Scandal Creator Smacks Down Criticism Of Her Writing Choices & Why Some Black Women Still Don't Get It

Did any of you watch the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards last night? Here’s Kerry Washington looking lovely as usual.

Before we get into this conversation, I wanted to share the news that Survivior/Thriver Tina Turner is poised to become a Swiss citizen and give up her US passport. This is important for several reasons, but what I want to focus on is how Ms. Turner is making choices that benefit her. She’s not holding onto people, places or positions that no longer carry water. She’s lived abroad for more than 20 years and is happily coupled, so there’s no reason for her to look back. Yet, some black women still don’t get it and will continue choosing the slow lane and throw roadblocks to impede the progress of others. Compare and contrast her choices with yours and ask yourself if you’re living for other people’s ideologies or your own? Does your cup runneth over or is it empty?

Who knew that a two-week show hiatus would reveal a potential hotbed of scandal controversy? Yesterday as I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline, I spotted a status update by writer Roslyn Holcomb who had responded to a separate public conversation between Scandal scribe Shonda Rhimes and tv personality Star Jones that took place on Twitter.  Ms. Jones asked Ms. Rhimes why Olivia Pope was rejecting Edison Davis for President Grant (click link for Twitter status) and Ms. Rhimes’ reply that Scandal is not a fairy tale show and Olivia Pope is not a role model. It has been pointed out numerous times, the title of the show is SCANDAL and it’s all about…um…scandals. I’m not so dismissive of abandoning the idea that Olivia is still a good person who carries herself with dignity.There’s no Scarlet emblem and she’s dressed often in white for a reason.

This seems like an innocuous question by Ms. Jones, but it belies an underlying message that presumes Edison is the best choice for Olivia. Why would he be presented as the automatic choice? Just a brief back-story for those who may not be aware, the television show Ms. Rhimes launched less than one year ago is currently the Number 1 show in its time slot on Thursday and continues to increase its audience share. This is important because it means Scandal has legs. Since it’s the only show with a black female lead who is also the center of the show’s plots (unlike the very weak series Deception), this matters. Also, the entire cast actively engages its viewers via social media, particularly Twitter where they do weekly live chats while the show airs for both East and West Coast viewers. That is unprecedented. All of this has been instrumental in generating interest in the show, but the reason why the show scores so high in ratings is because it’s well-crafted and executed, by actors who add layers to rich characters where viewers are invested.

It should be noted, these characters are flawed, make controversial (illegal even) choices and are often a study in contradiction. We have a Chief of Staff who hired a contract killer to eliminate a woman who claimed to be carrying the out-of-wedlock child of the President. We have a team of people who knowingly allowed for a rigged election (read the back story real-life speculation). We have a another former CIA contract killer and Olivia Pope Associate who was tortured at the Pentagon while under suspicion for shooting the President. We have a woman who faked a miscarriage to get sympathy votes. We have a woman who had a relationship with the married President. We accept these actions because there’s always an even more compelling motivation even if we don’t agree with them.

Luckily, it’s a tv show so we don’t have to worry about the real-life ramifications of similar decisions made by those in positions of power and influence. Kinda like real life people who make mistakes, don’t always take the higher road or do outrageous things. Weapons of Mass Destruction anyone? There are no saints on Scandal. I don’t necessarily agree with describing Olivia Pope as a non-role model. She’s just not perfect. If she was, as viewers of a dramatic series we’d be bored to tears. I hope Olivia Pope remains a contradiction at times and not self-sacrificing for appearances the way the writers of The Good Wife backpedaled with Alicia Florrick. With a good television show (play, movie, etc.) there’s always going to be a heightened element of farce, where an audience has to suspend a certain amount of belief in the mundane or the outrageous. Be it with an action movie where the characters perform incredible feats or accepting the real life plausible deniability from a political figure, we as individuals hopefully make choices based on correct values and ideologies. What we believe to be true (whether it’s valid, appropriate or beneficial) informs our motives whether we admit it or not.

