After going off track with “Once Upon a Time”, i was craving a good mystery and a title like “Scandal” got my attention. It stars the stunningly beautiful Kerry Washington who i first noticed in the film “Ray” and just a few weeks ago on a bus where they showed “Littleman” one of the worst comedies i ever had to witness. “Scandal” though is the first opportunity for Washington to really steal the show. She plays Olivia Pope, a fixer who runs a crisis management firm in Washington, D.C. Pope was the communication chief (or smth similar) for the campaign of the subsequently elected US president Grant. Pope knows anyone and everyone from high ranking politicians to celebrities, and she is there to keep their secrets hidden. The character is almost a female version of “NCIS” Gibbs. She leaves the White House after a steamy love affair with the president interferes with her ability to see right from wrong, whether in her job or private life.
Pope’s team includes “Lost” actor (and the man of my dreams) Henry Ian Cusick who played the womanizer Stephen Finch in season 1. Finch was the only one who seemed to be on the same level as Pope, they learned from, and trusted each other. As for the other members of Pope’s team, blind trust and god-like worshiping would best describe their relationships with her. There is Harrison Wright (funfact: the actor was a choreographer for Britney Spears) a gladiator-in-a-suit type lawyer who would kill for Pope. Huck Finn is my favorite character, he is a former CIA operative and computer hacker who has killed for Pope. The other two women on the team are polar opposites. You have Abby Whelan, the firm’s investigator who has been written to be a walking stereotype of a liberal bitch. The actress playing Whelan is talented but the character downright annoying in season 1. The newest member of the team is Quinn Perkins who in season 1 is clumsy and confused and in season 2 turns out to be a possible serial killer (spoiler: she is not) and who is the only one who questions Olivia Pope’s life shattering decisions.
The show is a political mystery thriller created by the same woman who is behind the never-ending “Grey’s Anatomy”. Since i cannot stand that pathetic use of the words “medical series” i thought time to get Scandalous, and oh boy was it worth it. Season 1 only has seven episodes which is actually working in favor of the show. The audience gets a few random stories but even those help to introduce the cast to us. The underlying, fairly straight forward season-long plot of the president’s other mistress being pregnant and wanting to tell the whole world is played out with so many twists and turns that you cannot stop watching. The guest actors, including “Gilmore Girls” actress Liza Weil do a superb job of making politics interesting/dirty/outrageous/sexy/mysterious.
They lost me a bit with season 2, i am writing this after having seen the first 15 episodes of season 2 and while the twist and turns remain, a lot around it seems to be falling apart. The huge plotpoint this season is that the presidential elections were rigged and everyone, including Grant’s wife, best friend, mentor and lover knew about it. HOWEVER…this crap is drawn out way too long, i was expecting a juicier reason for all that was happening, in fact anything would be more exciting than voter fraud. The whole desperate love situation between the president and Pope watered down her strong female presence and made her another whiny Juliet-type “heroine”.
I think the biggest flaw with this show is that sometimes women don’t know how to write for other women. Reading Shonda Rhimes’ name as the creator of another hugely successful TV show is really exciting for me but the fact that the women’s (and sometimes men’s) actions and reactions on the show make absolutely no sense irks me with no end. Pope and the others have a great outline to be three dimensional heroes and heroines, yet them being fast talking, suit wearing, sexlife enjoying stereotypes does not elevate them from other romantic comedy type characters.