Black Girls' Night Out: Olivia Pope (#Scandal)
Scandal has a special place in my heart; along with Person of Interest, it helped launched our Black Girls' Night Out series, and back before life got in the way, writing this series was a lot of fun for us.
So it's a shame that even in its final season, Scandal doesn't want to do right by Olivia Pope (or women in general).
You know that scene in Mean Girls when Regina George snaps at Gretchen Wieners, flat-out telling her to stop making "fetch" happen because it's just never going to happen? That's how I feel about Olitz.
For me, the Olivia and Fitz romance's prime was back in Seasons 1-2. The Olivia and Jake romance reached its prime in Season 3. The B613 storyline peaked around that time too. By Season 4, I feel many of us were ready for all things not Fitz, not Jake, and not B613.
And while Season 7 didn't admit debut with a very strong start, by Episodes 2-3 I could feel us sinking back into really old, really bad habits.
The season premiere established Olivia as the Liv of old; powerful, fearless, and in charge. Also, we got a new love interest who didn't make me cringe: gorgeous actor Jay Hernandez as Curtis Pryce, a media persona with whom Liv starts a very private affair. But it lasted about five minutes because last week's episode showed Liv back in the arms of Fitz after Papa Pope started meddling (and speaking of, I do love actor Joe Morton, but he too also peaked back in Seasons 3-4. He should've left and taken Jake Ballard with him).
We've seen all this before. Some man or men decide that Liv is too "out of control" and "dangerous" and "not being true to herself" because she has too much power. The man or men in her life are then driven to find ways to knock her back down a peg. Papa Pope and Fitz are two characters who've grossly overstayed their welcome and are officially a detriment to the show. So to see them plotting to overthrow our shero by using her feelings for Fitz is really fucking irritating. It's disappointing and uninspired.
And I'll be honest; I like Mellie. When Scandal is not being treated as The Mellie Grant Show, I genuinely enjoy her and I do root for her at times. I love Bellamy Young's portrayal of her; at the beginning of Scandal she was one of the least interesting people on the show, and yet managed to grow into one of the few people left who doesn't annoy me.
But Mellie is the first female POTUS, so naturally, the writers just couldn't let that be. She understandably misses sex, using a vibrator, having orgasms, and doesn't really like being single all that much. It's all reasonable (and at times hilarious) right up until the writers gave her feelings for a Middle Eastern President (recently overthrown in a coup, by the way), and seeing as the man in question is portrayed by none other than Faran Tahir himself, I can't really blame her.
But there's still that pesky recurring theme is how powerful women are at risk of being undone by their feelings for men. The show briefly provides commentary about the idiot men who came before Mellie and Liv, with "mistresses and their child-brides", and our sheroes repeatedly state they don't want to fuck up, but I feel like the writers are just throwing that in there to excuse the fact that even though we have a political drama about powerful women - and thus an enormous opportunity - for some reason, they can't also give us a serious story about these women.