When Ms. Jones sent a message on Twitter to Ms. Rhimes admonishing the romantic couplings of our heroine, Ms. Rhimes responded in kind. After the reply Ms. Jones continued to discuss her opinion using the #scandal Twitter hashtag and wrote: “I love #scandal. @kerrywashington is ridiculously good…but I’d love to see #OliviaPope reject the unethical & immoral for a good brother!”  Just in case you didn’t get the message before, she made it obvious. This reeks of black woman martyrdom. Why is my brain immediately thinking about the saying about glass houses and stone throwing? Why couldn’t Olivia “reject” something “bad” for a good man period? How does someone else get to decide what is GOOD for others anyway? Ms. Rhimes had moved on but you know what? She needed to nip this hijacking attempt in the bud before the anti-BW Choice Brigade’s backbiting gained momentum and derailed her latest show.

When people want to challenge or tear down other folks’ creations, they need to take a step back and ask if they are trying to control what someone else is expressing or if they actually have something of value to offer?  There’s a difference in having the necessary conversations and critiques about the images of black women, the rampant support of projects that denigrate us and the execution of creative license. The creative leads behind The Good Wife publicly responded to tv critic and fan outrage over a plot involving one of their series regulars (Kalinda Sharma) and shuttered the story arc, which I personally thought was a huge mistake. Sometimes the loudest voices do not represent the masses and whatever is going on behind the scenes, there’s a difference between gauging feedback and allowing random people to crowd control your work. I haven’t liked the choices of the lead female character Alicia Florrick during the past two seasons, but I’m holding out for a big payoff before the series winds down.  As viewers we may not always agree with the actions of our characters but have the option of letting the plot complete its course or not watch a show.

Given the backstage shenanigans that happened on Grey’s Anatomy, with actors who didn’t get along and what I’ve always suspected was the hijacking of plot scenarios to favor some who’ve since departed (and seen their careers stall), I imagine Ms. Rhimes would be very protective of this show. In the Next Chapter interview with Oprah Winfrey, she discussed the vetting process she put in place to minimize such conniving, disrespectful behavior and potential sabotage. There were many good segments and it’s worth the review.

Ms. Rhimes was brief and polite in her response to Ms. Jones, but she made it clear that she isn’t seeking approval from the”black love” or the “do it this way” police either. How does she have time to be on Twitter with an exhaustive shooting schedule and two kids? Now, Ms. Rhimes hadn’t mentioned that specifically in her reply, I am as have others. As regular readers of this forum know we’ve discussed at length how numerous otherwise successful black women (particularly African American women) who share certain dead-end road ideologies aligned with Blackistan will continue to limit their dating choices aka “nuthin’ but a brotha” mentality, instead of being expansive across the board.

As a character analysis, let’s briefly discuss Edison Davis and Olivia Pope as a couple. They previously dated for several years and were engaged before the relationship petered out. Then she went to work on then-Senator Grant’s campaign and here we are. We don’t know the Davis/Pope full back story – yet – but suffice it to say if he had her once and let her go obviously there were compatibility issues. Edison has had no problem with endlessly “dating” and sexing Olivia, but they’re not married for a reason. Is it ethical for a man his age to continually enjoy the benefits of a relationship without committing to the woman?

While it is not okay that Fitz is involved with Olivia, he has at least shown he’s capable of making a commitment. Sometimes marriages just peter out, due to neglect, divergent interests or external influences. It’s not fair, but typically men who stay in unhappy marriages won’t leave their wives until and unless they know they have someone else to be with, so there’s often overlap. Again, it’s not pretty but it happens. Olivia has options and so should every black woman – even if it means making a few mistakes along the way. As long as she doesn’t settle, let’s be careful how we address “moral” issues (from our very American perspective on what a marriage is supposed to be).  What we’ve seen thus far is how career-driven Edison is and how he benefits from his association with Olivia (when Fitz supported Ed’s appointment to Senate Majority Leader in deference to their relationship). How has Edison treated Olivia? He called her a “criminal, whore, idiot and a liar”. And then he proposed…marriage. Reeks of desperation! It must be love, eh?

