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S&A “Scandal” Talk-Back Session #4 (Who IS Quinn Perkins? You’ll Have 13 New Episodes To Find Out)

S&A "Scandal" Talk-Back Session #4 (Who IS Quinn Perkins? You'll Have 13 New Episodes To Find Out)

And that’s a wrap folks! 

It suddenly struck me how “post-racial” we could say the show is, in that Olivia Pope’s race/skin color is really of no real bearing on the series’ various narrative threads. It just is; we see her, we know she’s a black woman, but it’s not *announced*. Other than the visual reminder (can’t wash it off, as the saying goes), you actually almost forget that she IS black; and that’s also a credit to how connected and engaged you are as a viewer of the series, with all the various parts in this assembly line working well together to keep you occupied otherwise.

Whether all of that’s a good thing or bad thing I’ll let you all decide for yourselves. 

It’s obviously significant if only because, for one of the very rare few instances in television history, America gets to see a black woman in this capacity, and with her skin color being almost akin to a prop. Now, who knows, showrunner/creator/producer Shonda Rhimes just might intro a scenario next season in which Olivia’s race is indeed pivotal to a specific episode, or a narrative thread that stretches across multiple episodes. Or maybe not. 

Would you want her to do that?

And by the way, I’d say the same thing about Chief Of Staff Cyrus Beene’s sexuality; he’s gay, and we are told that, but, like Olivia being black, Rhimes doesn’t *announce* it; it just is… you know… life… a sea of diverse, complex human beings.

We assume that the series takes place in the present-day; I don’t know if at any point, it’s dated – I can’t immediately recall; my point being that Rhimes paints a portrait of a world – a USA specifically – in which matters of race and sexual orientation are of little concern to the people who populate this universe. And so it’s not improbable that one wonders if this is a representation of an America as it exists today, or is it a futuristic one, minus all the CGI :)

Or an America as Rhimes would like it to be.

But I can only assume the controversy that must have surrounded the appointing of Cyrus – a seemingly openly gay man – as White House Chief Of Staff; especially with the pairing of a Vice President who’s from the so-called Bible Belt, who espouses conservative, Christian values… or is all that just BS as well, and she’s just as power-hungry and unscrupulous as the others, willing to do whatever is necessary to reach her ultimate goal of becoming President of the USA?

But, yes, it’s a wrap for season 1 of Scandal, a show that apparently has a huge chunk of black America hooked – likely primarily female. Out of mere curiosity, how many of you dudes have kept up with the series? Also, how many of you women have not, and maybe don’t care for it enough to do so? Not that every black woman is somehow obligated to watch it by the way because it stars a black woman; just asking…

A number of questions were answered (the most crucial being who really had Amanda Tanner killed); and of course, as you’d expect with any season finale, a cliffhanger – who is Quinn Perkins?

So who IS Quinn Perkins? And looking back on the previous 6 episodes, where any hints given at any time that might help answer that question? I can’t immediately think of any.

In response to that question when asked by TV Guide, Rhimes herself obviously wouldn’t give anything away, except to say:

I think you’re going to find the answer very interesting. I’m still deciding [when we’ll reveal it].

Obviously Olivia knows; she knows everything, and she did hire Quinn, so it’s no surprise. Given the resistance to finger-printing her, and Olivia’s knack for picking employees with *questionable* pasts, I think we can safely say Quinn falls right in-line with the others. So what you’ve got here is a kind of rag-tag team of smart people with problems, and Olivia is like their mother, which you could say makes sense, given her own shady past – having an affair with the Prez. One big happy family :)

Also noteworthy was the First Lady finally showing us who she really is. But I think we all (certainly I) suspected she had an agenda all her own early on. Specifically, in a previous talkback session, I said that their marriage is reminiscent of what people said about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s marriage – that it’s essentially like a business partnership. Both have/had their political ambitions, and are/were simply working together like business partners to see those objectives through – even in light of Bill’s 3 or 4 affairs, including the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which likely inspired the Amanda Tanner fiasco in Scandal.

Olivia’s reaction when the First Lady *revealed* herself to her was hilarious; you could see the look of absolute surprise on her face, kind of like, “I don’t know who this woman is.”

