Tonight marks the end of an era as Scandal, Shonda Rhimes’ uber fast-paced, twisty, scandalous drama airs its final episode. Seven or so years ago back when it premiered, you couldn’t have told me this moment wouldn’t bring me to tears (I am very dramatic and I tend to stan at BeyHive levels for the people and things I love). I mean, I was OBSESSED. I was over-the-moon excited about the cast because I always thought Kerry Washington was severely underappreciated, and Columbus Short was too fine for words.
As the pop culture junkie, I was the first person in my group of friends to know about Olivia Pope and her band of messy misfits and badgered everyone to watch it so we could have discussions. Or cuss out Shonda n’em for those blasted twists we never could see coming! I lost many hours of sleep analysing episodes trying to see if, just once, I could predict where Shonda was going. And I was probably one of, like, five people who were not shocked to find out that the mysterious black man who was keeping tabs on Liv was her father. Everything else had me yelling loud enough to wake the dead.
And then, somewhere between the middle of season three and the first part of season four, I just completely lost interest. As in, not a trace of care. I turned in my Gladiator card and just went elsewhere. I can’t even pinpoint exactly what happened, but maybe it was a combination of factors. One of them was Harrison’s exit and how that whole storyline was just…mangled, in my opinion. As I’d said at the top, I was OBSESSED, so not only did I watch the show religiously and engage in fevered social media discussions, but I read every single article I could find about it. In one of those articles, Shonda had mentioned that Columbus Short was actually the first person cast and talked about how important Harrison was to the show. And then he was just killed off and given a slap-dash funeral and we never found out why he was so doggone special to Liv anyway. Yes, Columbus went completely bonkers in his personal life and you know Miss Shonda don’t play about terrible cast behaviour. But couldn’t he have been recast? Harrison was never fleshed out in any way, and I guess I just felt deceived, lied to, and bamboozled. I can hold a grudge.
Another thing that eventually began to sour for me was the whole Olitz relationship. I was never here for Liv and Fitz together, cuz I’m never here for infidelity or any attempts to justify it. I never watched the show for them or that storyline, anyway. And I was firmly Team Mellie from the second she revealed that she knew about the Olitz affair. Mellie was not to be messed with and she proved that over and over during the time I watched. I guess I got fed up with everything Olitz because of how much the fans kept defending their affair and also Shonda’s insistence that they were endgame. It never sat well with me. Maybe I’m just a prude, but I make no apologies.
Scandal started out outlandish and crazy and kept that up at breakneck speed, but after a while, it began to lose appeal to me precisely because of those things. After I stopped watching, I would still keep up with the shenanigans courtesy of Luvvie’s recaps, but I soon stopped seeking those out, too. I guess the show just jumped the shark one too many times for me, so I hung up my white hat and kept it moving. As a former #overacliff Gladiator, I’m going to see if I can find that sucker and dust it off to watch the finale to see how everything wraps up, but whatever happens, I’ll just be like 🤷.
My nonchalance for the content aside, I have to give kudos to Shonda Rhimes and her team for the absolute cultural juggernaut they created with Scandal. Shonda put a black woman front and centre of prime time television and made a bona fide superstar out of Kerry Washington. She deserves all the accolades for that alone. K-Dub took this show and ran with it, not only becoming a boss leading lady, but putting everybody connected with the show on the Twitter train, creating a trending sensation every Thursday. It had never been done before, and now the blueprint they created is basically a necessity for shows to succeed in today’s landscape.
There’s not much more I can say about Scandal since I have no idea what’s taken place in about three-and-a-half seasons. I’ll watch the finale and maybe add my thoughts as an addendum here.