I watched Scandal last night, and as I told my cousin, I feel cheated. This show is getting out of hand, and I’m not sure I like it. It’s true I have a preoccupation with justice, but I can handle my “good guys” getting their hands a little dirty. But Fitz a cold-blood murderer? Not good. Sure I like my characters complex, but not so complex that their actions aren’t making any damn sense.
Denzel’s Washington’s character in Training Day? Good complex. Fitz snuffing Vera’s lights out, then giving a rousing eulogy at her funeral? Icky, bad complex.
And, speaking of Vera and her dying confession, what was that? This is the woman who betrayed her friend only to keep her seat on the bench, and now she’s all, “I gotta clear my conscience,” but then comes clean in what I’d call a downright mean-spirited fashion, not what you’d expect from someone racked with guilt. And then there’s the kicker, of course—she hired Fitz’s shooter? What? Why? To protect her legacy? Sorry, this isn’t hanging together for me.
Here’s the thing. I’m beginning to believe that Shonda Rhimes or whoever’s responsible for the story line has a clinical aversion to decency and that the only thing we can count on with this show is people behaving badly. At this point, the only consistently decent character is David, and he keeps getting his ass kicked. What are we supposed to make of that? Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if David starts acting up too, although I may not be around to see it.
Something is wrong when a man kisses his wife, and my stomach turns—that’s how I felt at the end there, when Fitz tells Mellie that she’s the only one he can trust, or some dumb stuff (sounding like a silly, naïve fool) and then he kisses her, yuck—but he can embrace his mistress, and it seems right. We’re being manipulated here in a disturbing way. I mean, okay, look, I can’t claim complete innocence about this, as I knew it was wrong to cheer Fitz and Liv from jump, but last night some really creepy corner was turned.
So you say, well, Crystal, in real life people are complicated. They’re not all good or all bad. And I say, fine, but this is not real life. This is an art form, a dramatic construct, and there are rules, and I think some of these rules are being violated, here.
I watch a lot of television, and I understand the notion of turning expectation on its head and surprise endings, and all that jazz, but there has to be a level of consistency, or a surprise ending (or any other twist) doesn’t feel like a clever move but instead a lame ploy by a lazy writer.
Abby pulling the Cytron chip from her blouse? That felt authentic. Cyrus (everything he does lately)? Brilliant. These people are hard-core believers, and I don’t quite get it, but I understand it. But the principal characters are suffering. Fitz, never perfect to be sure, has always at least struggled with trying to do the right thing. Now all of a sudden we’re supposed to believe he cares so much for the Presidency that he’s willing to kill for it? Hmmm … And so help me, if this is explained away because he’s suffering personality changes as a result of his traumatic brain injury, I’m going to scream.
See, maybe I’m dumb. But I started watching Scandal, and it seemed fresh, and slick, and smart with some pretty interesting characters doing some pretty interesting things, and now it’s just devolving into this cheesy, lame-o, soap opera with characters behaving out of character, and there’s nothing to believe in and no one to root for. The show’s central character, Liv, is looking like a sad, little masochist right about now, and that speech about how she wants difficult and painful, and all that crap? Come on girl! Get it together! We know Fitz is your Achilles heel, but enough already.
I expected more, damn it. I just expected more.