But it’s really no surprise that the First Lady is just as sheisty as several of the other characters on the show. It’s a dog eat dog world out there; every man for himself. A sad commentary on the state of things (and not just within the political realm) we could say.

And now that we know Cyrus is the mastermind behind Amanda Tanner’s death, looking ahead to next season, will others eventually learn the truth, and will whomever does, play a significant role in season 2?

Talking to TV Guide again, Rhimes had this to say in response:

The answer to both of those questions is yes. There’s a level of power that Cyrus is playing with at this moment that allows him to distance himself from the actual acts of doing certain things, and possibly gives him a little bit of leeway in his mind. He really does think that he is doing what’s best for the country. I absolutely believe Cyrus has a line that he won’t cross. Cyrus is a patriot who really loves his country and really believes in the presidency. In a weird way, that’s his flaw. His patriotism has taken him to some dark places.

Well, yeah. Like murder.

And what about Billy Chambers? Given what we saw towards the end of the episode, as he got on the elevator with Charlie, and later we see Charlie at Cyrus’ house asking for the rest of his payment for taking out Amanda Tanner, because he needed to leave town ASAP, are we to assume that Charlie finished the job Huck assigned to him – to kill Billy Chambers?

Rhimes wouldn’t answer that obviously.

And with Olivia handing in her White House badge/pass as she walked out of the compounds, does that imply she’s done with that specific circle of people, and that entire narrative thread won’t be continued next season?

Rhimes’ reply: 

We’ll see. I think it’s important to keep her within that world in some capacity, but she burned a very important bridge. More than just walking away from him, she forced him to do something that he wasn’t willing to do. He actually got the courage to walk away from his life, and she threw him back in. While she may be willing to come back in, he may not be willing to let her in.

And so does this open the door for a new romance for Olivia?

Rhimes’s response: 

There is [the possibility of a new romance]. I was just talking about that today. There’s a prospect of one. I don’t know that we’re going to get to it early in the second season, but there’s definitely a prospect of one. I think that we call her a political nun and she has no personal life and we all know why she has no personal life. But I think that she reached a crossroads at the end of the finale. She handed in her White House badge. She was walking away. I think we might come upon her trying to get her own little bit of normal at this moment.

And might this new prospect be a black man?

Rhimes’ reply:

[…]

Just kidding; that question wasn’t asked; but I know a lot of you were thinking it. If I ever get an opportunity to interview Rhimes about the show between now and next season, I’ll be sure to ask her that question for you all :)

But I won’t be surprised if Rhimes hooks her up with the copper, David. They *dance* well together I think, and it won’t be shocking to learn that they had a little something going on at one point, back in the day.

The TV Guide interview is quite thorough, so if you’d like your season 2 expectations potentially spoiled, I’d suggest you read it; if not, stay away. Not that Rhimes gives much away, but I think she hints at enough, and does answer a few of the questions head-on.

She talks about whether we can expect a major through-line next season as we had with the Amanda Tanner thread this season, and also the potential real-life scandals she might be considering as fodder for next season’s episodes.

And by the way, this should make you fans of the show happy – she reveals that ABC ordered 13 episodes for season 2. So expect double the fun.

See ya next season!

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Comments

TT

I am a fan of this show! I felt slighted that this was the end of this season!! I've been looking all over on HULU, ABC, etc. for the next episode.. oh well! Can't wait until next season. I loved the diversity of each character, and seeing how they worked as a team. I think this last scandal with Quinn really was a test of the team's loyalty. But they all went in with blind trust. Which will be fun to see play out. When Olivia left the White House and handed in her badge it was indicative of the end of her sexual relationship with the President. She hadn't fully made that decision until the guy engaged confessed of his infidelity even though he felt she was the one. He said he tried to remain faithful- but he just couldn't even in the best of circumstances. Which was parallel to her relationship w/the President. Oh well, but it was fun. I've watched each episode at least 3 times each. Excellent writing, excellent characters, great acting…what more can you ask for- oh a leading lady that happens to be black ;o) love it!

Akimbo

Well, now that we're done justifying questioning the blackness of a character who fails to behave in an overtly stereotypical manner (when we're really just kinda salty that a black chick is messing with a white dude)…cookout anyone? Who's making the potato salad?

