirty Little Secrets, is available to watch now on hulu.com. Much better than the first, which was already good. Speech cadence is improved...

  • Nadine | April 8, 2012 8:54 AM

    @BONDGirl - are you still around? I told a friend of mine I would track you down for an intro due to your similar sensibilities and 2 projects she's working on.

  • BONDGIRL | April 8, 2012 8:47 AM

    Olivia's affair with the President was easily predictable, but I have to say that I was glad for an extra layer to her character. She certainly didn't read 1D at all. I was a fan of The West Wing, so I appreciated the staccato line readings, but after the 3rd "gladiator in a suit" line I wished I could stab whoever wrote that in. I didn't expect the ending, where she takes in the woman she was initially going to detroy as a client, and that above all else will drive me to care about Ep 2 and see how it unfolds. Kerry did a good job, especially against the king of neoptism, Tony Goldwyn.

  • al | April 6, 2012 9:32 PM

    I thought the same thing about how all the characters sounded the same. Relatively easy fix if it's addressed immediately.

  • Dankwa Brooks | April 6, 2012 9:12 PM

    An African American president would detract too much from the story with its parralels to real life @ this time.

    As this is my first Shonda Rhimes show I thought the rapid fire dialogue seemed like a Aaron Sorkin ripoff to me, but I guess it's her style

  • dean | April 6, 2012 5:23 PMReply

    It was interesting and so I'll be back for the second show. But that quick talk was somewhat irritating. I don't watch "Grey's Anatomy" or "Private Practice" but I'll give this show a chance. I'll probably give it two or three episodes.

  • Nadine | April 6, 2012 4:11 PMReply

    EPISODE 2: http://www.hulu.com/watch/348057/scandal-dirty-little-secrets#s-p1-so-i0

  • Nadine | April 6, 2012 4:09 PMReply

    Loved it... not sure how I would've felt if I'd seen only the first episode though... Great potential.

  • Concorde | April 6, 2012 4:01 PMReply

    Kerry was amazing last nite. The show's story line was elevated as the show progressed. It showed her strength, weaknessess and her vulnerabilities. I like the "speed" of the dialogue, because this show is not for everyone. But, why didn't we get to see an African-American President? Too close to election time? Will contiue to watch the Gladiator trail........

  • Cherish | April 6, 2012 3:46 PMReply

    I liked it. It has potential, but I wasn't blown away, at least until the last 20 minutes with Olivia Pope and the President (that was one of the hottest scenes I saw on TV for awhile.) LOL. But I hate the fast talking, cliches and all forms of melodrama crammed into one episode. And I hope that's the last we hear the "Gladiator in the suit" line. That's just one of the frustrating things about Sondra Rhimes shows. The high school banter and immaturity of her adult characters is aggravating. Hope she limits on this one.

  • Dankwa Brooks | April 6, 2012 9:04 PM

    Yeah the "gladiator in suit" line was gotdamn ridiculous

  • Lauren | April 6, 2012 4:31 PM

    Yeah... the scene with the president was the best part about the episode. Totally believed their relationship is Olivia's kryptonite.

  • Jug | April 6, 2012 3:23 PMReply

    I saw the pilot last year & liked it. Wasn't blown away, but already loved the script so I am on board. My only fear, is the darkness. Literally, it's a "dark" show-their office is dark, the clothing is dark & devoid of flare & color & a lot of the pilot was shot at night. For me, not a problem in the slightest, I lived in DC around the Gov't set. But for ABC & their standard demo, not "bright" enough & certainly not as "female" friendly visually as the rest of the their lineup. In the past, shows that weren't as brightly shot/costumed/set either got the axe or got the memo to make it "more colorful". That would be a death knell creatively to this show. But time will tell, I'm pulling for it.

  • Felix | April 6, 2012 2:15 PMReply

    Kerry is so right for this part. She will carry this show this season, but the writing must go beyond the cliches so prevalant tv dramas of late.

  • I'm not so sold on it | April 6, 2012 1:05 PMReply

    I will admit that it was refreshing to see a female black lead in a non comedic series. That said Kerry Washington's character seemed a bit forced. I'm sure the stereotypical strong-black-woman that-solves-everyone's-problems-except-her-own theme will fly for many folks, but I was a little annoyed by the end. However, I will watch a few more episodes, because lets be honest, black leads/producers/writers shows are few and far between. Just hope it gets more complex.

  • SayNay | April 6, 2012 12:48 PMReply

    I enjoy it, but I really really hate the "newbie" character. What's the point? Is she suppose to hold a metaphoric mirror up to Olivia's life....blah blah blah? I generally hate these kinds of characters because they're such an easy device to co-opt a storyline. For now, the show can be about Olivia, her team, and the crisis, but down the road they might make it about this newbie. At that point I won't watch anymore.

  • Ava | April 6, 2012 6:20 PM

    My theory of the "newbie" character is that we're supposed to be introduced to this world through her eyes, that is making a giant leap in assuming that we would automatically relate to her. Honestly, I didn't understand why she got hired, I'm assuming this job would be ultra competitive and only the top candidate would be chosen for what looks like a stressful, responsibility laden career. I didn't get why her? Perhaps there will be some reveal to that in episodes to come.
    I would have loved it if, a Black woman would've been in this position and perhaps down the road there might be an uncomfortable quasi rivlary between the two in the future.
    But I see your point, Sanjay...why couldn't we establish Olivia Pope's character and backstory first before incorporating this 'Meredith Grey' type character? My guess is that perhaps, sadly, Rimes may not be entirely confident that White viewers would be comfortable relating to a character that is not White. Hopefully this is not how she thinks because that would be a mistake. It really is time to stop spoon feeding audiences (which I find happens a lot in American media), let Olivia Pope be the protagonist and focal point and let the peripheral character be peripheral, at least in the beginning. Don't per-emptorily weaken the plot.

  • Wise | April 6, 2012 12:17 PMReply

    My only gripe was that within the first 30 seconds, Columbus Short was regurgitating Addison/Meredith/insert any Shonda female character dialogue.

    "Yadda yadda, I am...a...gladiator in a suit...I am...amazing...yadda yadda..so, no, you don't get to...yadda yadda." It's the absolute same cadence and style in every single one of her shows. :( But I'm in for the long haul bec Kerry was fantastic.

  • kya | April 6, 2012 12:14 PMReply

    Smart, Sassy, Sexy. Love the cast, they have great chemistry.

  • Shak | April 6, 2012 12:00 PMReply

    I enjoyed it. It was packed with a lot of information and you got a good sense of the personality of the supporting players without it coming across as false. I liked it to ER, where we kinda watch who this woman and her team is through the eyes of a Dr. Carter, the newbie. I did feel kind of exhausted at the end, but this premiere gave a lot more that most of the other shows out there, especially for a premiere. Also, it was nice to see many of the actors who had already worked as guests on Shonda's other shows, get some shine. The overall theme is intriguing to me because for a long time I felt like the media doesn't want to really admit that everything is about how you spin it, it's all a PR game, and I feel like the theme of this show may offer great commentary on how the world works (as opposed to how it should work). I'm interested to see where this goes (and really good acting by the way).

  • A mike | April 6, 2012 11:04 AMReply

    I thought it was extremely entertaining. I live in dc and it seemed authentically local, with the cutaways, attire, pace, and themes. I thought the cast was refreshing and Kerry Washington, having matriculated at GWU in the city obviously understand the power ethos of the area.

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