For me, summer isn’t just about basking in the sun, vacations and 90 degree days. It’s the perfect time to get caught up on the TV series that I have been meaning to watch but don’t have time to during the regular TV season. So this is the list I made for myself this summer:
Scandal was one of those, ‘I’ll watch it if I get around to it’, not one of those ‘I need to see this immediately because it’s literally been called the best series in the history of TV’. So color me surprised when I actually found myself not only liking Scandal, but becoming obsessed with it.
Now I’m not a newcomer to Shondaland, I’ve been with the kids at Seattle Grace since they were interns, and I just realized that I called it Seattle Grace, when it’s actually called Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital (RIP), an I’ve seen the folks over at Oceanside Wellness with my boo Taye Diggs. So I’m well aware of the addictive TV crack Shonda Rhimes stirs into her beloved shows. But I didn’t expect it to be this good.
Scandal begins its highly-anticipated third season TONIGHT, and I’m here to tell you that if you haven’t spent the summer (read: one week) catching up on the past 29 episodes, you’ve wasted your time. But – it’s never too late. Here are 5 reasons why you should start DVR-ing the third season now, and after reading this post, go directly to Netflix and watch the first two seasons. I’m telling you – it’s that good.
Before we start, here’s the basic plot:
Meet Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington. Former White House Director of Communications, overall HBIC.
She runs Olivia Pope & Associates, a crisis management firm that handles major scandals in Washington, D.C. and fixes them. Her team is comprised of her ‘Gladiators’ (which is also the nickname for Scandal fans): Harrison, Huck, Abby and Quinn.
Meet President Fitzgerald Grant. Leader of the free world, sexy grown ass man, former Ghost villain.
He is married to another HBIC in her own right, First lady Mellie Grant. Fitz’s right-hand man and Chief of Staff is Cyrus Beene, a guy who is willing to do anything to keep the President the President, and probs the best actor on the show.
Other people of note: US Attorney for D.C., David Rosen (played by The West Wing’s Josh Malina), White House Reporter/Cyrus’ husband, James Novack (Emmy winner Dan Bucatinsky), and Officer Jake Ballard (Felicity’s other Ben, Scott Foley), who I won’t reveal his exact role in the show.
Oh BTW, Olivia and Fitz have been carrying on an affair ever since they met on his campaign trail, and have been off and on while he’s been in the White House. So you know, probably the biggest SCANDAL there is.
If the basic plot wasn’t enough to convince you, here are 5 reasons to indulge in your next
5) Social Media
There’s a reason why I hashtagged ‘Scandal’ in the Post title. Scandal started as a midseason replacement last year. With only seven episodes, it still found a fan base, and was renewed for a second season. It seemed that with every passing week, it became bigger and bigger, and ABC execs finally decided to give it a full 22 episode season.
And a lot of its popularity is thanks to social media and word of mouth. I remember seeing it pop up more and more among the people I was following both on Twitter and Facebook, and it was the reason why I put it on my list in the first place. Since the show itself is highly addictive, people wanted to share their addiction with everyone else, and of course, in 2013, what better way to do that than with the internet?
Apparently Kerry went to Shonda and suggested that the cast join Twitter (because she didn’t want to seem controlling over them!) and soon they began livetweeting along with their fans. Thursday nights became an event. If you couldn’t watch it in real time, don’t bother going on Twitter. It became a worldwide trend every week thanks to the #Gladiators, giving it even more free publicity than ever before. Between January and June of this year, almost 3.5 million tweets were sent about the show alone!
Now it’s come to the point where the cast gets together before the next episode airs and watches it together in order to prep for the live tweeting on Thursday. And let’s be honest, watching your favorite show along with the cast and other fans is pretty cool. So I’m warning you now, if you see #Scandal, #Gladiators, #TheStormIsComing or #Olitz trending on Twitter tonight, you’ll know why.
