Scandal On ABC: Seven Things I Hate About Olivia Pope And Her Gladiators

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scandal on abc

In a relatively short period of time, Scandal on ABC has become one of television’s most watched and most discussed shows. It is the number one show in its time slot for the 18-49 demographic and with that demographic also being the most social media friendly, the show is almost always a trending topic on Thursday nights.

Scandal is adored by many — its fan page on Facebook has swelled to well over 500,000 likes as if this writing, and the show also enjoys generally favorable reviews from critics with a metacritic score of 64/100. Speaking personally, I watched the show’s first season and the first couple of episodes of the second season and found it to be pretty entertaining – for a network show. Still, despite all this and despite how many folks in my circle are “officially obsessed with Scandal” there are an exorbitant number of things about the show that I absolutely can’t stand. Today I’m going to talk about them:

7. All White Everything

olivia pope all whiteOk. I get that Olivia is the good guy in all of this. I get that she’s always right, always principled, always trying to save the day — still, does she always have to wear all white. She works in DC. DC has winter. Not like a fake, two month winter, but real, snow on the ground right now winter. While exceptions can be made, generally speaking, winter and all-white don’t mix. I’m really not that particular when it comes to women’s fashion, but there aren’t too many things I like less on a woman than an all-white pantsuit. To me, Olivia looks like she’s perpetually headed to her sorority’s ecumenical service at its annual convention and at this point… it’s distracting.

6. The Fake-Great Writing

Must've Been Laundry Day

Must’ve Been Laundry Day

I can’t tell you all how many times I’ve heard someone say, or read someone tweet that the writing on Scandal is great. If you’ve never taken the time to really invest yourself into a great television show, I can see how Scandal’s weekly plot twists, cliffhangers and ‘OMG’ moments might trick you into believing the show’s writing is exceptional, but trust me… exceptional it is not. There’s no greater example of Fake-Great writing than in the whole #WhoShotFitz fiasco. At this point, Huck is supposed to be what happens when The Jackal and Nikita have an assassin baby yet, in his wardrobe there happens to be a fire-engine red hoody which he happens to decide to throw on when his super-shady girlfriend happens to lure him to a … you know what… nevermind.

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  • theSUNK

    The only reason I really focus on "Scandal" is because Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, etc are all on hiatus until Feb or March. It's a couple shows that I would much rather watch than Scandal. That being said I like Kerry Washington as an actress and Columbus Short is just a breakout role away from being that dude. However, Scandal is just a cool pasttime. A show that black people can discuss. But the thing I enjoy about shows like the Wire, Walking Dead, etc is that they just have great writing and character development. Shonda Rhimes is a great writer but in this show things just don't progress very smoothly. I'd rather watch Shark Tank, House of Lies, or a black web series.
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    • Belve

      This.
      1 disagreement from the list – I enjoy the soundtrack. The mix however is TOO high. They try to bang the music in and use it to drive home plot points. Fact is that is a senseless activity.

  • Roz

    I totally agree with #5 other than that you’re clearly a fan if you watch the show enough to comment. I cant help but to feel that you prefer reality shows over the fictitious shows that steers us away from ratchedness when I read your post. I overlook some of the points you’ve made about the show when I watch it, just to enjoy the entertainment and unreality.

  • amaris79

    I care more that a show with a Black lead character is #1 amongst their target demographic than I do about the actual show. I watch occasionally to give them the Nielsens. That's about it for me!

  • http://twitter.com/inomallday Shamira

    Sprads I thought I was gonna have to box you when I saw Scandal in the headline. There's been too much fake gender and social commentary from this freaking show (not specifically from SBM). But I like this post, as I do most of your writing.

    There are a lot of flaws with this show. Mainly, some of the characters have no redeeming qualities. I still do not understand why I'm supposed to root for Quinn in any way shape or form. She's supremely preposterous. Seriously, WHO TAKES OUT THE SCISSORS?!?!

    The same with Abby – I think that's the redheads name. I know she has that domestic abuse backstory, but Shonda didn't flesh it out enough for me to care about it. So all I see it a trifling and whiny chick who became a turncoat the second she got some Vitamin D in her life. After that, you can't roll with the squad any more.

    Also, anybody who's watched a Shonda Rhimes show ever can't be shocked by the writing. She uses the same tactics she used on Grey's. I don't particularly mind it, but when you know in your head "this answer is too simple, so Shonda's gonna throw a twist in 5,4,3," it does take some of the luster out of the ultimate surprise.

    And can Olivia stop trusting her gut? It's wrong 83% of the time.

    I really do enjoy the show. But I acknowledge that the show has serious flaws. Sometimes I allow myself to suspend disbelief and get into the story, sometimes I hate-watch, sometimes I envy Kerry's wardrobe, sometimes I stare at Columbus Short .

