Getting Chose: A Scandal Revelation

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Watching the season 2 finale of Scandal was a welcome treat after an excruciating day at work. I purchased some wings (fried hard) with mumbo sauce from the carryout, drove to my homegirl’s house, and readied myself for the typical Thursday Shonda-Rhimes-and-Twitter fest. I was prepared to be shocked, awed, and *scandalized*, but I wasn’t prepared for the revelation at the end.

At first I was expecting….

Harrison to admit he was Olivia’s her brother or,

Huck to reveal his true feelings for Olivia or,

Olivia to be pregnant and not know who the daddy was (very Maury-ish, but I wanted to see Jake and Fitz duke it out). Instead, Shonda gave us a big daddy of a surprise ending.  The Brother from Another Planet is Olivia’s father.

*Record scratch*

Say what?

I was not expecting the strange black man that’s been showing up for the past few episodes to be her daddy. But after that plot twist Olivia Pope’s entire story started to make ‘sense’.

Olivia Pope is Jesus.

Liv and huck

Bless you, my child

Think about it. She wears white. Her hair is laid like the man in church stained glass windows. She has disciples, or “Gladiators”, who cast down their nets and become fishers of men scandals. Her crew is made up of the broken, the bruised, sinners, killers. Olivia Pope – even her last name is holy – fixes things and makes them right and doesn’t hold it over your head. And her father wanted to sacrifice her for the ‘greater good’.

So, in this bizarro Redeemer story, Olivia is the sacrificial lamb that takes on the sins of the country (Defiance) and will probably die unceremoniously so that Fitz has the opportunity to live an unblemished life. David Rosen is a pseudo-Judas, the one who ‘betrays’ Olivia (only he doesn’t really go all the way with it). Abby is doubting Thomas, always second guessing Olivia’s intentions, and Harrison is Simon Peter, her right hand man who’s next in line for Pope and Associates.

Stacia Brown wrote a piece at Atlantic about how many Christian pastors are using Scandal as material for their sermons, but from the article it seems that some clergy are more interested in scolding the activities of Olivia’s magical thighs that really using the show as a tool. Brown posits that Scandal can be approached from a less fire-and-brimstone angle:

The very best way for a church to engage Scandal—especially among feminist congregants—would be to consider that Olivia seems to believe she needs a savior.

In reality, Olivia is the savior.When you overlay the whole Christianity thing over the show, it makes *sense* that Olivia is never truly attached to anyone, or that the only thing she consumes is wine and popcorn, her own Eucharist. She’s not long for this world. She’s just here to change it completely.

Anyway. I figured all this out, after she said “Dad.” Olivia Pope is the Chosen One. Shonda Rhimes, you ain’t slick.

On ‘Scandal’…

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!