Nadine

Again, CAREY, my reply to your last inflammatory comment (based in the BIZARRO world) is below. I see terms like "self-hatred" and I laugh… not because they are not real or even applicable in certain, sometimes most, instances, but because statements such as those are just soooo "the opposite" of who I am (which anyone who has been on these boards would know…) that it is clear that the one assailing , well… me, with such comments is simply clueless. The problem is not mine… it's theirs. You scoff at my usage of "African Principles", yet in the same breath accuse me of "white-washing". So sad. BTW – I'll end just as I started… using terms like "white girl" or "white boy" is a waste of our resources and spirit. There are bigger, very real issues to battle when it comes to "race" in America, including social constructions and media representation/abuses. Denying "the struggles and hardships of the Black American's experience"… Lawd have mercy… again, my response to that tripe is below.

CareyCarey

@ Nadine, I've purposely submitted this — my last comment on this subject — at the top of this tread for several reasons. The first being, I will no longer assist you in your blasphemous attempted to deny the struggles and hardships of the black american's experince. I will no longer be a vehicle for your platform of self-hatred and the "white-washing" of our past. I've come to this point — our fork in the road — because it has become glarringly obvious that you do not desire to engraciate yourself with the ideology that shared experiences/roots/struggles/pain/oppressions, etc, springs forth shared "reactions". Now, I know I do not have to explain to you the full scope of "reactions"and how "it/they" can manifest in various forms, so I'll continue. As I was saying, I will no longer help you, assist you, nor engage you in a conversation that's hell bent on moving the agenda/message that there's no discernable differences between black americans and white americans. Listen, I've come to believe your platform is reminiscent of gays and lesbians whose major strategy is to focused on painting themselves as "just like me or you" with no discernable differences. To a large degree, that mindset comforts their soul and reinforces/affirms their belief that their way of life is fine and dandy. And if they can sell that "thought", that concept, they've created an army of messengers to carry the message that we are all the same. More importantly, anyone who apposes their view/concept, now becomes the dreaded enemy. So I am simply wondering why a person would push the issue — TRUMPET THE MESSAGE — that whites and black folks in American are one big happy family with only one discernable difference, their skin color? Are those who push that message trying to validate their life of total surrender — assimilation? BE JUST LIKE THEE… the white man and his culture. I know society has painted the color "black" as a negative symbol of "bad" and "white" as purity, so I wonder if that's the core reason behind some black folk's desire to distance themselves away from anything associated with "being black"? Anyway, we're back where we started… S&A scandalous "Scandal" Talk-Back- Session: 130 comments later. Soooo, answers to your questions. 1) Black Traits? Ans: Silly question. If I have to list them, you're obviously fooling yourself, and thus, you do not want to know. I listed 15 black women who exhibited several black traits but you focused on something (I don't remember) negative in several of them, while turning a blind eye on their finer qualities and unique-ness 2) White traits? Ans: See answer to question "1". Add A) why is there the term vally girls? B) They way the majority of white folks react around a room full of black people. C) lets add something as simple as how they(white chicks) swing their hair away from their face. D) How a large majority of whites preceive amercican history, slavery, etc. Final: I don't care what Shonda does with the character 3) African Principles? 4) Question: Do black women from different parts of the United States exhibit similar traits? Ans: Silly question to the 10th degree. The only way black women across the United States would NOT exhibit similar qualities would be if they changed their skin color, never read a book or watch tv, never traveled outside their cave, out of their homes, off their block or off their remote island in the middle of the red sea. And never look out their windows nor associate with other black women who may originate from different places of birth. Silly silly question! We are influenced by a plethora of stimuli — PERIOD. 5) Question: Perceptions of black youths. Ans: For the umpteenth time!! — however and whenever someone arrives at a conclusion regarding something or someone — (at a specific period/moment in time) — and then acts on that perception/conclusion, the end results of their decision DOES NOT in any way alter their original thoughts. The deed is done. Right or wrong, afterthoughts or whatever… The horse pulls the cart! 6-7-8-9 questions = Redundancy. So Nadine, in short, if you wish to deny your blackness and whitewash our history and raise the flag of complete assimilation, you go right ahead, but I am not holding your hand anymore. If being just like white chick soothe your soul, that's fine b/c I understand where you're coming from. But let me remind you that shared experiences develope shared reactions and if you refuse to accept that, I cannot pursuade you to change. Serioulsy, since the first black person stepped on this continent, they all shared common experiences. And it goes without question that we — as black folks — are still experiencing some of those earlier "problems" and joys and triumphs, and consequently, unless one is fooling themselves, we will continue to share similar reactions. WE ARE UNIQUE! Please accept it.