    Also, Suite ramps back up again tonight at 10 – same time as Scandal. Olivia Pope may just have to be put on the back burner tonight. I hope Twitter forgives me.

    • Larry

      "Sprads I thought I was gonna have to box you when I saw Scandal in the headline. There's been too much fake gender and social commentary from this freaking show (not specifically from SBM). But I like this post, as I do most of your writing. "

      Yeah, I didn't fall for that. I figured this had nothing to do witih all the other opinion pieces revolving around the show, lol….but the clearly the timing is perfect. #Smart!

  • Streetz

    Every show has flaws. Sometimes, a show is there to just watch and enjoy, like "popcorn flicks".

    You got some points in the post for real, I look past all of that and enjoy it for it being entertaining

    • cynicaloptmst81

      I'll just plop my co-sign here! Lol…

  • WIM

    Indifferent.

  • Larry

    I like the show and have been a fan since day 1.

    Clearly, I'll be the first one to admit that I'm not nearly intelligent enough ,nor have enough writing experience, to discern what constitutes good writing from poor writing…so I'll leave that up to y'all. EYE just know, like brother Streetz said above, that I'm thoroughly entertained when watching it. Maybe I have low standards…entirely possible, lol.

    Great write up, per usual.

  • http://glippost.wordpress.com Darrk Gable

    Like I said commenting on RealGoesRight post yesterday, I’m wwaayyyy indifferent toward the show. It’s just too formulaic. The premise started out good from the few episodes I saw, but it’s detoured into a spastic story at this point. I give Mrs. Rhymes credit for creating the show, but it won’t stop my flow.

    IMO, Justified is a much better show.

  • Stanley

    Can somebody learn every important things about a show just by reading its reviews online?
    I think I'm doing just that.

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  • RealGoesRight

    I really don't like Quinn. She asks too many goddamned questions and she's annoying as hell. Sure she got kidnapped, drugged, and flown across the country against her will, BUT SO WHAT? Olivia got her off the trial for murder and this jezebel don't even have the decency to be grateful…
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  • cynicaloptmst81

    2, 5, 6, & 7 are completely hilarious! Quinn get's on my absolute nerves. As someone mentioned above, taking out the scissors was the dumbest thing she could do! Olivia's gut def takes more than a few vacations a week obviously. And, I totally didn't think about the red hoodie being a bit too obvious when you're supposed to be living under the radar.

    Still good tv to me! :-)

    I need me an 'I Love Mr. Wright' t-shirt to wear on Thursday nights, LOL! MmmMmm!

  • gemmieboo

    LOL! i love this show but you hit just about everything i dont like about it – great assessment!

    but my #1 is Kerry's faces. esp the "surprised" deer in the headlights look while shaking her head like a tic patient – ish weirds me out.

  • http://twitter.com/BP_Speaks @BP_Speaks

    I SO loved this post Sprads! It's been a long time nice I've posted on SBM and this write-up has taken me outta my hibernation. I do NOT like the show for all of those reasons you mentioned as well as it's just overly dramatic. I do watch it though but I've also been known to stare at accidents and train wrecks. I blame my beau for getting me started, I'm addicted to the drama I guess.

    GREAT post!

  • Oia

    I'm with you on #5. #7 is one of the great ironies of Scandal, because while Olivia is right when it comes to work, that chick is as morally bankrupt as they come.

  • ThatDaDivA

    You clearly have wwaaaayyyy too much time on your hands!! Do you analyze the much LESS SUCCESSFUL SHOWS with white female leads???

    It’s not like there a lot of us MALE OR FEMALE leading a PRIMETIME show. Thanks for using SBM to spread your baseless & lowkey hate on a fab black sister rocking the airwaves and OUTPACING EVERYONE!!!

  • Ashley

    Ok the first one is seriously so petty it could have just been left out. I do agree that they need to delve more into Olivia's character and backstory so that we can get some sort of insight as to how she became so great at what she does. Personally, I love the writing and I do think its good I mean its not GAME OF THRONES or super spectacular but its fairly good. I love the soundtrack. I guess I disagree with a lot of what you wrote but I won't argue with you on your points I'll just agree to disagree with you. The only thing that really bothers me about the show is that they CONSTANTLY say how good Olivia is at what she does and its almost like hero worship from like mostly EVERYONE and its so over the top that it gets to be cheesy and just ridiculous. Nevertheless, the show is amazing and I'm glad that a beautiful black woman like Kerry is getting her moment to shine and has a successful show.

