Why You Should Be Watching: Scandal

I remember last year when the Scandal promos started hitting TV.  They pushed that it was by Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy.  This isn’t a great selling point for me because even though I have watched Grey’s from the beginning, I think it has lost so much of its momentum and is way overdue for a series finale.  I also wasn’t really interested because it was like “this show is about people doing bad things and getting away with it.”  I don’t watch the most moral shows, but I don’t like debauchery shoved in my face 24/7 even more than it already is.  So I passed on even giving it a three episode test.

scandal logo

Then season two happened.  I kept hearing how good and addictive it was and I kept seeing previews for it amidst my other ABC shows.  From the previews I picked up that the main character and the president were having/had an affair, the President on the show got shot at some point, and the person that shot the President was probably some character that was friends with Kerry Washington.  This whole assassination attempt plot line was somewhat intriguing, and I figured whenever I hit a lull in shows that Scandal would be one I’d go back and try to watch from the beginning.

Well, as luck would have it, Netflix e-mailed me offering another free trial month.  I then just happened to have an extra internet cord and set up my blu-ray player to stream it, and then started watching season one episodes.  Well, less than a week later I not only finished season one, but bought the first five episodes on iTunes and watched through all of those, watched one episode on ABC.com, and watched the most recent four episodes on my OnDemand channel- effectively catching me up to this Thursday’s most recent episode.  So yes, I am hooked.  Here’s why you should be, too:

1. The show uses a nice mix of flashback story telling.

scandal flashback

The show starts with Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington- whom I know as the sassy sister from Save the Last Dance) owning an independent (sort of) law firm.  The firm deals with clients who need secrets to go away, cover stories to be told, or the truth to be revealed.  Most clients are involved in messy affairs, but Olivia has at least a shadow of a moral compass that guides her to help in just the right way that you don’t feel like the bad guys got away with it (more that good guys made mistakes).  Anyway, you also know right away that she used to work for the White House and it comes out pretty fast that she also used to be sleeping with the President (dun dun duuuuun).  At first you are like OMG WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!?!  But occasional flashback episodes (there have only been about three) clear up how it started, why it continued for awhile, why it ended, and why it isn’t really over.  By the end of season one, I think everyone is rooting for the unconventional pairing despite it all.  My favorite flashback has been explaining what led to Olivia leaving because it was both romantic and heartbreaking, as well as making you appreciate Olivia’s strength.

2. Mellie is one of the most interesting characters on television.

mellie scandal

Mellie is the President’s wife, who, in rooting for Olivia, you end up resenting.  However, I have also felt sympathy for Mellie for dealing with everything she has, as well as admired her for being so damn smart politically.  I think my feelings towards her change  from episode to episode.  I can even say that right now, after the most recent episode, I don’t hate her and feel bad that not a lot of people are giving her credit for saving her husband’s job.  I’m sure next week I will hate her again, but that’s kind of the beauty of her character.  Just when you are about to write her off, you get pulled in again just like all the other characters on the show.

3. It will make you want to wear fitted jackets and tailored clothing.

This show has such a great sense of style.  When I think of stylish shows I think of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, which constantly have girls walking around in way too short dresses, high heels, and low cut necklines.  I think we are all kind of numb to how risque this dressing is because we are so used to it.  Oh, of course girls wear mini dresses and 6 inch heels to first period English!  Not.  But Scandal is all about the tailored clothing and making everyone look trend-setting and conservative at the same time.  And this show is an expert at fitted jackets:

Love the peplum fit of this one!

Love the peplum fit of this one!

Off center buttons? Genius.

Off center buttons? Genius.

Even the baggier jackets are flattering!

Even the baggier jackets are flattering!

Signature piece of the show- this girl looks excellent in white.

Signature piece of the show- this girl looks excellent in white.

And don't even get me started on the fabulousness of the formal wear.

And don’t even get me started on the fabulousness of the formal wear.

I kind of want to go out and get a bunch of tailored jackets now.  The only two things stopping me is my teacher budget and the fact that I am not a mere 112 pounds (I even think THIS is a high estimate) like Ms. Washington.  That girl is SO tiny!  For now I will just admire from afar and start creating a mental coat portfolio for future shopping sprees.

4. The story lines keep you guessing.

scandal hospital

Here are some questions I have about the show, even having seen every single episode.  You will want to skip this section if you are serious about watching the show someday.  Fellow fans, let me know if you have any theories!

1) Is anyone going to find out what Cyrus did to Amanda?  I feel like they completely dropped the ball on this.  2) Did the first lady know about the assassination attempt (based on her conversation right before they got out of the car)?  3) Did the first lady ORGANIZE the assassination attempt?  4) Are we supposed to assume the vice president’s old chief of staff was murdered, and has anyone looked into the fact that he just disappeared?  5)  What’s Olivia’s backstory pre-Fitz’s presidential campaign?  6) WTF was up with Abby’s crazy midnight rendezvous with David?  I found that so disturbing. 7) How did Olivia and Huck meet?

I think at least some of these will be answered- especially since those flashback episodes are thrown in every once in awhile.  I am legitimately concerned, though, that number one may never be addressed again.

5. It will make you want to just sit or stand with someone for a minute.

olivia and fitz

I know there are a lot of hot affair scenes in this show.  They have to be there for a show called “Scandal.”  But I think the most intimate scenes were the two where the President asked Olivia to just stay with him for a minute without really talking or doing anything.  I would classify these scenes as those rare “I need to hug a pillow” moments you see on TV.  These made me really care about the characters and solidified my being a fan of the show.  Good job Shonda Rhimes.

For those of you who have been watching the show since it started, sorry it took me so long to jump on your bandwagon.  For those of you who don’t watch Scandal, I hope I have succeeded in at *least* making you consider watching.  It’s worth it, I promise.

PS- One thing I don’t like about the show is the constant use of those shots through glass- you know, where you can see the blurry line of a glass door as the camera moves the subjects back into focus.  These are nice but WAY overused.  I figure if I actually notice a camera technique, it’s used too much.

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One Comment to “Why You Should Be Watching: Scandal”

  1. Looks like I’ll be adding this one to my list of favorites soon after reading your review!

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