We can debate the lack of ‘virtue’ within the triangle between Fitz, Mellie and Olivia and her “affair” with the President, but if you’re paying attention to the plot “Olitz” have not technically engaged in a physical relationship since Olivia quit both Fitz and her White House position two years ago. The Grants have a dysfunctional relationship, where it’s been alluded that Fitz went along to get along thanks to the meddling influence of his wife and poor relations with his father. Once they reached the pinnacle career-wise for a politician – the Presidency – Fitz realized it’s not enough. He bested his father, who flat out told his son he was a loser despite his military service, three degrees and being a Rhodes Scholar. “Olitz” have a strong emotional bond and are still very much in love with each other. Soapbox pontificating aside, if this was a real-life scenario (who’s to say this hasn’t occurred?) where a sitting President who chose to marry a wealthy, well-connected woman and settled into a mediocre marriage where acquiring power was the tie that bound their partnership and found himself completely undone after meeting an equally formidable woman (if not more) that he connects with who is not his wife, what is the appropriate response? Ignore it or pursue it? Reveal it and leave office, leaving the country with a Vice President who’s staunchly right-wing or fulfill his obligations and fumble his way through? Plus there are children involved!

I have tremendous sympathy for the characters and credit goes to Ms. Rhimes for expanding Mellie from someone who came across as strictly power-hungry and cold to a woman we see had subjugated her own ambition and perhaps lost herself in deference to her husband’s success, which now leaves them both ultimately dissatisfied because the parameters changed. It makes people very uncomfortable because we can logically see why the Grants don’t work together well as a couple, but are bound by a lengthy marital history and their position. We see how well Fitz and Liv are together, knowing that it’s going to be next to impossible for them to skip off into “ever after”, but of course the main fissure of energy (aside from their amazing chemistry together) is that he’s a powerful white man and she’s a visibly black woman and some people don’t like it. Olivia is not an asexual, loud or otherwise oddly acting woman. Some are like spectators at the zoo waiting for fireworks or a crash.

If the argument against marital infidelity was legitimate wouldn’t this be as vigorously debated about other tv shows? Then the flip side of this conversation would be about marriage and fidelity in the black community. This is a great opportunity for people to open the floor to serious discussion about the real-life ramifications of the almost non-existent marriage rate for black women, the majority out-of-wedlock parenting standard and the resulting negative health and financial impact that devalues the entire community and the lack of support of black women and girls.  Where are all these “good brothas” that Ms. Jones’ is fighting for an why haven’t they stepped into their roles as protectors and providers?

I’ve likened Fitz and Olivia to Charles and Camilla in my previous Scandal recap for a reason. The show has gone to great lengths to reveal their bond. The relationship between the Prince of Wales is similar enough regarding duty (marriage to the “right” kind of woman) versus who he’s connected with. It was horribly unfair to the late Princess Diana to be used as blue blood prime stock to produce an heir, but going further back the Windsors were never supposed to be ruling monarchs and only got the position because King Edward VIII abdicated the Crown to marry Wallis Simpson.

“But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love.”

Obviously “love” and “obligation” are sometimes at odds. Yet two-three decades later the love Charles has for Camilla had to be acknowledged and accepted. There is also a thread of American puritanical-ism at play that isn’t quite the issue with European viewers. In fact, in real life the current French President, François Hollande isn’t even married! He has a live-in girlfriend! That may not happen here in the USA anytime soon (New York Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t apologizing for doing it), but it helps add perspective.  Since Ms. Rhimes stated during that Oprah interview that “Olitz” is the primary relationship on the show (but doesn’t guarantee they’ll be together), as a viewer I’m already prepared for them to remain apart for awhile because the timing clearly isn’t right, not because there isn’t a deep, abiding love shared between them or their relationship is somehow inherently “wrong”.

After the assassination attempt, Olivia was so devoted to protecting his legacy and even planned his funeral. She and Mellie had to work together to reinforce Fitz’s power base against the interloper VP knowing he could have died at any moment. It was during these episodes you could see Mellie realizing how precarious her positioning was without Fitz – and how much she relies on Olivia despite everything else. Olivia doesn’t derive her power or identity from her position as Mellie does, so don’t expect FLOTUS to walk away quietly especially when she’s carrying America’s Baby. It’s not fair for Olivia to have to wait for Fitz and if she met someone else who was “appropriate” and available, obviously she should move forward. Edison is not that man regardless.

What I found interesting was how Ms. Jones referenced Edison’s appearance and race “fione brotha syndrome” as being indicative of why Olivia should be with him instead of Fitz as opposed to his character traits. The assumption being that a black male is the automatic go-to choice for a black woman. When we know and see it displayed how the majority of black males do not elevate the beauty of or protect black women and do not choose black women as wives if they marry at all. I don’t need to point out to you the historical standard for black males has been to chose light-skinned black women with long “good” hair and how that has further devolved into the racially ambiguous “blackish” woman with the ultimate goal of choosing white (possibly Asian and Latina) women.