  • Ashley

    Oh it was EXTREMELY petty to comment on her facial expressions! She is a really good actress and she's "ACTING"

  • http://twitter.com/TBGIM @TBGIM

    booooooooooooo…… the one thing i hate about this site…. this blog post….

  • Dan

    Too many stuck-up, self-gratifying, conceited characters in this show that give the audience no reason to go along with their goof troop of a "holier than thou" charade…

    I knew i hated it the moment the cover picture came across my eyes which simply spelled out "Trifling" rather than "Scandal"

  • Emma

    OK I'm just up to episode 2-13 now and I feel like I'm going crazy. Am i seriously the only one who hates the characters for enacting and then covering up a rigged presidential election. SERIOUSLY is this show trying to make me happy that Abby stole the only piece of evidence that could prove that the President (who at one point would have actually walked away from being the leader of the free world to be with his mistress which again is f-ed up) was not elected!? Seriously how are they meant to be the good guys in any way shape or form. They full on suck.

  • Tabitha Swann

    That's mainly because "Scandal" was stolen from a screenwriter in NJ, now living in Maryland. Without the resources to fight the Shonda Rhimes machine, he was left with nothing. The script was actually a feature film passed to a rep for Washington in 2010. Strangely enough, the "idea" came to Shonda Rhimes in 2011 and guess who the star is? No such thing as coincidence.

    It's unfortunate that these so-called Hollywood 'stars' are allowed to go unchecked like that. But it will all come out in the wash. No deed of that type goes unpunished somehow.

    • Jeri

      If that is true (and I believe it is), they should be ashamed for that. I bet it is a brotha too who came up with it and these two women stole it without regard for the work he put in, his family (if he has one)? This is not even Shonda Rhimes' style, so it makes perfect sense. Disgusting.

  • Rose

    I couldn’t agree more. I really am disgusted that the writing is geared towards them getting their “happy ending” when Prince charming murdered an old lady. How sociopathic am I supposed to be?!

  • David

    I feel like your list is pointless reasons to hate a show. I feel like you got tired of people blowing the show up that you Had to go and watch it (secretly love it) and point of small minor things that you hate. The ONLY thing that I hate is the fact that the music gets really loud to the point I can barely hear the characters. Otherwise I can’t see how anyone will not see this as one of if not THE best show out.

  • Shubha

    Great observation!!! Kerry Washington has weird expressions…. and the entire thing seems like some regular thriller show…. potraying the entire thing at a national level sounds stupid.. Olivia & Fitz Grant affair A JOKE… Crappy Show

  • Pamela

    I agree I cant stand the plot line between the president and Olivia. The sexual tension is not believable at all and it is so boring yawn boring boring when she start thinking about their sexual experiences. boring. the show can do without the infidelitly and her stupidity that romance and real love has to hurt this much. MOVE ON

  • gillyrosh

    I continue to have the WTF face every time someone praises this show for its deep writing. *smh*

  • EAve

    It's TV. Way too much social commentary on something that is supposed to amuse and entertain. Love the show. Dangling plot lines, seventies track and all. It's fun with a big "F". Confident, highly educated, connected, powerful beautiful black female, rare to never on top TV shows, much less in the lead. Loving it. One dumb this is expecting us to believe that nobody in Fitz and Olivia's immediate sphere noticed their extremely hot affair other than the late Supreme Court Justice (that Fitz killed — I didn't mind, she had it coming and she was going to die in a day or less anyway). Fitz and O are so hot, everybody around them would have picked up on it and it would have been the talk of everywhere. Second, the intern was killed, Fitz and Olivia know that Cyrus did it and then everybody dropped it and Cyrus relationship with everyone moved on as if he hadn't committed a heinous murder. Still love the show because it makes me laugh and shake my head like most TV shows don't. Love the outfits and being a female, I love how Fitz begs. Come on — every woman wants a man to love her like that. Every woman. And IT'S TV, not always the highest art form. Calm down everyone. Loved your points, though.

  • Ronnie

    My Google search that brought me to this page- ' Scandal TV Series irritating' and this was just to see if there are other people out there who think the same. I normally don't like to watch drama. I started with Grey's Anatomy and completely swore off from Drama Series because they just drag on and seriously stop making sense. Shona rhimes has this knack of making her female protagonists cry at the drop of a hat. If Olivia is as strong as it is portrayed, a fixer than why she on cues start crying. I completely agree with you on this entire list and just an addition- the unnecessary morality of the show that Olivia portrays sucks the most-
    She has no problem agreeing to rig the election( supposedly she loves the guy and can't stand him loosing). She had no problem when Huck said he will kill Chambers ( job he passed on to Charlie), but she wanted Jake saved? Why? What's the reason? She used the Pentagon or whatever secure area thing to make a plan like an idiot when her name is leaked?!! I mean come on!!!
    The only people who looked for mole were Pope and associates, I mean the entire government was sleeping??!!!! And in between President has no work but to keep professing his love?!! Get over it man…… I mean a layman doing the same thing would be called a psycho but we are watching the president and his obsession. His wife is the only smart person. You are here for a job.

