A recent convert to ABC’s program Scandal, I was hooked quickly and well. A friend of mine was trying to convince me to adopt the show, but I really do hate getting into a series after its first season.
Having finally given in, armed with my Netflix subscription and faced with a dreary and unusually cool May afternoon in the Northeast, I began to enter the world of Olivia Pope and her politically connected friends and enemies.
The series revolves around the shrewd and aggressive character of Olivia Pope, played by actress Kerry Washington, who leaves her position as communications guru at the White House to start her own firm of “fixers.” This team of misfits, lawyers, and investigators helps the protagonist solve some sticky situations while dancing around the law.
At the center of it all is a conspiracy to help get the President in office, which involves a slew of characters who have worked in the shadows to bring President Grant to the White House. Ms. Pope is also romantically linked to the President, offering a romantic and shall I say, scandalous, edge to the show.
But is this television series art imitating life?
Given the recent scandals swirling around the real Washington D.C. and the Obama administration, one begins to wonder if the seemingly outrageous shenanigans could be a mirror reflecting reality.
After all, Washington D.C. is a place rife with power players with egos, backroom deals, and aggressive types that just might push the boundaries of what is fair and acceptable behavior for most people.
One of themes of the show is harking back to the preamble of the Constitution – We the People. Who are the people? Everyday Americans? The movers and shakers of the political capital? All of us together? The show attempts to explore these very probing thoughts on United States government, democracy, and the influence of power and money on the system in enthralling fashion.
With current issues such as the IRS targeting groups of a single political affiliation, or the Administration not being forthright with details over the attack on the US consulate in Libya, or the strong-armed tactics of the Justice Department attempting to muzzle the investigative capacity of reporters, one is struck at how similar the real world scandals are to the show’s scandals, at least in spirit.
Coincidence or not, Scandal shows the best and worst of the American political system centered on Washington D.C. A TV show has the ability to embellish and entertain but also touch upon truth. Watching Scandal and experiencing the slow drip of news coming out of the scandal prone Obama Administration has given this viewer and political observer some pause.
One thing is for certain, the real White House could use a fixer right about now.