So, I’ve been expecting someone to protest “Olitz” not because Fitz is married but because he’s white. We already know Mellie got pregnant to quell the mounting doubt that she and Fitz were in a dead marriage. It was a sticking point which is why Cyrus brought Olivia into the campaign to help in the first place. I’m not justifying this at all, but it is what it is. Fitz was going to turn to someone else eventually and even if he and Olivia remain apart, he will choose someone else because men are weak like that and he’s not Prince Charming. Just sayin’!! He’s made choices that have caused him to reevaluate his ethical code as well by even being with Olivia, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing her doggedly. The Amanda Tanner scare is long gone, he almost died and he wants his life in order. Everything is up for grabs right now. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the objector was not a black male (pontificater) but perhaps the popularity of Ms. Rhimes other shows and interracial couplings between black males and non-black women quelled that. Perhaps due to previous initiative in the blogosphere by black women promoting the interests of other black women (BWE) has also factored in. Perhaps because some of the show reviewers positions are highly coveted paying gigs. There’s been a huge uptick in BW/Non-black men pairings lately shown on tv and that’s no coincidence.

Yet, of course it was an unfortunate black woman who decided to signup for guard dog duty and throw herself on the precipice of black male interests by being the one to shoot off at the keyboard. Ms. Jones, whose failed marriage to an extra sweet “fione brotha” likely didn’t think the criticism about a tv character would subject herself to ridicule about her own personal choices. She also didn’t account for the cast to weigh in and stand up for Ms. Rhimes. If you go to the Scandal Twitter hashtag page there’s quite a few comments. If it wasn’t a big deal to her she wouldn’t have taken the time to complain in the first place.

Certain African American women in particular will continue to be horrified by the fact black men do not belong to black women. And vice versa. Smart women go where they’re wanted and form alliances with people and situations that are favorable – not hostile and non-supportive. I was very concerned Ms. Rhimes was going to permanently pair Olivia with a black male to appease the Blackistan mentality and am relieved she hasn’t. If you’ve read the Scandal related comments on Twitter and Facebook you would have noticed viewer snark in commenting how much the actor Norm Lewis looks like Bill Cosby by referring to him a Puddin’ Pop. Kudos to the actor and Broadway star (who has an amazing singing voice in case you didn’t know) for being the “fall guy” in this four-way because no man is going to fill Fitz’s shoes. Especially someone that’s been on the merry-go-round already. They’re not connected at all and if Edison is perfect on paper, you can see why they’re ultimately not a good fit for each other because he doesn’t get her. Plus, he’s intimidated by Liv enough that he’s tried to dominate her. No bueno!  “Olitz” had what appeared to be a final blowout argument where they were going to irrevocably cut ties, but then Fitz got shot and after surviving a bullet in his brain, POTUS told FLOTUS he wants a DIVORCE. I can’t wait to see how that conflict plays out!

Scandal has also avoided the dreaded sophomore slump for series that start off strong and veer off a bit (like Revenge). I’d dare say Season Two is vastly superior to Season One, though I still miss the Stephen character. As the show progresses it would be nice to be introduced to her family, friends and see her have down time, but I’m going to compare another plot development over at The Good Wife by mentioning that we’ve just been introduced to Alicia’s mother in the FOURTH season, so give it some time.

Olivia Pope is an educated, attractive, feminine and powerful woman. She is a strong woman with a little “s” – not a martyr or a mule. She is flawed, but not depraved. She is also career-driven. Does her complicated love life personify the modern Western woman’s dilemma in showing you can’t have it all (because excelling in a pressure-cooker lifestyle and demanding career requires such a commitment that everything else falls by the wayside? She has a team of associates who refer to themselves as gladiators in suits and they will jump off a cliff for her, yet they are all single and child-free. She is fully three-dimensional and grounded, but is her life an ideal? She’s front and center on the show and the love interest of the most powerful man in the world. Kerry Washington brings a lot of vulnerability and we see her internal struggle at denying the passion she feels for this man however inconvenient it is. The on-screen chemistry between Ms. Washington and Tony Goldwyn as President Fitzgerald Grant is palpable and completely believable. Without it, this romance thread would be DOA and Scandal would be a completely different show. Kudos to Ms. Rhimes for bringing out the best in her actors and writing roles that showcase their best work.  I wouldn’t oppose having a real-life moderate Republican President like Grant in office in real-life, especially one whose tv alter ego wants to affect positive change. The bottom line is we’ve not had a character like Olivia Pope before and she shouldn’t be the last.

