A lot of my friends watch and love Scandal. They badgered me to join the bandwagon and over Christmas break I decided to see what the hype was all about. So I watched the first episode of season 1 and I found myself hooked. Day after day hour after hour I was consumed with watching Scandal. I watched every episode of all the seasons up the latest one in about a week. I loved the protagonist, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington). She was brilliant, funny, a beautiful black woman, owned her own business, fashionable, kind, complex, and wow, her character took my breath away. I found myself, finally having someone on TV, that I could look up to, the “Gladiator in a suite”, no cleavage showing, white hat wearing, self-proclaimed “ fixer”. Unlike any other black characters on mainstream TV, Olivia was the leading lady of the show, a show about the life of an important black woman who jumped through hoops to fix the lives of her clients and who was madly in love and having an affair with the president of the U.S.A, out of all people. She was a hero in her own right, she wasn’t perfect like Claire Huxtable, and wasn’t asexual like the never ending characters of Queen Latifah, instead she was a modern woman. Even though I loved this show, so many parts of me screamed at me for being so drawn to it. First, she is the president’s mistress. She has a sexual relationship with a married man and father. She knows and was once friends with his wife, she knows his kids, and she knows she hurt his wife, but she continues. He even has another child with his wife while they are together. Second, she allows the president to basically forbid her to see other men. She is totally his, he can end the relationship when he wants to, but he can have her back when he wants her as well. He is emotionally abusive and overwhelmingly demanding. Their relationship exhausts me. Third, he sabotages her father’s career. As young black women, in college, I want to see someone on TV that I can relate to. I want to see a black female that isn’t a “Real Housewife”.
We get a bit of that in Olivia, but we also get a mistress. No matter her accomplishments she is tied to a man that is promised to someone else, a white man, the president. I have so many tensions about this, because I don’t know how I truly feel. I want to hate that she could potentially, be putting black women, back ten years, but I love her character because she is so complex and so real because in reality, we can’t always choose who we love and have sexual attractions to. What do you guys think?