Friday, July 7, 2023

Scandal on Disney Plus: A Series Review

White hat. Gladiators. Command. These are the words that come to mind when the TV show Scandal starring Kerry Washington is mentioned to me. I remember being a fan of this show when it was on TV, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was available to stream on Disney+.

Scandal started in 2012 and lasted for seven seasons. It is a political drama that centers around Olivia Pope, the owner of the crisis management firm Olivia Pope & Associates in Washington DC. For the seven seasons, the show tackles Olivia’s relationship with the White House and the people in it. 

According to material meant to promote the show, the character of Olivia Pope is based on someone named Judy Smith, who was also involved with the White House and later transitioned to having her own crisis management firm. The character was probably only inspired by her career, but I doubt if what she does goes to the extremes that Olivia Pope has done.

Rewatching the show made me look back on how extreme some of the things that happened in the show have been. The things that went on truly followed through with the name of the show. Some may seem impossible, but these days, who knows? Some of the things there could have happened somewhere.

What was a bit surprising for me was just how much sex was involved in the show. I don’t know if my brain forgot all about it or if it is because I am now older, but I suddenly feel like there is too much sex going on in that show than what was necessary. Have I gotten more conservative with age or did my brain just glaze over them because of the story back then? I’m not sure. I have no other words for what I feel about those scenes these days than this Tagalog term: nakaka-umay. It doesn’t quite feel as bad when said in English since it is usually translated to being sick of something but that’s the closest word I can think of.

The storylines on this show may get crazy at times (and the last couple of seasons weren’t their best, let’s leave it at that) but I must commend them for the great writing, especially when it comes to lines from Olivia and her father, Eli. If there is anything that I took away from that show it was that these two could have been spectacular motivational speakers if they didn’t involve themselves in all that quest for power. It’s not just about the lines themselves, but it is about the way these actors deliver them. There is no way you’d be convinced otherwise when they’re the ones saying things to you. That’s how good and how impactful the things they say on the show are.

There are so many lines from the show that I can’t forget from both Eli and Olivia Pope. With Olivia, it’s mostly lines that show how confident she is about who she is and what she wants in her life. That strength of character and drive is something that I liked about her. Her toxic taste in men (maybe from daddy issues?) I could live without.  With Eli (also known as Rowan in the show), I love his lines where he shows that not only does he have power, but that HE IS POWER. The things he says scream power without him directly saying it. The fact that Joe Morton is creepy good as Eli makes hearing these lines gives it even more intensity.

Here are some of the lines the Popes (I made them sound like some folk group, sorry Shonda Rhimes) have said on the show that I loved:


You are a gladiator. Gladiators don't run, they fight, they slay dragons, they wipe off the blood, they stitch up their wounds, and they live to fight another day. 

It’s handled.

I am very good at what I do. I am better at it than anyone else. And that is not arrogance, that is a fact.

I don't want normal, and easy, and simple. I want painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing, extraordinary love.


You are a warrior -- never reckless, never naive. Too smart to let fear drive you. Precise, quiet, calculating, you will wait for the right time, you will look at all the possible outcomes, you will understand what needs to be done.

Olivia, you're getting on that plane come hell or high water. And to be clear, *I* am the hell and the high water.

You can't take command. Command takes you.

You don't have to like me Olivia, but you are a fool if you don't learn from me.

It was nice to look back on the show one more time (probably one last time, it’s way too long to re-watch again). I almost forgot that there was a cross-over between this show and another Shonda Rhimes series called How to Get Away With Murder near the end of the series. I loved seeing Kerry Washington and Viola Davis together. Powerful stuff.

I love seeing strong female characters on TV and in the movies. I hope that I can see more of them in the future. 


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