So there I was, watching Dancing with the Stars, bemoaning that it was a pale comparison for the real dance show, So You Think You Can Dance, when I saw a commercial for Scandal. It’s the latest from Shonda Rhimes, and features Kerry Washington in the lead role, as well as a supporting cast full of character actors you’ve seen before.
I went right to Slay Belle, knowing her proclivities for watching soapy TV with cheap wine and watermelon pull & peel Twizzlers. I suggested we watch it together, through the power of social media. We were especially excited to see a Black actress in the lead role, and Washington is phenomenal as Olivia Pope. As best I can describe it, Scandal is a little bit of Bones (interesting cast with strong interpersonal relationships), a little bit of Leverage (group of quasi-outlaws with specialized problem-solving skills following a charismatic lead), and a little bit The West Wing, as reimagined by Zombie Aaron Spelling. That sounds harsher than I mean it to, Scandal looks like it’s going to be a fairly smart show about interesting people, with just enough soapiness to make it fun.
So here’s what happens when Slay and I get tipsy on sweet drinks and snacks (her: Cupcake dessert wine and Twizzlers, me: pink Moscato and Girl Scout cookies smeared with Nutella) while we watch TV. Golly, I wish Slay was my next-door neighbor in real life, we’d have so many adventures.
Sally J.: I will have to live vicariously through you- a friends’ coming over tonight, don’t know that I’ll see the show in real time. Will have to catch up online!
Slay Belle: So I’ve never watched Grey’s Anatomy, ever, but when I tuned to the channel, my husband knew exactly what storyline they were discussing.
Selena: Hahah, yeah, I don’t watch either, but the last five minutes were exactly what I expected.
Selena: It’s that girl from Arrested Development.
Slay Belle: I don’t recognize her. It’s not Maebe.
Slay Belle: You know it’s serious because they’re talking fast.
Selena: Ah, cool. And also in extreme close up.
Selena: Whoever wrote it is not Sorkin, however.
Selena: I also want to be a Gladiator in a suit.
Selena: I would be Henry Ian Cusack’s constant any time he asked.
Slay Belle: That’s a Lost person, right? I don’t know how I never watched that show.
Selena: Kerry Washington needs to say “I have a particular set of skills.”
Selena: It’s like Levarage.
Slay Belle: This dialog really feels like Sorkin lite.
Slay Belle: “I am ready to gladiate!’
Selena: Savin’ babies from the Russian mob.
Slay Belle: You know how sometimes you watch shows and you feel like the pretty multi-ethnic cast is just a ploy. This feels like it was carefully cast with minorities.
Slay Belle: Russian mobs are the new Soviets.
Selena: Yeah, but at the same time, at least it is a multi-ethnic cast. Most shows don’t even try.
Sara B.: I may be a minute ahead of you, but I am liking the redhead.
Slay Belle: Usually they just throw in one young ethnic woman who might be a lesbian so they can hit all the buttons.
Selena: I’ve seen her before.
Sara B.: And it is totally Sorkin-light.
Slay Belle: Wait, what show did I just see that on? Oh, those 30 seconds of Grey’s Anatomy.
Sara B.: I have to look up where I have seen the lead before, it is driving me crazy.
Slay Belle: Wasn’t Captain Sully the guy who landed the plane on the Hudson?
Selena: The redhead was on Jericho. She was Doctor April.
Sara B.: Let me know when you fall in love with the redhead, then I’ll play again.
Slay Belle: I kinda love the redhead.
Sara B.: She was fucking Mira, Gus’ sort of wife on Psych
Slay Belle: My twizzlers are a good compliment to this wine. Readers, take note.
Selena: Nutella + Trefoils = bliss, Nutella + Samoas = too much.
Selena: EXPOSITION MONOLOGING!
Slay Belle: Who wants to take bets that Kerry Washington is take charge in her professional life but is a mess in her personal life?
Slay Belle: And isn’t that guy a comedian?
Selena: JOSHUA MALINA! It is Sorkin-lite.
Slay Belle: Oh, that’s where I recognize him from.
Sara B.: Of course she is.
Slay Belle: “Just to be clear, that was me threatening you.”
Selena: He’s the poor man’s Sam Seaborn.
Selena: She’s a lone wolf, a loose cannon, a renegade.
Slay Belle: A gladiator in a pencil skirt.
Sara B.: Too busy for love
Selena: All in all, the women are more interesting than the men. That’s new.