Kid chaos

Kerry washington is going to be raped by some white dudes in her new movie i bet she has no problem with letting that be seen on film.(great day for black women.. you go girl)

statum106

I'm interested in finding out who Quinn Perkins is because she's obviously so over her head (unless you are a paramedic or doctor, you don't pull out an object that's embedded in someone's neck.

As for Cyrus, did he orchestrate Amanda's abduction and murder to protect the president or does he have another agenda?

Those are the questions I have coming into season 4. As for Olivia, she's just as broken as the people who work for her but has a drive, focus and conscience that inspires loyalty and gets results. I'm interested to see if there's another side to this group- a side that's capable of creating a crisis as opposed to solving one. Hopefully we'll see that next season.

Plez

Good grief!!! This Country is so warped…Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Shonda thanks for a writing a show that empowers women to choose their own destination in life and not worry if a man will be there to hold her hand. If you continue to let past history override your life, you will never be happy. 400 years ago our ancesters were slaves, in today's society we are allowing it to happen again. Stop being ridiculous and criticizing black women for being light skin, dark skin, mixed, fat, loud, strongly opinionated and taking roles that allow them to become more relevant in this racists society. The more we disrepect each other on these social network sites the further apart and divided we become. Aren't your tired of being the only race that promotes black on black hate?

CareyCarey

@ Akimbo, in reference to your comment –> "Seems like the men here are the ones with the real issues"… this comment section of S&A is dominated by females. So I understand how you would come to that conclusion. @ Nadine, I have a suggestion. Since we might agree that our written words to not do justice to all are concerns and/or opinions, and S&A no longer has a podcast, I believe there's room for one S&A's opinionated big talkers. I can invision one with the likes of you, jug, Akimbo, bondgirl, AV, Misha, maybe Darkan, Tamara, Melissa, BLUTOPAZ, Sergio, Cherish and a host of others who let it fly. It's certainly would be absent of one-sided opinions and it WOULD be filled with much controversy. Yep, an open forum of mixed black folks from diverse backgrounds, yet shared interests. Think about it — a person could get their roll out without the constaints of a confusing comment format and delayed responses. And, I believe it would be filled with a host of entertainment value!

rane

Thankfully Ms Rimes doesn't need to pay attention to the antiquated, sexist, racist, trifling, jealous, narrow minded, myopic bullshit that exists here and neither should any other filmmaker. Catering to the permutating precepts of what is black enough, will only serve to keep you stuck on act one/scene one/page one forever.

Neziah

It was a pretty good season to kick the show off with, but I wasn't overwhelmingly impressed by it, and the season finale was anti-climatic in a negative way. I personally think Taraji had the better show this season with "Person of Interest", which has one of the best season finales to a TV series in years. I do look forward to seeing what direction Rhimes takes Scandal in next season though.

Kid chaos

Orville you are on point.If black women knew there history sleeping with a white man would not be cool.

Orville

Also, another point I am pleased Kerry Washington finally got her Hollywood breakthrough but at what cost? So a young black woman has to be an older white man's concubine? Whenever President Grant calls Olivia she drops her panties?
Why does a young black actress have to be a mistress to an older white man?
Why is the president white anyway? Right now we have a black president in the White House. Why couldn't Olivia have a black man as a love interest? I am sure Shonda can find SOMEBODY to be Olivia's love interest who is black. Why couldn't Olivia have a boyfriend of her own? Why is Olivia written to be so vulnerable and weak? It seems strange to me. Olivia is supposed to be this strong black woman yet she can't resist a fifty something white guy? I guess in Shonda Rhimes post racial world this is somehow progress but it is not.