Racio-misogyny is still rampant and despite all of her success (Creator, Head Writer, Executive Producer of THREE hit shows all airing simultaneously), Ms. Rhimes has had to continually address other people telling her where her place should be and what she should be doing.  None of her series are “black” shows though she has always written roles for black women. While there can be a legitimate debate about the representation of these characters, dictating whom they should have as life partners based on race is not one of them.

Ok, I’ve sounded off enough. What do you think? Do you think Olivia Pope embodies the Jezebel (or some other) stereotype? I’ve been wanting to write a mid-season Scandal recap which was barely touched on and if you don’t watch the show and want to catch up, Season 1 is on Netflix, Season 2 is on Hulu Plus and the most recent 4-5 episodes can be viewed at ABC.  I’m so excited for this second half of the season because there’s going to be a time jump, Fitz is going to find out about the election rigging (will he forgive Liv?) and of course Mellie has the baby.  Actor Scott Foley (remember Felicity?) is also joining the cast. Since #GoodbyeEdison has become a oft-used hashtag as people kvetch over how much they don’t like his character with Liv, I can’t wait to find out what happens.

27 comments to Scandal Creator Smacks Down Criticism Of Her Writing Choices & Why Some Black Women Still Don’t Get It

  • Marie

    I love it love it love it

  • Star is trying to get in where she fits in. She's Al Sharpton in a wig always chasing firetrucks when there's no fire. She needs to be tweeting herself on that awkward marriage she had lol.

  • Wow. Faith. You just knocked this out of the park. I am so sorry I missed this post. I will link to it. Love the analysis. You make me respect Ms Rhimes even more, because she did put a lot into Scandal. I have to buy the DVD set. She is very smart, and it's often too easy to overlook that kind of brilliance. Her show has so much material loaded into every episode.

    "Olitz" do have an incredible, sizzling hot chemistry. Frankly, that is true with a lot of bw / wm couples. And people just hate on that. Goodness.

    Love this post.

    Everybody hates Kathryn Hiegl.
    Edison looks like a younger Bill Cosby. Your comment about him dating / sexing O. and proposing after he couldn't use her connections anymore is absolutely on point. And you know that's what people want from bw -- to be everybody's safety net.
    Tony Goldwyn -- I'd hit that. Seriously, I don't think anyone is telling him what to do in those love scenes, that's all him. :)

    • Faith

      Your comment is cracking me up! If you have spare time you should read the cast\’s Twitter feeds. Apparently ABC wanted everyone to use Twitter as a means to help promote the show, but those who weren\’t using it before (like Goldwyn) love it. He is happily married in real life -- but I don\’t think he considers his role as Fitz a chore AT ALL. Hahaha!! For all we know those sex scenes -- which leave a lot to the imagination the way they\’re filmed -- are also the vision of how Ms. Rhimes wants to show how well certain people (namely BW & WM) can connect. Or it\’s part personal fantasy of how women imagine romance novel scenes coming to life. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Dana

    well written piece….thank you over and over again. Been there done that, let's move on.

  • Faith

    Thanks for the comments everyone. Apparently everybody's jumping all over poor Star. I'm not mad at her, she's just another indoctrinated woman not satisfied with her love life because she's holding out for the "good" brotha. It's her choice. This was a conversation bound to blow up, so it was good to get it out of the way.