Selena: Even for TV.
Sara B.: I’m interested in the older guy on her team.
Slay Belle: Oh no, his fiance teaches small children! She’s an innocent who can’t really compete in his world. I give it six episodes before the affair subplot.
Selena: I bet she wears a sweater set in the first scene we meet her.
Slay Belle: I don’t trust people who wear white shirts without coffee stains on them.
Selena: Why are they all wearing white hose?
Slay Belle: And coordinating shoes and handbags, Selena.
Selena: If I’m going to be a gladiator in a suit, I’m foregoing the white hose.
Slay Belle: Did you guys catch that shot? Her, a black woman, in a white outfit, walking hand in hand with the white guy in the black outfit? Very inverse — a bit of a striking shot.
Selena: Good catch!
Slay Belle: Oh, Madonna has a new perfume.
Selena: Oh, Madonna, why do you sound like Ke$ha? You’re better than this.
Slay Belle: Dammit!
Selena: Gotta pee. We’re not putting this in the post.
Slay Belle: FINALLY, MOTHERFUCKING REVENGE IS COMING BACK.
Selena: Kerry is wearing great pants.
Slay Belle: White shirts. NOT SUBTLE. I get that they’re the good guys.
Slay Belle: Hah, nice dissolve.
Selena: They just “hacked” an email account! TV SCIENCE!
Slay Belle: Bit rates! Upload speeds! Terabytes! Technical talk! Science!
Sara B.: I’m assuming they will tone down the “Good Guys wear white” thing next episode.
Sara B.: Best friend killed her.
Selena: YOU IN DANGER GIRL! THE PRESIDENT KILLED PATRICK SWAYZE IN GHOST!
Slay Belle: I hope so. I hate being smacked over the head.
Selena: And looks the same age as he did in 1989. He’s totally guilty of something.
Selena: Best friend totally killed her.
Slay Belle: I’m gonna black horse it. The captain killed her.
Slay Belle: “She was a whore!”
Selena: Obviously, now, the best friend did it b/c she’s a whore. The whore always does it.
Slay Belle: Hey! That’s Paris from Gilmore Girls!
Slay Belle: Or whatever her name is. She was on the Gilmore Girls.
Selena: Well we’re just swimming in whores, aren’t we?
Slay Belle: HAHA. All sorts of whores!
Slay Belle: Ok, so what is Kerry Washington’s secret weakness? Alcoholic?
Selena: In the whole scheme of things, I wouldn’t call 22 partners a whore. That sounds like college.
Slay Belle: Anonymous sex haver?
Selena: Daddy issues?
Selena: Gambler? They just did that on SVU, though.
Slay Belle: Hmm. Mommy issues? We already know she can’t have a fullfilling personal life.
Selena: Carries a torch for an unattainable man? Slept with the president?
Selena: Anger issues?
Slay Belle: Bulimic?
Selena: ALL OF THE ABOVE.
Slay Belle: Oh, Krysten Ritter. You are above this show.
Selena: That show looks TERRIBLE.
Slay Belle: Why do such bad shows happen to good actresses? Kat Dennings, I am looking at you.
Selena: Because we can only get really good female led shows once every four years or so, like the Olympics.
Slay Belle: THERE’S NO CRYING IN QUASI LEGAL SCANDAL HANDLING!
Selena: It’s the profound nerd. TROPE BINGO.
Selena: HA! Slay gets a cookie.
Slay Belle: HAH. She’s talking to the President live on TV. She has Power.
Slay Belle: Fresh white shirt. Off-white cream shirt.
Selena: You know they’re mad, because they’re pointing.
Slay Belle: Everyone is talking! Things are happening!
Selena: MOAR WHORES. God, ladies.
Slay Belle: Ladies in Washington need to start holding asprin between their knees.
Slay Belle: Now I can’t stop looking at the white stockings.
Selena: I know, right? What is this, cotillion?
Slay Belle: So obviously the redhead has a thing for him.
Selena: Aw, you can do better, redhead. He’s already got too many women on his plate.
Sara B.: I am not as interested in him anymore.
Slay Belle: I bet the President’s girlfriend is pregnant.
Sara B.: I like the tech guy.
Selena: Oooh, I bet you’re right.
Sara B.: I always like the tech guys.
Selena: Me too. They’re my weakness.
Selena: Plus, they can hack anything in five minutes with the command line and a screensaver.
