In a relatively short period of time, Scandal on ABC has become one of television’s most watched and most discussed shows. It is the number one show in its time slot for the 18-49 demographic and with that demographic also being the most social media friendly, the show is almost always a trending topic on Thursday nights.
Scandal is adored by many — its fan page on Facebook has swelled to well over 500,000 likes as if this writing, and the show also enjoys generally favorable reviews from critics with a metacritic score of 64/100. Speaking personally, I watched the show’s first season and the first couple of episodes of the second season and found it to be pretty entertaining – for a network show. Still, despite all this and despite how many folks in my circle are “officially obsessed with Scandal” there are an exorbitant number of things about the show that I absolutely can’t stand. Today I’m going to talk about them:
7. All White Everything
Ok. I get that Olivia is the good guy in all of this. I get that she’s always right, always principled, always trying to save the day — still, does she always have to wear all white. She works in DC. DC has winter. Not like a fake, two month winter, but real, snow on the ground right now winter. While exceptions can be made, generally speaking, winter and all-white don’t mix. I’m really not that particular when it comes to women’s fashion, but there aren’t too many things I like less on a woman than an all-white pantsuit. To me, Olivia looks like she’s perpetually headed to her sorority’s ecumenical service at its annual convention and at this point… it’s distracting.
6. The Fake-Great Writing
I can’t tell you all how many times I’ve heard someone say, or read someone tweet that the writing on Scandal is great. If you’ve never taken the time to really invest yourself into a great television show, I can see how Scandal’s weekly plot twists, cliffhangers and ‘OMG’ moments might trick you into believing the show’s writing is exceptional, but trust me… exceptional it is not. There’s no greater example of Fake-Great writing than in the whole #WhoShotFitz fiasco. At this point, Huck is supposed to be what happens when The Jackal and Nikita have an assassin baby yet, in his wardrobe there happens to be a fire-engine red hoody which he happens to decide to throw on when his super-shady girlfriend happens to lure him to a … you know what… nevermind.
5. Everything About Quinn
4. The Soundtrack
Does anyone know why a network television drama in 2013 might have the soundtrack of a blaxploitation film from 1975? It’s not that I don’t love 70’s soul. I do. It’s just that it always feels woefully out-of-place in a show about a DC fixer working her way through scandal after scandal. Like everything about the show, it’s way too forceful and obvious. Here’s a list of some of the songs that have played at various points in various episodes:
Sam Cooke – Nothing Can Change This Love
The Staples Singers – Respect Yourself
Stevie Wonder – I Wish
Stevie Wonder – Superstition
Otis Redding – Mr. Pitiful
Sam & Dave – Wrap It Up
Curtis Mayfield – Superfly
Curtis Mayfield – Pusherman
Edwin Star – War (What Is It Good For)
Sly and The Family Stone – Everyday People
Johnnie Taylor – I Believe In You
Black Heat – The Jungle
You get the picture. I love all of the songs… really. But I mean – at some point it’s overkill.
3. “I’ll Handle It” ~Olivia Pope Scandal Episode 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…
One of my favorite shows of all time is Colombo. For those of you unfamiliar, Colombo was a 1970’s cop show about an unassuming detective who uses his incredible deductive reasoning skills and humility to solve crimes. I bring it up here because Colombo, like Olivia Pope was always right. Every single time. In every single episode of Colombo that exists, Colombo somehow figures out who the killer is within the first 5 minutes of him being on-screen and the rest of the hour is spent figuring out how he did it. He’s always right. You know that going into the show. What was cool about Colombo always being right was that the viewer always got to see him figure it out. We always got to see his methods. With Olivia Pope, too often the reader is just expected to accept the fact that she’s Olivia Pope therefore, it’ll get handled. Instead of fully fleshing out the her character and giving us any indication of how she became this super connected fixer, we just expected to believe that, no matter how dire the circumstance, a solution is just an Olivia Pope phone call away.
2. Olivia’s Faces…
This isn’t so much a Scandal thing as it is a Kerry Washington thing. Don’t get it twisted, I like Kerry, but she gotta chill with the facial expressions.
1. The Ongoing Liv/Fitz Melodrama
Seriously, I’m still holding out hope that Fitz don’t make it so that we can move on to a more compelling plot line. Lots of people have written and talked about the dynamics of them being an interracial pseudo relationship, about Olivia not playing her part as a side jawn… but really – I don’t care about any of that. It’s not about that. This particular plot line just sucks. Ain’t no more to it.
But this is all just me. I’m quite certain a number of you love Scandal and are planning to let me have it in the comments. Still, I had to get this off my chest. What do you all think? Do you loveScandal, hate it… indifferent?
I know I’ve been a pop-culture curmudgeon these last couple weeks first my post on Django Unchained, now this. Next week I’m gonna change lanes… till then… y’all know what to do:
stay low and keep firing.