Notes on a Scandal

It’s no secret around these parts that I love television. During the summer months when new episodes of TV shows are light in existence I like to binge watch shows via Netflix or other means. Sometimes I decide to watch a show that has completed its run that I missed out on for whatever reason when it was airing live. Other times I make a decision to catch up with the first season or two of a show that I didn’t start watching from the beginning but that has gotten enough good buzz that I want to be able to watch new episodes when it returns in the fall. This is how I wound up watching shows like Community and Parks & Recreation.

*Note the rest of this post contains spoilers of the first two seasons of Scandal so if you haven’t watched the show and don’t want to find out what has happened then stop reading now.

This summer I decided I was going to catch up on Scandal because the buzz surrounding this show is insane. I didn’t hear much about it during it’s initial 7 episode first season other than being aware that Shonda Rhimes had come out with another new show. As I had never watched Grey’s Anatomy nor Private Practice it wasn’t really something that stood out on my radar at the time. Somewhere in the second season though people started going crazy over this show. Television critics who I have long admired and whose taste I usually share were raving about it and every Thursday night (That is when this show airs live right? I don’t even know.) my Twitterfeed would blow up with people going nuts over the things that were happening on this show. I decided I had to know what the big deal was, so I spent a good portion of my recent staycation catching up on Scandal.

Now that I have watched the show, I have one question for you people. What!?! I really don’t get it. Maybe this show isn’t cut out for being binge watched or maybe it’s because my expectations were built to high, but I do not get why everyone is so gaga over this show. One of the things I always heard about it was how fast it burns through plot and how many plot twists there are. Perhaps because I was anticipating these things the plots didn’t seem so twisty? Though I would expect that would have happened even if I had been watching live. If I learn that your show is full of plot twists then I’m going to start expecting them to happen and start guessing what they might be.

As for burning through plot I’m not so sure that they burned through plot so quickly as much as they rehashed the same plots over and over again at warp speed. Exactly how many times can Olivia and Fitz get back together and then immediately break up? Same goes for David and Abby. Maybe it doesn’t seem like it happens as often when you’re watching over an entire season, but during a binge watch it’s like every other hour.

Also something about the uber-campiness and speechifying going on in this show turned me off. I’m not sure why. You’re talking to the same person who wrote repeatedly about how much she loved One Tree Hill, and you can’t get any more over the top plot ridiculous and campy than that show. And as for the moral speechifying that these characters sometime go into, I love me some Aaron Sorkin speeches not to mention every single speech that Dixie Carter gave on Designing Women, but these aren’t quite the same. They remind me more of the speeches given in say your disaster movies where the president will get up and give some big speech to rally the country, except that mostly on this show they’re being given to just one other person which makes me laugh instead of give me shivers or whatever they’re supposed to be doing.

I am still undecided whether I will continue watching this show into season 3. Maybe I’ll enjoy it more if I’m watching on a weekly basis and getting to take part in the live conversation about the show instead of binge watching on my own. Or maybe I’ve been right all along and Shonda Rhimes’ shows including Scandal just aren’t for me despite the fact that they would seem to be tailor made to my tastes.

If you watch Scandal and love it please tell me, where am I going wrong?

2 thoughts on “Notes on a Scandal

  1. I know you’re not a Shonda follower, so that could be part of it. It’s definitely a Shonda show! I do think that while I’ve enjoyed lots of shows I’ve binge watched, there is something to be said for going in with no expectations or knowledge of what’s going to happen. The Fitz/Olivia stuff is just as eye roll inducing in real time, but the surprises like the shooting and other big cliff hangers that are a regular week rather than a season finale tended to be a little surprising in real time. I didn’t see the Dad thing coming for long, but did figure it out before she actually verbalized it. However, I saw in one of the interviews that Kerry Washington said “I couldn’t even get the last word of the season out of my mouth.” So I was trying to think of a one word surprise and that’s what I came up with. But much like Grey’s and Private Practice are completely unrealistic medical shows, I didn’t go in expecting anything other than a soap in a different setting. I do imagine that Billy Chambers showing back up was less of a punch in binge watching…I hadn’t seen him in a year, so I didn’t even place him until the recaps came out that night!

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