Olivia Pope is a classy broad. A classy D.C. broad who makes thousands of dollars, and she lets her strong fashion sense be a reflection of her own strong character as a woman. Costume Desginer Lyn Paolo is the creative genius behind Olivia’s wardrobe, who picks the best of the best for Olivia. From Burberry capes to Dior evening coats to my personal fave, a Jean Fares gown that would even make me want to have an affair with Olivia (slash Kerry).
Fans have been dying over her style so much that Paolo and Scandal bosses partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue, and just yesterday, Kerry helped kickoff the collaboration at its flagship store in New York City. The famous window is curated by Paolo herself, which includes fashions are worn by Olivia, including Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Carolina Herrera.
3) Cast Camaraderie
Nothing makes my TV obsessed heart happier knowing that people on TV who play friends are actually friends IRL. And although there’s a lot of drama on screen, it doesn’t seem like there’s any drama off screen.
Like I mentioned before, the cast gets together at someone’s home the Sunday before the show airs, so they can watch the ep together for the first time in order to prepare for the live tweeting. And they post pix on Twitter of their gatherings (as seen above)! If you delve into the black hole of Scandal interviews on YouTube, you can clearly tell that they all really enjoy each others’ company, and even hang out when not on set.
They remind me of the Parks and Rec cast, which I think is probably the set I’d most like to hang out at, for many reasons, but mainly because it seems like they’re just friends tooling around, who happen to be filming a TV show together. That’s what Scandal is like.
2) Characters first, adjectives second
Shonda Rhimes is known for her “colorblind” casting. You can see it with Grey’s and you can see it on Scandal. Despite the fact that Olivia Pope is the first African-American lead actress on TV in a very long time, that’s not what she’s all about. She’s a powerful, confident woman first, and black woman second. In fact, her interracial relationship with Fitz isn’t even mentioned until halfway through season two, as seen in the clip above. Earlier in the episode, an angry Liv scolded Fitz for treating her like a Sally Hemmings to his Thomas Jefferson. In fact, race has only been mentioned a couple times throughout the series, and that’s really what it should be.
Also take Cyrus, a high-powered Republican who just happens to be gay. Just like Olivia, he isn’t defined by his sexuality. He’s defined by his ability, his fortitude, his passion and allegiance for his country, for the President.
Scandal proves that a TV show can have a diverse palate of characters, without them being the stereotypical “gay best friend,” or “sassy black girl.” They are just Cyrus and Olivia.
While my second reason on the list should be enough, let’s keep it real. The making of a really good drama/soap/Shonda Rhimes show is a hot relationship. And save for maybe Sam and Naomi from Private Practice, this is absolutely the hottest relationship to come out of Shondaland. Not only are Kerry and Tony extremely hot on their own, but they have an inexplicable chemistry that makes you feel like you’re being a voyeur into their sex lives. Seriously, just YouTube some of their scenes together if you want a sampling, but I’m telling you it’s hot hot hot! The clip above is from the pilot, where we first discover they’re having an affair. It gets sooo much hotter!)
Although I suppose the other thing that makes their love even hotter is that they’re divulging in forbidden territory. I think it’s easy for viewing to forget the onnneee little detail about “Olitz”: these two are committing adultery. We are rooting for CHEATERS. Well, a lot of us.
But I think that that’s amazing that a series can make us support people who we would otherwise judge in the outside world. Obviously no one is perfect, but the very thing that has most people tuning in is considered taboo in real life. What is right? What is wrong? Is it wrong because he’s married, or is it wrong because he’s forcing himself to stay in a relationship where his wife isn’t at the top of his list anymore? Would it be right to leave the First Lady and become the ‘Divorced President’, or just keep up the facade for the American public, knowing full well you’re living a lie?
As we’re about to delve into season there, we still haven’t figured out right from wrong, whether the Olitz relationship can still be strong or not, but one thing for sure is that if they’re gettin down dirty in the White House – we’ll be the pervs watching…
Scandal is on ABC, Thursdays at 10pm (No, I do not work for ABC or Scandal, I’m just insane)