Orville

One of the points that some people are trying to articulate is Shonda Rhimes seems to have a propensity to PLACATE for white people. In Shonda's post racial universe, black people must some how ignore our blackness in order to be acceptable to whites. Black people can't have black friends or black lovers. Black people can't talk about anything relating to our race because Shonda is concerned about not upsetting white audiences.

Olivia Pope is a black woman in theory but Shonda Rhimes seems determined to DOWNPLAY Olivia's blackness. All we see is Olivia Pope at work we never see Olivia in her private life. Does Olivia have any friends? Does Olivia have a black family? What does Olivia do in her private life?

Alex

"And might this new prospect be a black man?"

…yep, there it is – there you go erasing everything you just commended Rhimes for doing. Joke or not, it's irrelevant. I hope it's the Police dude, but I enjoy their jibes/banter too much; also lord knows that Stephen (Finch) is a little interested…

Kid chaos

Many black women defending a woman who sleeps with a married man.

Cherish

Well, Nadine and BondGirl basically broke it down, but I can only add my voice as one of shocked and saddened to hear some people consider Olivia Pope as a sista who acts White or not in tune with her Blackness. I do have issues with writing and storytelling of this show (I don't care who Quinn Perkins is as I don't know her character well enough to care, and wtf w Mellie's convo w/Olivia) but Olivia acts White???!! Wow. I think this this is partly a regional thing. As I'm New Yorker (Brooklyn baby lol) as others pointed out, Kerry Washington and her character represent me and my friends – children of immigrants, good colleges – bougie, sure, but still firmly rooted in our Caribbean and African American roots and culture. Maybe this explains my disgust with Tyler Perry's Madea, but after spending time in Georgia for my job, I can see this "version" of blackness reflects the people out there. But, along with regional differences, I think that the Black community and culture have also narrowed the definition of Blackness. In this world Whitley Gilbert from A Different World would be called "white acting" today. Its as if we no longer have room for Bougie (for lack of better world) or upper class African American culture and just call these folks "trying to be white." Its really having a detrimental effect on our children.

rissa

I love this show! Characters are complex and interesting. Cannot wait to find out Quinn' s past!!

Tom

Awesome show! I love that President Grant is a moderate Republican. I can't wait til next season to find out whoQuinn is!

CareyCarey

Oh Lawd… why does it feel like the herd mentality is raining down on my head? I mean, Blaqbird showed up to drop her words of "wisdom" (I have a few words for her). Stacie came back and dropped a story of her sister who once lived in Iowa (I'll get back to that). Lauren drove back by and said, carey – Funny you live in Iowa… that state isn't black enough either… WHOA!… what's really going on? I know what it is, but that's another discussion for another day. So lets see if I can shine a little light on this "less than" perplexing issue. Blaqbird said she used the words "y'all" and "thangs" to make a point. Okay, what was the point? Is she unconciously making the point that to embrace one's blackness means a person has to butcher the English language? Yeah, think about that. Lauren implied the state of Iowa is not noted for having a large black population. Huuuum, what was she trying to say? Well, I don't know if she knows it, but she was actually supporting my position. But the most defining comment came from Stacie. Yep, Stacie — unknowingly — could have been my spokesperson. She said her sister, who was living in Iowa, constantly heard the words "you talk like a white girl". Oh LORD, if I had a dollar for every time I heard those words spoken to me — I'd be a rich mofo. Listen, I was raised in Iowa and I lived in the projects. Having said that, I took on triats of all my surroundings (i.e., school, sports, neighborhood, church and classmates, etc,). Consequently, all those dynamics shaped the man I am today — the good, the bad and the ever changing. And check this, even when I entered the military I was hit with the "you act like, or you talk like ______(fill in the blank). It wasn't always "you talk like a white guy". OH NO! Check this — Although I got hit with that on several occasions, one of my drill sergeants said, "Hey Carey, get over here. I see we're going to have a problem b/c I see you're from Illinios (that's were I was living at the time) so you're obviously one of those smart-ass n**gas from the supburbs of Chicago!". I looked at that fool and although I wanted to say "No you dumb-ass mfker, I was born and raised in the projects of Iowa" but I held my tongue. Now, there's a few moral teachings or practical lesson contained in my tale of woe. 1) First impressions are lasting impression. How one arrives at those impressions is completely depended on his or hers past references. 2) My skin said I was black, but something within my walk, talk, head turn, mannerisms, persona, behavior, reactions, attitude or a combination of such, propelled some individuals to draw a conclusion on who they thought I was. I can deny them that freedom and they may have seen something that I was not aware of — who knows. That's right, just like Stacie's sister and Kerry Washington, people are going to come to conclusion based solely from what they first see, and hear. Is some of it justified? Well, from their perspective, it absolutely is. Are their assumption facts and true? Nope. Did I, or have I, Stacie's sister, Kerry Washington or her character on Scandal, ever exhibit behaviors, mannerism and/or attitudes that are seen in a large group of white people? That's highly possible. Does a large population of black Americans exhibit traits, mannerisms and attitudes that would not fall under the negative catagory? ABSOLUTELY YES! Therefore, I am suggesting something I told nadine 10 hours ago. We're talking perceptions! Good or bad, right or wrong, people come to conclusions based on a variety factors. Again, we're talking about the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind. That's right, an immediate or intuitive recognition/memory, that allows us the freedom to draw a conclusion. Listen folks, whatever Kerry or Olivia did or said, to make some come to the conclusion that "she's acting white" their opinion should not be relegated to some "ignant negrodome" simply because you or I believe or can prove she's blacker than the blackest black woman. Geez, saying or knowing that black women act a certain way in Washington D.C, or on the moon, is muddling the issue.