  • Kay Ware

    This writer/producer is brilliant. Lets give credit where credit is due people, and say this creator is on the level of Mr Cherry of Deperate House Wives and Devious Maids plus. I work in the world of film and television, and can appreciate a great script, and show over-all. It’s so much garbage on TV now. Folks…. Keep in mind, this is only entertainment and the winner at the end of the day is HIGH RATINGS. CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE, all the TIME.
    Mara Brock Akil is another one of my favorites.
    Ms Rhimes…… YOUR WINNING

  • tymetravelife

    This is great writing (almost prose like). I enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed ctching up w/Scandal on netflix & hulu this past weekend.
    The actor who plays Edison Davis is very skilled & charismatic (thanks for providing further info on his background as an actor). And I find all the actors in Scandal to be just as skilled & talented.
    I gotta say that my fav is Huck. I am so pulling for him to become less broken & “my precious like” about his tools & his skill at torture. People are focused on Olivia’s romances right now, but there’s another love in her life & that is Huck.
    Really enjoyed this, Faith.

  • Francene

    You said a mouth full in this article. Str Jones needs to take a seat. The connection between Olivia and Fitz is what we al want, whether the significant other is white, black, asian or hispanic. Just one thing: I don't think Fitz is the father of Mellie's baby.

  • shannon O

    Umm…Star Jones?…hardly the poster queen for marriage…especially after her sham of a marriage to a gay guy…desperate much?

  • ladylittlefoot

    THIS --.>> Bellamy Young who plays Mellie Grant is tearing up her would-be Lady Macbeth/FLOTUS role and even though she needs to be taken down, I love watching her. That's why the show is so good. I'm rooting for her and I can't stand her all at the same time because everyone has just enough dark and light to make them compelling to watch.

    I whole heartedly agree. She is the character I want to dislike but I can't. Bellamy Young has made me love her character and be sympathetic to her while wanting to punch her into next Tuesday.

    Loved your analysis.

  • Star Jones, need to concentrate on her own life. Scandal is show, fiction. Okay, so Olivia has an affair with a married man. If she felt that she didn't like that. Well write your own show. Don't criticise and go on tweeter, it looks so stupid and immature. She is a big hard back woman of 40s. What is the real issue, Star is educated and may be she should be smart and maybe, she would get best out of her own life.

  • #1 Scandal is without question the best show ever on a major network and honestly when I saw the first episode I thought it would go down hill and end up cancelled, girl was I wrong! I love Olivia & Fitz relationship and I'm a sole advocate for interracial relationships. With that said I think that Shonda Rhines have finally given normal black women a voice, being that we are not the typical, loud mouth, mammy/jezabel, oversexed/asexual mule that people are so used to seeing in the media. Judy Smith's work and her story is what got me interested in watching this show, and to see a woman be HUMAN and yet so powerful and smart is very refreshing to see. I for one will not tolerate any black woman doing coonery/bafoonery because that doesn't represent me. period. So I will continue to watch this show and see more growing audiences of all races getting to know the REAL black woman that is Olivia Carolyn Pope.

    #2 Star Jones can go take a thousand seats with her "nuttin but a brotha" dumbass. Didn't her marriage end with her being girlfriends with her gay husband??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    • Faith

      I hate to say it, but people are so enraptured or furious and still VERY curious about Olitz and their combined power dynamic and yes his being a white male who's appealing is a DRAW that if Shonda had NOT shifted the direction of the show (because Steven was originally going to be Liv's main love interest) I don't think the show would have the numbers. It could have been a procedural about DC life and we could've had ripped-from-the-headlines "Fixer Case" every week, but it would be a completely different show. And it would have been cancelled. So pople can squirm about the moral implications (as if people REALLY care about marriage when they watch crap like the Bachelor) they say matters or straight up hate, but they are WATCHING. Now, I just want to know if Fitz will cool his jets over the divorce after he finds out about the rigged votes in Defiance.

  • Emmy

    I saw this post on a shameful gossip site where they were debating Team Edison. The poster had a great response with which I agree… my question is, "Has Star ever truly been in love?", if she had, she would never have made her twitter statement.

    Here's the LONG post below in response to people's dislike of Olivia the character and her relationship with Fitz:

    "REAL QUESTION: Have you (and those who agree with you -- and don't like Olivia) ever been in a relationship as an accomplished woman with an accomplished man? I've been wondering about this because I haven't seen this discussion anywhere on the Internet.

