A Few Thoughts on A Scandal

I enjoy Scandal. Even if the lead wasn’t Kerry Washington, I would still watch because it is hard to find a decent portrayal of a PR person on television. Between Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope and the black girl chasing after the teen pop star on Nashville, I have two examples to show my students, two people who break out of the “stiletto mafia” of white PR girls who populate reality television. And I am a fan of good camp and soapiness thanks to watching the full CBS daytime lineup at my grandmother’s house. 

What I don’t like is the chatter after the show. I want to yell at these people ranting and raving on Facebook. I want to tell them that it is just a television show. 

But I know better. Mediated images mean a lot, imprinting things on psyches and recasting dated stereotypes in new plots. 

I get that some people don’t like the show. I get that some people are bothered by the infidelity.

I get that. But let’s talk facts. 

a. Marriage is hard work. Kudos to those who do it and make it work. Kudos to those of us who realize that we aren’t capable of commitment such as my bestie who broke into hives and a dry heave when she committed her phone service to Verizon. 

b. But we are talking about a marriage between two fictional people. We are investing a lot of time discussing what is happening between two not-real people. People are writing dissertation-length posts on the subject, but you can’t and won’t spend 15 minutes talking to your partner or figuring out what is wrong with you. Telling behavior…

c. Olivia Pope is not a homewrecking hussy. She is not slamming a wrecking ball into the side of a stable building. Going to the OED will tell you that a wrecker is a person who breaks up damaged vehicles and salvages wrecked ships to obtain usable scraps. The key here is  damaged, fucked up, broken. Check the thesaurus for more words that could fit in the former sentence. You can’t wreck a home unless something is damaged and wrong inside the home in the first place. 

d. No one knows what goes on inside of a marriage except for the two people who are involved. People may think they know what is happening because of the appearances projected. The first lady still shows up to the church where her husband is preaching in the pulpit. It looks like she is supporting him, but no one knows that they go to separate beds in separate apartments. (See this Iyanla Fix My Life episode. It’s good. The post will be here, go watch that and then come back…)

That was good, wasn’t it? 

Sociologists have long talked about the duality of our lives. How we live and perform one way and act another way in our internal lives and our home lives. Paul Laurence Dunbar said, we wear the mask that grins and lies. 

Grins and lies abound on Facebook where I have male friends who are decrying the hypocrisy of a show where the lead character is having an affair…yet his wife, mistress, and side chick–all known entities to each other and all of whom tolerate the other’s existence–are answering on the same thread. 

Or the guy who openly flirts with me and wants to lay with me in the true biblical sense are talking about how the Bible does not condone the behavior on the show. (I am sure the Bible doesn’t condone those genital shots you sent me last week. But I digress.) 

Some of my married lady friends are aghast and appalled about how can we as black women applaud a whore/slut/mistress yet were once a whore/slut/mistress before they got that large rock on their finger, au pair in the guest bedroom, and the extra girlfriend on the side. 


So you may want to check yourself and your relationship before judging anyone else. You may want to pull back and examine some of the ratchet nightlife activities you engaged in prior to being saved, being boo’d up, being hoisted up onto a pedestal shakier than a Jenga structure after five rounds of intense play. 

It is a television show. Please, chill the fuck out. 

Published by tianajohnson90

I am an oil-and-water combination of humor, ambition, laziness, insecurity, certainty, procrastination, and drive. I am an aspiring romance novelist who writes by the seat of her pants. Waging and sometimes winning a daily battle with procrastination, plots, characters, and the day job.

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