I know I’m pretty late to the Scandal party. In my defense, I actually tried to watch a couple of episodes upon it’s original release and deemed it too “melodramatic”. Like one of those potentially great political/ legal dramas, ruined by a “love” storyline (see The Good Wife, Suits etc) – the narrative backbone in Scandal is about leading-lady Olivia Pope conducting an affair (with the President of the United States no less!) But I rekindled my interest and now I LOVE it (even the melodrama, but that could be all the pregnancy hormones flooding my system…for more on this check out The Pregnancy Diaries series on Opsh)
But the drama aside (oh, and there’s SO.MUCH. DRAMA), I’m fascinated by Olivia Pope and I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
On the one hand, she’s a beautiful, accomplished, corporate weapon with an astounding wardrobe. On the other hand she’s a beautiful, accomplished, corporate weapon with an astounding wardrobe.
On the feminist front – she’s a political “fixer”, leading a team of “gladiators” who control the flow of power behind-the-scenes in Washington. She bounds head-first into previously male-dominated territory – negotiating, threatening, game-playing.
She shouts, she demands, she asserts, she defies. And she never apologises.
She never doubts herself. And that is because she is never wrong. Her educational pedigree is unrivalled, and that, coupled with killer instinct makes her one of the most impressive political players on TV. But she’s not a bitch. She commands unwavering loyalty from her employees. She knows how to give good one-liners. And we see the raw, human, emotional fall-out that comes with being the mistress of the President of the United States.
What’s wrong with Olivia Pope? Her knowledge is astounding, her smile is dazzling, her heels are… Click To TweetShe proves it’s possible to be beautiful and feminine and leave a boardroom of smug, middle-aged male politicians quivering in their ill-fitting suits. She is surely something to aspire to. A powerful woman. And that’s it. That’s the bit that’s hard to swallow. She never looks anything less than perfect.
She never sleeps, but never looks tired.
She never knows the situation is advance, but never doubts herself. Her phone battery never dies. She never sweats, never stutters. She works in crisis management, but is always prepared. She is constantly running around, but only wears stilettos. She has vices: a single glass of (expensive) red wine in the evening. Sometimes she likes to swim to relieve stress, but only in a beautifully cut white swimsuit. White is her wardrobe staple – white power suits, white lounge-wear, white ballgowns…but she never manages to spill a drop of red wine on her whiter-than-white outfits. She certainly doesn’t fall victim to convenient take-away when pulling a 3rd consecutive all-nighter in the office…no, she indulges in some popcorn.
She is too perfect. Too brilliant, too beautiful, too cool. She is…too much.
I want somebody to admire. I want somebody to aspire to. I want somebody to show me the way. But she can’t be infallible. She needs to have rough edges, to have weaknesses. Having an affair with the President is not a weakness I can relate to. Every so often, I want her to have Cocopops for dinner. I want her to have a bad-hair day. I want her to cry in the toilets, questioning her decision-making. I want her to spill red wine on her white blazer. And then neutralise a global-terrorist threat before lunch. I need her to be powerful and brilliant and accomplished, but also to be vulnerable and sensitive…and sometimes have sweaty pits. Is that too much to ask?
Brit + Co