blaqbird

Oh Lawd… I swear there were only 10 comments on this post yesterday. I come back and sh*t done hit the fan lol.

I won't even get into this whole "black indicators" thing because like so many people said, it's ridiculous. I just need some of y'all to go put Toure's "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?" and Baratunde Thurston's "How to be Black" on the summer reading list. Also include "Why Are the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" please. Hopefully after reading this you all will get a revelation about some thangs before the second season of Scandal begins….

*Couldn't you tell I'm black? I used "y'all" AND "thangs". Isn't that how it works CareyCarey??? ;-) By the way, I'm from Nebraska and Lord knows I'm happy that I got out the first chance I got!

Paula

I love the show! I am dying to know who Quinn is. My guess is that she used to be in the cult in Georgia that they were talking about and she killed someone and is now in the witness protection program. Who do you guys think Quinn is?

BluTopaz

I should add, these are probably the same people who make it their business to demand that brownskinned Black women stop complaining whenever the issue of light skin preference in the media comes up. These geniuses are the true gatekeepers as to what Black womanhood really is, literally and figuratively/sarcasm.

CareyCarey

Damn, who said anything about Kerry's diction being the main focus of concern?! DONE DONE DONE — this party is over.

BluTopaz

So basically there are negroes in this thread questioning Kerry's authenticity (whatever that means) because she speaks proper diction. Why do so many Black people love to kvetch about the dumbest shit? Are you that wounded?

MichelleToo

So, as an actress, my mother gave me a piece of advice…never criticize another actress. Since I believe in karma and this particular piece of advice I will chime in and say that this is some of the best acting that Kerry Washington has done in her career. I haven't watched every episode. Maybe like, 60%, but I really believe that she has grown into this character and this character has grown into her, so to speak.

A lot of actors are so good at TV because the writers begin to write for you, and a beautiful thing happens when the actors and writers (directors too, but with TV they change from episode to episode) really begin to fall in love with and truly know the characters. So the result is that the actors really get to shine. In fact, when I look back over Kerry's career, she hasn't really gotten to do a lot in her movies. In Lakeview Terrace, the character, in my opinion wasn't well written. And she didn't get to do anything. The roles that really put Kerry on the map in her early career, were characters that had a great deal of agency and something to do and were well written. For instance, Save The Last Dance. She was really good. That character was very prominently featured, had something at stake, was well written, was a part of the movie….an integral part of the movie. Compared to Ray where the character was just sort of blah. And yes, no small actors, blah, blah, but I think I am noticing a trend with her characters. Some of the roles she has had to do have just been negligible or sparsely and poorly written.