    I would prefer in every episode- they have a new case every week to keep the storyline interesting. Scandal is nothing but a cry fest by Olivia and her faces and other characters have nothing to do. President is sloppy- its pathetic!

  • Shireon

    I don't get what all the hype is about this show. I've been trying to give it a chance! Damn!

  • Muriel drive

    What is with the camera work? Putting me off watching.

  • Elaine Mendez

    ugh, where to start? Completely agree with you on the whole Olivia's faces. COMPLETELY hate them and have hated them since day one. When I first started to watch this show I expected it to be something completely different. I expected Olivia and her team of gladiators to solve major scandals and work together and I expected this to be the main plot of this show. Instead, we are introduced to a DISGUSTING relationship between Olivia Pope and the President of the United States, Fitz Grant. Their relationship sucks completely. I HATE IT! Fitz is the president, he should not be interested in sticking his joy stick where it does not belong, though I do understand the show is called scandal and their relationship is supposed to be a forbidden one, I am disgusted and exhausted of their relationship. Every time there is a scene of these two I feel like turning off my t.v immediately. its horrible. There are times I hate Olivia, do not get me wrong, I love how smart and passionate she is, but she is completely weak and has no respect for herself nor for the first lady, Mellie. Olivia's faces boil my blood to the point where I wish I was the writer of this show and show her to suck it up. Find someone better, stop being so damn weak. I admire Mellie, she is strong, beautiful and deserving of Fitz' love, yet some rat comes and steals her husband and ruins her marriage. I mean, come on Olivia, you can't have both, Jake and Fitz, choose and stop being the whore of this entire show. As for Fitz, he is a scumbag, and Mellie has been way too good and too understanding to this cheater, he is completely unworthy of Mellie's love and attention, which leads me to agree with Olivia's father when he called Fitz a boy, I LOVED THAT PART!! Mellie is G R E A T! .. Jake is an amazing man for Olivia but she is too blind and stupid to realize this, after all Olivia is no more than the President's tail, anything he says, she does and she has absolutely no control over her own life. she is shameless. .. but Hey, Maybe Fitz and Olivia should be together, After all, Olivia is the rat who sleeps around with her friend's husband and pretends as if everything is fine, Fitz is an ungrateful little boy who does not deserve the slightest bit of love. and they're BOTH liars.. yeah, perfect couple.. why shouldn't they be together?

    • Josie

      I think that ALL the characters in this series are reprehensible. There are not 'good' guys and everyone is whack. Harping on Olivia and Fitz without recognizing that everyone around them is just as messed up is failing to see the true premise of the program.

  • Josie

    I'm with some of the posters here in connection with viewing priority of this series. I get it, I enjoy it, but I don't think it is all that. I'd rather watch cable TV series than network series like "Scandal." I too don't think the writing is all that stellar and there is too much of a 'soap opera' feel to it.

    Having said this, the program has broken some new ground for network television and I enjoy the diversity. I hope that this program engenders more ethnically diverse programming going forward.

  • Salena

    Wow – you can actually feel the hate coming out in some of these responses. It’s a tv show people – why are you attacking the author of this post over a tv show. Let’s be honest, the show is merely okay at best. Besides SBFs shouldn’t feel too vindicated by Olivia’s presence since she still ended up with the white guy in the end.

  • joe, the plumber

    I agree with every one of topics, albeit without as much vitriol as the author. The first season was extraordinarily compelling, weaving us from story to story with the backdrop of quinn's mysterious past. Not unlike Greys Anatomy (another Chandra Rimes project) they begin with a character drama that is promulgated by a complex, ensemble cast only to abandon that effort to focus on a portion of the cast as as primary characters. The worst part about this for Scandal is that Olivia Pope is not a sympathetic character. She has walked into her chosen career and into the relationships that she has had and continues to bemoan her choices as if she was forced into them. Televisions deserves more strong, well-written characters for women, not women who, for all of their eductation and expertise, are relegated to being dominated by the men in their lives. This rant was a bit disjointed but i felt that this was as good a place as any to voice my concern. Thank you.

  • traytray

    people defending the show just because it has a black female lead character..you sound crazy! it is a good show but it does have it’s flaws and I think they were presented here in an eloquent manner. also this article is opinion-based and everyone has a right to their own opinion. so, just because the lead role is being played by a black female it’s wrong to criticize anything about it? come on.