The Beat

Women on TV; Olivia Pope

TV is finally good again. FINALLY!!! A good script, great characters, unbelievably fantastic story line, hey presto no need for Reality TV nonsense (I would give all my Marc Jacobs handbags to see the Kardashians and everyone like them banished to space, never to return. I would) And I hold out hope that in time these people will become irrelevant, if they aren’t already. Mark my words. But thank goodness for the sheer goodness of good TV. A lot of good to be thankful for. There’s an obvious shift in the new roles women playing on TV; not as wives of powerful men, stuck in the kitchen doing the laundry, riding in the back seat, playing the damsel in distress…rather, these roles see them in the fore front of the action, front row and taking charge. Powerful characters, savvy, intelligent women and this time it’s not about sexuality or fashion, yes there is that but its by the way, these characters are intriguing and smart and they take no prisoners.

KERRY WASHINGTON First up, Olivia Pope, of Pope and Associates. This is my favourite character on TV right now. Based on Judy Smith, Deputy Press Secretary for the Bush administration, who knows a thing or two about political scandals, having been at the core of the action, Olivia Pope is a master fixer and that would make Ms Smith a true rock star. I can’t imagine bearing the weight of such an office and dealing with the many shenanigans it came with. Have you seen Scandal? If not, what are you waiting for? GO NOW!! WATCH IT. Thank me later. Scandal is created by Shonda Rhimes, she of the Grey’s Anatomy fame, yeah her, so you know this is going to be good. And it is, better than good, its bloody brilliant.

Who is she; Olivia Pope, is a mover on Capitol hill, a fixer with powers that reach places even the most powerful of man cannot reach. Have a blackmailer? Olivia Pope on speed-dial. A bothersome mistress with a kiss and tell? Olivia can sort this out. Planning to take over the world? Pretty sure Olivia can make that happen too, after all she did steal the White House for the President. It’s not just the problems she fixes it’s the people behind the scandal. She is a woman about her business, no scandal too big or too small for her to handle. And consider it handled, the minute Ms Pope gets involved. She marshals her team of gladiators in suits and together they perform the most unthinkable, sometimes, to make a problem go away. Even if it means cleaning up a murder scene.

On the personal front, Olivia is notoriously private, we never get the sense that we really know her, even though we think we do, she’s reticent in her ways, never giving too much away if anything at all. We have no inkling of her background, family life, or any of those layers that define us as human beings. Olivia does not get personal. And what she tells is only on a need to know basis, to those who need to know. But we get the sense there is something lurking, something she is not telling…and it could be the most scandalous of all.

The romance; of course there’s romance, how can there not be? And this is where is it gets even more Scandalous; Olivia Pope is the woman President Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III is in love with. The President of the United States of America, who is also married with children to overbearing, suffocating Mellie. We live for Fitz and Liv’s clandestine romance in the craziest of places, in a forest, in an equipment room, hotel rooms… They have tension between them, will they, won’t they? Will she, won’t he? Mellie is aware of the relationship between Fitz and Liv but hers is a political marriage so she puts up with it when she has to. In a twisted way, it helps her marriage to Fitz work better, he is less hostile to her. I know we shouldn’t root for the scarlet woman but Olivia and Fitz have this undeniable chemistry that jumps right under our skins. Although Fitz is being a big A double SSnakes right now, here’s hoping he can get his act together and stop wallowing in drunken self pity. Ugh Fitzgerald Grant get your sh!t together man.

On the whole; Scandal is a programme that delves between the layers of political manoeuvring, depicts how Washington really works in a sense, albeit fictitious, it shows us the people behind the positions of power and the folly of human beings. It focuses much on the politics but also provides the juice in the romance and scandals that plague the Capitol. Different characters intrigue us with their sordid affairs and at the end of the day, its up to Olivia Pope to fix it. And that she does. She’s far from perfect, she’s perfectly flawed. She is a complex character taking on different roles and sometimes the weight of the American political system and not to mention that romance with Mr President that sometimes sees her at weakest. But its her foibles that give real depth to her character because she leaves us wanting so much more of her.