    THERE ARE THESE THINGS, that certain types of powerful men do to powerfully successful women who are supposed to be their partners -- in a nutshell, they try to control these women (there is a bell curve because these male behaviors also mirror the behaviors of men who feel powerless in their society). If you're the popular chick, there are dudes who will want to control you and prove their manhood by making you do what he says, when he says it. Unreasonable things. "Don't talk to this person". "Don't go to this event". "Stop what you're doing and pay attention to me" even if you are on a deadline or have other responsibilities. Even though I am Team Edison (but not anti-Olitz), it is because I am a great fan of Norm Lewis. The character was not an unrealistic concoction of Shonda Rhimes or simply "poor writing", it is actually the opposite and a real phenomenon.

    Edison is a powerful man and he WAS engaged to one of the most powerful women in D.C., meaning the U.S. Edison, essentially, was pissing all over Olivia's life in order to stake his claim. His character is an egomaniac. That is not attractive and is overbearing. He was smothering Olivia with his "questionable" manhood in his search for damn affirmation every two seconds.

    From the moment he started harassing her about her past relationships, he should have, being the alpha male he believes himself to be, had enough confidence to have patience with Olivia. He also, like a child, didn't TRY to understand the "Mind -- Body" connection for Olivia (or any woman) and her lack of a sex-drive days after being on the scene of the assassination-attempt of her client/boss/friend (as far as he knew) and the murder of the press secretary, her former campaign intern. Can he give her a break? Also, she is woman enough to know that he was marking his territory by having his office deliver documents to her home -- an act that would otherwise be seen as sweet or benign, but clearly, based on his behaviors, his way of controlling her image and expectations. She also has a reputation, but he has no regard for it. With all of that… yeah, you're only gonna get a response every 3rd call, 'cause you're becoming a nuisance and if you keep pushing it, you're gonna' get dropped.

    Do you all not see that it has less to do with this Fitz dude being White and more his being emotive? Fitz tells Olivia how he is feeling… about her. He does not feel like less of a man if he reveals his feelings to her -- tells her that he needs her, etc… If Blair Underwood/Taye Digs/ Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje *yum*/Isaiah Washington were playing "Edison", "Edison" would be JUST as annoying. If Blair Underwood, etc… were playing "Fitz", "Fitz" would be JUST as, if not more, desirable (depending on how they worked it).

    Maybe this is the problem with the Black females who are judging the Black woman fans of the show. Maybe, because they've never experienced it, they don't even know expressions of love when it is right in front of their faces. "Infidelity" has been oversimplified in Black movies/media -- ask Tyler Perry. Have they all expressed their disdain there, cursed and judged his fanbase? Or is everyone hung up on the race of President Fitz. I'm not saying it absolutely does not matter, as there are deeper ramifications, but getting uptight about the act of infidelity…watchin g a show when one doesn't like the lead? That just sounds negative. I would hope one wouldn't watch and stress themselves out unnecessarily. Why watch a show you don't like? Black peeps don't have to watch a show because there is a Black lead, especially when they don't understand it,

    Shonda is great and a pioneer. Not sure if you or others thought she was an asshole for engaging all of her black males, on Grey's Anatomy, in interracial relationships. Washington and Oh (LOVED that couple -- love Oh), the Chief and Meredith Grey's mother (the "love of his life" although he was married to a Black woman who thought she was in a happy marriage), Jesse Williams and the redhead… the problem with the SCANDAL stories people seem to have is nothing new for Shonda as a concept, just gender. A gender that when combined with race, gets over-analyzed and over criticized to the point of sabotage and crab-in-a-barrel syndrome. "

    • Faith

      Faith here, but I'm not on my computer and am signing in as a guest. Thanks for this Emmy. That sums most of it up in a nutshell. My post was already so long that I need to do a separate episode recap but this is exactly how I see Edison. Edison knows but he can't prove Olivia had the relationship with Fitz and he doesn't even want to contemplate it because he will feel woefully inadequate. Fitz has enough confidence that he doesn't feel the need to prove himself. I feel whether Shonda intended to or not, encapsulate the way black males feel inadequate and have to continually puff themselves up while simultaneously knocking down the women in their lives. Now I tend to focus on the BW/BM core dysfunction, but as we see it played out, BM take their messiness to white/asian/latina women as well and there are far too many examples to mention. Of course this is what a lot of insecure males do, but seeing someone like Edison, who is in the 1% group of super successful black males and even rarer chooses a black woman (who's still lighter in complexion by the way) still act like he's in a pissing contest with the woman he claims to love really makes a statement. IN terms of inappropriate relationships, the Edison/Olivia pairing is far more offensive to me that Fitz/Olivia because thy are clearly so in sync.