And LORD IN HEAVEN knows that I have no interest in defending Kerry Washington, nor does she need me too. But I think what I am trying to say is that Kerry is bringing a great deal of herself to this role. And really, how is Olivia Pope any different from First Lady Michelle Obama? Mrs. Obama doesn't roll her eyes, suck her teeth, say "Girl", put her hands on her hips or anything else. So why is Kerry getting such a backlash? Is it because we like Michelle Obama better than kerry Washington?

You know, Kerry doesn't have to ever suck a tooth or role an eyeball. Kerry is Black. For real. No questions. Her skin color, for me, does all the talking. She isn't Rashida Jones, Maya Rudolph, Paula Patton, the girl from Glee who plays Santana, or any other "Black" actress out there. In her own skin, to me, Kerry Washington is the most defiant and political character on TV. And not to bash women who are fair, but really, with Kerry Washington, she looks Black, period. She doesn't need to do anything else in my opinion.

One of the quibbles I do have with the show is Columbus Short. Does anyone know why he is on this show? He is like a big name, right? Done a bunch of movies, right? So why is he on TV in a really, really small part? I'm really confused!

misha

"I was simply trying to make a point that whether or not some people want to embrace the notion that black woman do have distinctly difference traits than white women, we all know it's true. Well, maybe I should say those of us that are not ashamed of being associated with and/or connected to "being Black", will admit there's a difference. Listen, I don't care what anyone says, when a person enters a room, the first thing we identify is the color of their skin – period!" >>>> Oh, lordy! You are making all kinds of sense this morning, old rambling one! LOL

SW

I'm reading the comments wondering, what would be some acceptable black identifiers? Finally an explanation:

"would it be wrong for a brotha to get a sistah girl head twirl, or a side-eye blink-eye while she smacks her lips **I know you ain't talkin' to this sistah like you done lost yo damn mind**."

Is this serious?? (I'm literally asking, and hoping) First off all, in all my years as a black woman I've never said/done any of this shit. Secondly, does it occur to anyone that these particular signifiers arent in ANY way indicative of who we already know this character to be?? And lastly, did you know Cyrus was gay before they showed his partner? Was it clear to you that the prez was a Republican? Oh but lemme guess, you KNEW that Columbus Short's character had been locked up.

I'm sorry, but to suggest that she's a "white black woman" etc, because what, she's a professional woman with access to the WH who hasnt yet thrown a backyard bbq in SE or gone to Ben's Chili Bowl, is some ignorant shit I'd expect from folks over at TheYBF or Necole Bitchie.

Nadine

I'm rushing so if the tone is harsh, please forgive… Scandal not only did extremely well, but was able to "dominate" the season finale of the Mentalist? I would not have thought so based on the reticence and comments I've seen on these boards. Rumors of low ratings… etc… and this Kerry Washington as White woman in black character is ridiculously provincial and ignorant of race and the federal government. Race is a construct used to hold down the masses, but in powerful circles, it is more about what you can do than who you are…. the more humble the roots, the better. As I've stated before… check out the culture of Management consultants and political insiders… research Booze Allen Hamilton and McKinsey & Co…. this world is what you all don't even KNOW you don't know and putting Kerry in a box based on your limited understanding of how things work in this country or what Blackness is, is very sad. Kerry and I grew up in the same city, same grade level, similar circumstances, similar arts programs, similar upbringing – sent to private schools – she Manhattan, me Manhattan and Westchester, NY. She has a more watered-down immigrant background, but has a clear immigrant influence nonetheless, a heavy, almost neurotic emphasis on education, and came from a strong 2-parent household,. Our paths crossed when we were teens in the arts and between private schools (she appeared to have an interest in a Black kid extremely beautiful dark-skinned son of African immigrants, in my neighborhood). There was never a doubt in my mind that she was "not a sista" (r u kidding?). She moved on, like the rest of us, who were required to attend high-performing universities, The Ivys, 7 Sisters, etc… She graduated from George Washington Magna cum Laude. I identify with Kerry more than ANY other woman I've seen on television (her facial features, her body, her mindset) and I have to tell you that the major markets in NY and the Mid-Atlantic would as well. She has a "valley" tone to her voice… that was bound to happen… given her background why would she sound or behave like she was from the South which is a REAL YET REGIONAL CULTURAL IDENTITY THAT HAS MIGRATION PATTERNS THAT WOULD NOT HAVE AFFECTED KERRY AS MUCH GIVEN HER BACKGROUND AND ENVIRONMENT. I would expect her to "kiss her teeth" before "rolling her neck" (which does not resonate with me culturally). I don't get Tyler Perry… It actually offends me, but I'm not going to say that he doesn't reflect Black people because he is NOTHING like the Black people I've known or grown up with. Class is real! There is not ONE BLACKNESS! FIRST: Can we start by dropping "whore" from this convo…. seriously ya'll? Please, also do some research on Kerry's political activities and see exactly how NON-BLACK she is, because I've got to tell you, this chick is doing a hell of a lot more than most "folks" in Hollywood globally and locally (5 boroughs – specifically the Bronx where she is from)… not to mention that she, no doubt, knows more about your histories than. oh, 98% of the Black population in this country. So let's all please give this woman a break. It's like there is no understanding of RACE, CLASS and GENDER…

