A couple of days ago I came across PostBourgie’s efforts to breakdown and ‘make sense’* of the television show Scandal. Their latest write up brings up a lot of really great points, ranging from technical (this shit is implausible, yo) to seriously problematic (why are the women only powerful when they are allowed to be by a man?). And, being a the foaming-at-the-mouth-cancel-dinner-dates-with-my-homegirls Scandal fan that I am, I felt the need to explain why, despite some of its issues, I can’t get enough of this show.
First of all, let’s get into the flyness that is Keri Washington. Besides the fact that I have loved her since “Save the Last Dance,” she is showing up and kicking butt on national television. Yeah, her Sally Hemings-ish relationship with Fitz is a little uncomfortable, but I’ll be damned if it aint hot. And after 8.5 hours in a windowless cubicle, sometimes heat is necessary. Additionally, she is the bourgeois woman’s LisaRaye – she finds a way to wear a white/cream/ecru blouse with every outfit, and SLAYS.EVERY.TIME. And her wig is decent. And she lip trembles. I’m here for skinny big-mouthed girls with lots of sass – Jurnee Smollet, Erykah Badu, and me? Olivia Pope.
Speaking of sass, can we also speak of Cyrus? He is a mighty oak tree, offering shade to everyone that dares come for him – Mellie, Liv, even the President. Yes. More epic reads and dressing downs (they’re hilarious). More telling the first lady “I’m a muthafuggin monsta.” More fussin’ and fightin’ with your husband. More representation of gays on television and more hiring gay actors to play straight characters. More giving random black actresses employment (hey, Elise Neal). More. More. I want more of it.
As a DMV resident it’s also lots of fun to have TV show based in the area because, well, you can recognize the places you walk past every day onscreen. Maybe that’s nothing new for New Yorkers, but for an area as maligned as the DC metro region, it’s nice to have some representation. I’m still waiting for them to go Southeast/Northeast/Alexandria/Maryland, but that’s a whole different conversation.
Maybe it’s that I want to support Shonda Rhimes.** Even though she found crazy success with Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice (which I could never really get into), having a show written by a black woman STARRING a black woman – that isn’t a Basketball Side-Piece or a Fake Housewife – means something. As problematic as Olivia Pope might be, she is still, in my opinion, far better than a lot of representations of black women we see on television. Olivia has a killer wardrobe and is powerful and is vulnerable and kicks ass (even though she’s always called into question by that damn redhead).
Let’s hope that maybe Shonda or her writers hear some of the very valid concerns that PB voiced, especially since they clearly respond to vocal fans. The show is not perfect, but Scandal, in all its soap opera-y, fast-talking, scandalous-ass glory, is still really good to me. I’m totally here for it.
*You can’t make sense of a show like this. You just have to receive it. Just let it wash over you.
**I also bang with Shonda because she signed Issa Rae for a show with ABC. And because Scandal is actually based on the work of a black woman, Judy Smith. She really seems to be trying to put people on, and I LOVE IT!