  • tia13

    In the words of Fizgerald Grant " I agree with what you said very astute"

  • Faith

    I have to mention that I don't watch the other Shondaland shows nor have I agreed with how she's written her other black female characters, but I will give credit where it's due. Also,she's not the only black woman writer/producer on tv and I'll be highlighting some of them in a future post shortly. Bellamy Young who plays Mellie Grant is tearing up her would-be Lady Macbeth/FLOTUS role and even though she needs to be taken down, I love watching her. That's why the show is so good. I'm rooting for her and I can't stand her all at the same time because everyone has just enough dark and light to make them compelling to watch.

  • ladyarabellavictoria

    Faith:

    You have written an insightful & thorough analysis of the various plot lines on the show. I agree with your views. Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion.

    Lady Arabella Victoria

  • sisterlocgirl

    Excellent discussion as usual Faith. I have to say I initially started watching Scandal with some trepidation given that I wasn't a fan of Grey's anatomy. But thank goodness I gave it a try. Scandal is hands down the best show on network, non cable tv. What keeps me interested is the fact that Olivia Pope is feminine, intelligent, powerful and very human. She has flaws as you have so eloquently pointed out. Wonder of wonders. . .a successful network show with a NORMAL black woman. I too have noticed the increase in BW/non-BM pairings and I am pleased to see it. Shonda Rimes is an excellent writer and it makes me want to give Grey's Anatomy a try. I for one am more than happy to support a show that presents a black woman who resembles me, my friends, my mom i.e. a black woman with some common sense and no whiff of Mammy/Mule/SistaSoldier/Sapphire foolishness. Enough already! I believe in reciprocity and I will be purchasing Scandal on DVD to send a message to Hollywood. Represent my brand appropriately and I will financially support it.
    As to Star Jones…does her opinion really matter? It seems to reek of a desperate need for attention as her " star " continues to fade.

    • CeCe Parker

      Grey's Anatomy is the best show on tv. Please give it a try again and I think you will love it. Years ago I did not click to it after a few episodes and someone suggested that I try it again like I am doing with you here. Best thing I ever did because Grey's moves me emotionally like no other show has done since the Practice (law show from back in the day). I enjoyed your comments here

      • Faith

        Thanks for the suggestion, but I never watched more than a handful of episodes to begin with and all of the real-life drama that went on with the show, completely turned me off. There’s quite a few shows I have yet to watch, like Lost. I limit the amount of time I spend on tv anyway, but I may get around to catching up one of these days.

      • Faith

        Thanks for the suggestion, but I never watched more than a handful of episodes to begin with and all of the real-life drama that went on with the show, completely turned me off. There’s quite a few shows I have yet to watch, like Lost. I limit the amount of time I spend on tv anyway, but I may get around to catching up one of these days.

        I do find it hypocritical but not surprising how no one has seriously called into question how the black males on Shondaland shows are coupled with non-black women, but that’s supposed to “normal”, while the one black woman involved with a white male who also happens to be the US President gets such heavy scrutiny and is deemed “immoral” and “unethical”.

  • Pearls

    YES YES YES! I LOVE Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington!!

    I have my mother HOOKED on this show!

  • Patricia Kayden

    Poor Star. She's become a bit of a joke. Maybe she shouldn't worry about fictional characters and their relationships and focus more on her own. I am going for a ride with Olivia Pope and while I do not agree with the decision she made to engage in an affair with a married man, I understand that this is fiction and she's not meant to be a moral heroine. And I also like the fact that the FLOTUS is not a one-dimensional character. The more I see her, the more I tend to like her. Everything is not black or white in Scandal and that's just like real life. So far, so good.

  • Tracy

    Honey you said it all!!!!! Star has no ground to stand on….wasn't the "fione" and "good" black brother she married gay? She can have several seats..

    Indoctrinated BW will never be comfortable with Olivia. Olivia is not PERFECT, doesn't call on Jesus when she is in a pinch, and will not hesitate to throw someone, anyone, under the bus to save her own skin. IBW cannot wrap their heads around women that don't take one for the whole team. And you are correct, after what happened with Isaiah, Shonda is not hearing anything that doesn't flow with what she has laid out!

    Love it!!

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