Thoughts on Scandal

I recorded a bunch of Scandal episodes and have recently started catching up (ie watching them). I originally wanted to watch because I miss The West Wing. I like the political drama and I like the fast-paced dialog. I also like several of the actors: Josh Malina (who should be in the Whedonverse somewhere, really) and Gregg Henry, who plays Hollis. He’s one of the best bad guys ever.

I’m discovering a couple of things. First, that watching a TV show all the way through and not waiting a week or however long between episodes makes you think differently. You get a better chance to collect up the clues and the developments. On the other hand, it’s easy to burn out. I’m burning out.

At this point in the show, I don’t have anyone I particularly like, except the two characters above, and that’s largely because they, at least, aren’t hypocritical. And of course, that’s part of the point–absolute power corrupts absolutely, and so does some. So does ambition. I’m going to be spoilerific now. So go ahead and stop if you don’t want to know. Although all these episodes aired ages ago.

Right now, we’ve discovered that there’s been a massive conspiracy and that just about everybody is involved now (including the president, even though he wasn’t involved in the original conspiracy). I like how everyone is struggling with what they want and what is right. But a lot of that is slipping into being despicable. The president, who is incredibly resentful and angry and feeling betrayed, just killed a woman to protect the secret. Because, well, why not? (My reaction was: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?)

I was wondering when did he become capable of that? After all, he’s been willing to destroy his political career for his mistress–finding out that the election was rigged just does it another way and doesn’t give the same payoff, but still, now he’s suddenly willing to commit murder? He’s in a situation now where he can’t trust anyone, which make him interesting, but he’s so very bitter and angry and repulsively vicious. Can’t like him.

Cyrus nearly had the love of his life killed to prevent it from coming out. And on top of that he, and a lot of the other characters, have this amazing ability to lie so convincingly without batting an eyelash that it makes me want to vomit. They can turn it on and off like a faucet. I’m beginning to think they are psycopaths. There’s not a lot human in there and nothing to sympathize with.

You have the ‘gladiators’ who are totally loyal to Olivia despite the fact that she causes them terrible pain and screws up their lives. She manipulates them and when they discover it, because she ‘must have her reasons,’ it’s enough.

So basically, I’m not sure I enjoy this at all anymore. But I plan to watch the season out to see what the writers do. I’m interested in the writing here because if they can pull the characters back to a sympathetic connection with the watchers, I want to know how. Right now, I’m not seeing any good guys. On the other hand, I watch Justified and can’t help liking Boyd, as dreadful a person as he is. Because he’s understandable to me. And maybe that’s the problem with Scandal. I don’t see how these people are staying in character.


  • Bethany C.

    What about Huck? I love Huck. But it’s true, a lot of the characters are totally unlikable. And we’re at a total difference of opinion on Josh Malina- I feel like he plays the same kind of guy in everything he’s ever been in- and I hate that guy. I hate his face. I hate how he talks. Okay, you get the point. Don’t get me started on Abby and Mellie. Blech. But I can’t stop watching.

    • Di Francis

      Mellie is fascinating to me because like Cyrus, she’s as changeable as the wind. Totally self serving. Don’t like her, but I am fascinated by the way she plays whatever necessary part. And she’s totally predatory.

      I’ve always like Josh Malina. Isn’t it funny how people react differently to someone?

      I like Huck, but sometimes he’s so freaking stiff that I don’t know if he’s playing the character as being so disconnected, or if he’s just stiff.

      Abby, yeah. I really disliked her when she cried over David saying she hadn’t taken the card and then pulled it out.

      I still have two espisodes recorded to watch. My understanding is that these two happen 10 months after Verna’s death. I’ll be curious how they play out. I’m so glad your watching and can talk about it!

  • Bethany C.

    The only thing that bothers me about Olivia is her ‘I’m around the president and I’m trying not to look turned on/scared/hurt conflicted face. It’s really exaggerated, and it’s the same face every time they’re alone together. Oh yeah, and the president is a total hypocrite.

    • Di Francis

      Agreed on both counts. I keep wondering if Fitz is up to a long term plan with the way he’s lying and cozying up to Mellie.

      I keep wondering if the plot lines will develop as deeply as they look like they might (and I hope they do) or if they will be let go or if they’ll are accidental.

      Oh, watching a murder she wrote and Hollis is on there. He has to be 20 or 30 years younger and looks the same. And he’s a good guy. Speaking of which, I like Hollis a lot. He’s such an unrepentant bad guy. But he’s the least hypocritical of them all. He lives his creed.

      • Bethany C.

        I weirdly like Cyrus. Despite that whole almost having his husband killed thing. Hey, he’s still alive. No harm, no foul. I guess for some reason I find him the most believable as an actual person.

        • Di Francis

          Ok, so I’m completely caught up. How do you like creepy new stalker guy/love interest? Cyrus is a bit like Hollis, willing to do anything. He sometimes thinks he’s motivated by patriotism, but it’s really all about his ego. I think that’s coming out. And that’s at least honest.

          Here’s a question. Do you think Fitz is purposely playing Melli and Cyrus against each other? And why doesn’t he just fire Cyrus? He was going to divorce Melli. He could be rid of Cyrus and bring in someone more trustworthy.

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