Friday, May 31, 2013

Now Watching: Scandal

Just about every person I know watches Scandal, and I'd randomly watched two episodes before starting a marathon to get the whole story. To be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with this show for various reasons.

First, I know I'm supposed to love Olivia and wish her nothing less than the best in life, but she gets away with entirely too much. Her gut instinct is supposedly as good as logic, yet it always seems to steer her wrong, starting from the first episode where she took Fitz's word over Amanda's. She seems nigh untouchable because of all the connections and information she has. Rules were not made for Olivia Pope, and honestly, that is a little bit annoying knowing that she won't face any real challenge to her position. Everything Olivia does, no matter how reprehensible, is seen as being for the "greater good." There is no personal reflection on how destructive and counterproductive her behavior is because "she wears the white hat." How she continuously burns David Rosen is a fine example of this.

I really feel bad for David who truly seems like a good guy trying to uphold the law, but Olivia makes it very difficult for him to actually do his job as the assistant United States district attorney. She tampers with crime scenes and evidence and usually manages to compromise witnesses and suspects. Then, after she's made things far worse, she usually calls him for a "favor" because she needs access to some key element or information. Her meddling usually leads to him getting the short end of the stick. He suffers for trusting, helping, or even opposing her.

As of season two, which at this writing I'm only 4 episodes in, David has been forced to take a leave from his job after losing a monumental case, a case he should've won, because Olivia called in a favor. So, Quinn is innocent. I get that. She shouldn't have to suffer jail time. Okay, but David presented his case fairly and competently. If I didn't know Quinn was innocent, I would've thought she was guilty. All the evidence strongly suggested such, and David had no reason to believe that Quinn was innocent. Hell, even Abby thinks that Quinn might be guilty and she works with her! But due process means nothing when standing next to Olivia Pope.

Play by the rules and you get burned by Olivia. Don't play by the rules and you'll still get burned by Olivia. Why do we even have laws if Olivia is going to make sure she breaks nearly every single one and still claim she's on the side of fairness?

Another example of how Olivia's means justifies the ends is Huck. I don't know Huck's complete story yet, but I know he's completely loyal to Olivia. I repeat, completely, as in he doesn't questions her decisions ever at this point. If she asks him to do it, he does it. At first, I loved this because obviously Olivia had to have done something to really make Huck want to stand by her through thick and thin. Then, I learned that Huck is ex-CIA and knows a million ways to kill a man and obviously suffers from PTSD if not other mental illnesses. Huck apparently has worked hard to purge--or at least keep in check--the part of him that enjoyed torturing and murdering people.

But then, Olivia needed him to do a thing, and Huck, in all his loyalty, did a thing, and now he wants to continue to do a thing. Olivia knew Huck was fragile. I understand wanting to produce a body for Amanda's family, but we're also talking about a person in a very fragile mental state being asked to compromise his mental health for her goals. Both are very sticky positions, but the needs of the dead do not outweigh the needs of the living. I guess it could be argued that technically she did not tell Huck to do that, but she gave him the okay to do whatever needed to be done. Don't act like she wasn't giving him unspoken consent to be a monster. I didn't like that at all.

Another thing is I find it hard to suspend belief at times with Olivia. Some of the situations she finds herself in ask me to set aside skepticism too much. Mouthing off to a dictator and not getting, at the very least, punched in the stomach? Yeah right. You don't become a ruthless dictator by cowing to some American woman. Negotiating for the safe return of a diplomat's baby, a diplomat who's shortchanged the kidnappers? Okay, if you say so. She should've been murdered in her sleep at least a dozen times by now. How has she not been murdered in her sleep? Huck aside, she doesn't have great security.

Then, I don't know what I'm supposed to make of this Olivia/Fitz/Mellie hot mess. Am I supposed to be rooting for Olivia or Mellie as far as Fitz is concerned? I think I'm supposed to be rooting for Olivia and Fitz, but I'm not. To be honest, I'm not sure if he deserves either woman. That's right. I said it. Fitz does not deserve Mellie or Olivia. They're too ambitious for his simple Simon ass. Fight me on this. Even though this show has done its best to demonize Mellie, I don't loathe her. She's trapped in a politicized marriage with a weak man who always needs someone to tell him to get his head out of his ass. I'm not going to sit up here and hate his wife in favor of his mistress.

I know Mellie has done things for her own agenda (they all have), but she is not the monster here. She doesn't deserve the constant antipathy she gets from Fitz just because he can't be with his mistress. She doesn't deserve that anger and contempt from him. She's no happier than he is, but she steels her spine and carries on. Fitz is like a spoiled, petulant child who pouts all day because mommy popped his hand for sticking it in the cookie jar. There may be no love lost between them, but she does her part in the circus. Viewers may not always agree with her or her methods, but she knows what needs to be done and she does it.

Also, it seems as if Mellie and Fitz's marital strife started prior to Fitz's presidency. So, why didn't they go their separate ways if they were that unhappy? I guess I'm simplifying things too much. I know how complicated relationships can be and I guess a political marriage is twenty times more complicated. Maybe the little things just added up until one day the realized they were on opposite ends of the pole and probably too far into Fitz's plans to want the political backlash that would cause. Still, I know the heart wants what the heart wants, but this is really irresponsible behavior. As a leader, he shouldn't be so reckless. Not just because of how he takes risks with Olivia, but how he disregards his own safety because he wants to be with her.

Fitz claims he wants to make a difference in the world, a difference that he feels the presidency doesn't really allow. When he fears his relationship with Olivia is about to go public, he said he's willing to give that up, marry Olivia, and be someone who makes a change outside the restrictions of the White House. There's a couple of things wrong there. First, Fitz takes every opportunity to remind everyone that he is the leader of the free world, which means he enjoys the power. Second, how seriously does he think people are going to take him after something like that. His integrity would still be in question. He'd be as much of a joke as Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Oh sure, people would listen to what he has to say, but silently, they would snicker at him. He'd be known more for the scandal than the actual contributions he'd made to the world. And if he wanted that freedom so bad, why was it so easy for Mellie and Olivia to bully him into staying in that position?

I won't lie and say that this isn't an interesting show. It can definitely keep viewers watching, but let's keep it real. Olivia is a political thug who grossly misuses the law, and Fitz is pudding. If it wasn't for some of the side characters like Olivia's team, Cyrus and James, and some of the intriguing situations, I'm not sure if I'd continue to watch this for the antics of Olivia and Fitz.

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This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

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Tiara's bookshelf: read

Deceived
really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

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