A Guide to Watching Scandal, for People who Hate Scandal

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Tonight is Scandal. Your phone calls will go unanswered. Your Facebook feed will be divided between Scandalous inside jokes and hate from the rest of us. The legions that don’t get it.

I’m your gladiator, Scandal haters. I’m not impressed by her ugly cry face. I don’t care about her damn coat and I’m astounded by how many stupid mistakes this so-called political fixer makes. Adultery is bad. But when your job is making messy, ratchet shit disappear, not fucking the president should be at the top of your to-do list every day.

You see, people who aren’t impressed by Scandal, I’m one of you. I’m mad that Columbus Short can’t get none. Even Huck, the obsessive serial killer with a heart of gold, gets laid. And he’s kind of ugly.

But not Columbus Short’s, Harrison Wright.

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Trying to think of the last time he got sum.

Sistas love this dude. He’s on that short list of intelligent Black men that intelligent Black women allow themselves to act all slutty about. Common, Idris Alba, Columbus Short, Andre 3000, Nas… But in the world of Scandal, a world where everybody is fucking somebody, Harrison Wright gets none. Does he even like touching other people, or does he get off on headlines and power suits? I’ll bet if he ever did fuck, he would grunt, “I’m your gladiator,” or something real serious and corny. But the world may never know.

People hate Scandal for more reasons than I am willing to tackle right now. And by hate, I don’t mean that colloquial, dismissive, jealousy kind of hate… People don’t hate on Scandal. They hate Scandal. And in the immortal words of Thando Kafele, I get it. I’m not like them. I’m one of you.

But my wife isn’t. For one hour every week she goes up to the bedroom and I cease to exist. And afterwards, when Facebook is littered with arguments about her show, things get kind of awkward. So, two weeks ago I climbed into bed and we watched it together. In the name of marital peace.

It’s something that we do. A little thing called compromise. She watches Walking Dead. I  watch Project Runway. I traded The Bachelor for Game of Thrones. She shows me her Scandal and I let her look at my Boardwalk Empire.

I watched it. There, I said it. And while I will not be going all the way back to season one to catch up – it ain’t that deep- but I got it.

If you go through life never having watched Scandal, you’ll be okay. You’ll still make it into heaven. Maybe. In other words, you aren’t missing anything. But, if the idea of Olivia Pope makes your blood pressure soar and you need to make peace with this phenomena, there are some things that you need to know. Here lies the key to understanding why your otherwise intelligent friends and family came to love this deeply flawed show.

First off, the show knows that Olivia is a hot mess. You can’t possibly call Olivia Pope more whores than she has already been called, on camera. Sally Hemmings? They did that too. But just so you don’t have to scream at the screen for an hour, they have this guy. Her father Eli, brilliantly played by Joe Morton. When he shows up, he accuses his daughter of everything that us Scandal haters have been thinking. It’s like one of us slipped past security and made it onto the set.

And I quote…“You’ve raised your skirt and opened your knees and gave it away to a man with too much power. You’re not rare, you’re not special, your story is no different than a thousand other stories in this town. So you know how this goes, you can call this in your sleep…”

The man is a mind reader. He could tell what we were thinking from thousands of miles away, through the veil of time and the membrane between fact and fiction.

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“You’re getting on that plane come hell or high water. And to be clear, I am the hell and the high water.” I want to say that to somebody, someday.

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Thank you Shonda Rhimes. If you give Eli Pope a show, I will take back everything I’ve ever said about you.

Secondly, although it is based on a real person, it isn’t a documentary. It’s not the West Wing. In fact, when it comes down to the realistic portrayal of political intrigues, this isn’t even 24.

This is fiction. Fantasy, set in Washington D.C. with virtually nothing in common with real life. So getting angry at it is kind of like being angry at the portrayal of the police procedures used in CSI New York.

Just in case you don’t know how these things work, if the writers have to sacrifice plausibility to heighten the drama or move the story in a certain direction, then that’s what they’ll do. And Scandal does that a lot.

Once you start suspending disbelief, Scandal is kind of fun. Eli is the best dad ever. I want to have Sunday dinners with him. I’ll bring my wife and we’ll talk about Mastadons.

And although Olivia is a little tightly spun, uptight, basket case, its fun to watch her teeter on the edge of a nervous breakdown. At any moment she could make her cry face, or sleep with a killer or give a press conference or something. You just never know. It should be a drinking game.

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The Ugly Cry Face. Her only defense against government assassins.

And her taste in men is so spectacularly bad that her ass needs to be on Jerry Springer. It would be the best episode of both shows. Ever!

But one more thing before I start swallowing the Scandal Cool-aide. Let’s get that woman into a Krav Maga class or something. My I suggest Sayoc Kali? I see Olivia as a knife chick.

Every third person on that show is a trained killer. Her damn dad is The Lord of the Assassins or something. He’s like a dungeons and dragons character.  I’ve seen her get mugged, pushed down and hemmed up. A lot. And the girl has such a pretty little skinny neck. It’s tragic.

I want to see her train like La Femme Nikita. Shit, even like J’ Lo in Enough. I’m just so tired of seeing her get thrown around. It’s old. She needs to hide a shiv up that fancy coat sleeve.

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Olivia needs Krav Maga. Who taught J Lo in Enough? He can be her next lover.

And get Harrison some tail. Brova’s too damned uptight.

I don’t usually write about TV. But when I do, there are zombies involved, like here, and here, where I discuss Black men on The Walking Dead, T-Dog, and T-Dog version two, Tyreese.