The first time I saw political drama “Scandal” I found it both irritating and ridiculous. The basic idea, about a political fixer named Olivia Pope, is certainly a solid concept. Kerry Washington, who plays Pope, is an attractive and capable actress. So what annoyed me so much?
First of all, Olivia Pope’s SOP seems to be sass-sass-cry, bitch slapping Washington’s finest then having a good cry because she is the president’s on-again off-again mistress. The president and the first lady, by the way, are both awful self-centred elitist snobs. There’s also the basic theme of the show, which is that the American public are absolute morons who will change how they vote based on the First Lady talking about being “an ordinary mom”. Yes, I know, this is the age of The Donald but still.
The show is based on a woman constantly trying to cover up the fact that her clients might reveal what they are really like to the voters. Nearly all of her political clients are shallow sociopaths. Her team are quite happy to stab each other in the back if the job requires it, with every one of them, including Pope, existing for work and leaving behind a list of failed relationships caused primarily by their obsession with their jobs. Did I mention that every character seems to believe it is OK to carry out absolutely horrible betrayals of people they love as long as they apologise after?
So why do I watch it, then? With it’s absolutely madcap plotlines? Because it is a guilty pleasure. It’s very watchable and almost every episode ends on a “Feck! Now I have to watch the next one!” reveal. Also Jeff Perry, who plays the Republican president’s openly gay and married, and incredibly Machiavellian chief of staff Cyrus Beeme and Joshua Malina (Bill Bailey in The West Wing) who plays a senior Justice Dept official David Rosen. Both are very watchable, by far the most watchable thing in the show.
There’s also an interesting conspiracy storyline running through it.
It’s also a show (now in it’s sixth season) that has figured out a way of getting different audiences to watch the same show. For me there’s the political conspiracies. For others it’s the story of a hard working woman in a difficult relationship.
Me? I just fast forward through the scenes of Olivia putting away huge volumes of wine alone in her very swish apartment whilst having a good cry to herself.