Slay Belle: Gay?
Slay Belle: Gay.
Selena: WHOOO BOY.
Selena: IT’S THE BIG GAY TWIST.
Slay Belle: Does he come out or go to jail?
Slay Belle: I say he goes to jail.
Selena: Yeah, me too.
Slay Belle: So many minority themes. Its all really jammed in there.
Slay Belle: Mini sez: “I find it weird that he’s trying to hide it yet kissing in the middle of a brightly lit street.”
Selena: Well it wouldn’t fit in the plot without that giant shoehorn.
Selena: I think gay Republican is becoming a trope.
Selena: It’s the new stripper with a heart of gold.
Slay Belle: Are there ever any lesbian Republicans?
Selena: I can’t think of any off the top of my head.
Selena: But L&O, West Wing and Spin City have all done Big Gay Conservative storylines.
Slay Belle: Neither can I. As we know in TV land, there are bi-sexual women waiting around for the right man and gay men. And no lesbians.
Selena: So has GCB, already.
Selena: Kalinda on The Good Wife is bi-sexual, but she’s equally opportunistic with either sex.
Slay Belle: Oh, redhead. Try to hide your broken heart.
Selena: There was a lesbian couple on that last five minutes of Grey’s, are they permanent?
Slay Belle: I thought that the dark haired girl was a bi-sexual. Didn’t she get married at some point?
Selena: SHE CAN WALK RIGHT INTO THE OVAL OFFICE.
Slay Belle: I actually really like the white marriage storyline on GCB.
Slay Belle: BADASS.
Selena: THE PRESIDENT IS ALSO A WHORE.
Slay Belle: Is that his secret service agent in the red-velvet dress?
Sara B.: Of course he is.
Selena: She DID bang the president.
Selena: GET OUT, KERRY WASHINGTON!
Slay Belle: Ding ding ding! We have the winner. Selena called it — unattainable guy.
Slay Belle: “Mr. President. You have lipstick on your mouth. You need to clean up.”
Selena: I guess that’s why she can walk right in.
Slay Belle: And we know why she started her own firm.
Selena: Conveniently, it appears they all have shitty personal lives.
Slay Belle: See! The primary school teacher is too good for the bad guy. Do you think she brought her golden retriever puppies to the fancy restaurant? Do birds sing over her head.
Selena: HAHAHA! My day was totally filled with birds and shit when I taught.
Slay Belle: I believe the ‘and shit’ part.
Selena: I was also totally a virgin between August and June.
Selena: Hey! He’s coming out!
Sara B.: I kept wanting to tell him to be a gay hero.
Slay Belle: SIGNIFICANT CHORDS
Selena: We’re going to need an Ingrid Michaelson song to drive it all home.
Slay Belle: Oh, redhead. Find someone worthy of you.
Slay Belle: “She’s not one of the good guys. She’s the best guy.”
Selena: Like Kerry Washington.
Slay Belle: I don’t know how they’re going to find a whiter-than-white white hat.
Slay Belle: WOMAN SCORNED
Selena: I’m in, it’s fun enough for a Thursday night, and I feel like I should support it because it’s ladycentric. We’re not going to get a Lady-led The Wire unless we eat up a few of the appetizer shows.
Slay Belle: I liked it. I can see where it has potential. I liked the set up of minority issues.
Selena: Interesting side note, the anchors on the ABC affiliate 11 o’clock news are all ladies.
Slay Belle: Hah, here we have Dave Roberts. Who has been the anchor forever.
Sara B.: I like Kerry Washington’s facial acting. She can say a lot with her expressions. If they tone down the fast talking, I think she could be amazing.
Slay Belle: I agree Sara. They need to de-Sorkin it.
Slay Belle: Washington is definitely convincing – she’s got a lot of charisma. I want to like her and her steely gaze.
Sara B.: It was a good way to set it up and hit the ground running, but now they can dial it back.
Sara B.: I liked her expression when she was walking away from the president’s girlfriend in the park. She was not happy about what she had done.
Slay Belle: She had good cry face too.
Slay Belle: Though, honestly, I wish we were past the whole “our female lead has to cry to be humanized.”
Sara B.: Agreed. It was not-pretty enough to look genuine.
Sara B.: Yeah, that too.
Slay Belle: This was fun, ladies! I am off to bed.
Sara B.: I’m off to stitch. I have menfolk coming in at 1 a.m. and I’m trying to stay up.