Nadine

SCANDAL RATINGS: "During the 10pm hour, ABC’s freshman season finale of Scandal ran in a near-tie with CBS’ finale of The Mentalist for first place in Adults 18-49 (pacing within 1-tenth of a rating point and tied in audience share), while beating The Mentalist in Adults 18-34 and across all key Women (W18-34/W18-49/W25-54). Also in its time period, ABC’s Scandal continued to dominate its freshman drama competition, more than tripling the results for NBC’s Awake in Viewers (+257%), Adults 25-54 (+275%) and Adults 18-49 (+243%). Additionally, Scandal dominated The Mentalist finale with Adults 18-34 (+21%) and finished #1 in its slot for the 7th consecutive week with Women 18-49.

· Spiking in its finale over the prior week with Total Viewers (+17%), Adults 18-49 (+26%) and Adults 25-54 (+20%), ABC’s Scandal achieved new series highs.

· The new drama attracted ABC’s largest audience in the time period since the beginning of January and its top Adult numbers (AD18-49/AD25-54) in 3 months – since 1/5/12 and 2/16/12, respectively" (Sara Bibel) http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/05/18/abcs-greys-anatomy-finale-is-up-year-to-year-scandal-closes-out-at-series-highs/135008/

Orville

I like Kerry Washington but her character Olivia Pope is really the white man's whore.
Olivia Pope has no connection to the black community on Scandal she's basically the whitest black woman on television. Maybe in season two we will see Olivia's family but I doubt it. I also doubt Olivia's love interest in season two will be black.

And Kerry plays that again as Broomhilda in Django Unchained. In Kerry's interviews with the press she always down plays race. I don't know if it is a marketing strategy of Shonda Rhimes to make Scandal as race neutral as possible.

Nadine

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… THE FINALE http://www.hulu.com/watch/362308/scandal-grant-for-the-people

Anon

Listen, S&A Admins! Is there any way you can start cutting down on all the opinion/speculation and just give us the facts and let us make our own opinion? I've found that to be a consistent problem with this blog and maybe I'm out of line and thats how you want your blog to run. But it's really tiresome to have to drudge through a mountain of your personal speculation to get to the point and ultimately form my own opinion. I think most of your readers are grown people who don't need to be fed what to think. I enjoy your blog for consistently reporting on all things black media (I've even dropped you a lead that helped S&A be the first to scoop the story) but I often find myself learning about an important black media news story here and going somewhere else to read about it. Just a heads up. All the best!

Kid chaos

Face facts a real White republican would not mess with a black woman.Kerry washington is one of those i wish i was white black chicks.

Orville

Shonda Rhimes doesn't discuss Olivia Pope's race because her main agenda is to attract a multi racial audience. If Scandal discussed race I guess Shonda and ABC's fear is the show will be viewed as "too black." Notice the only TWO BLACKS are on Scandal Kerry Washington and Columbus Short. Shonda Rhimes has her formula but I think race should not be ignored. I think race should NOT be the total story but it seems bizarre to me that Shonda ignores the real reason President Grant and Olivia can't be together. America isn't post racial and it is interesting that Olivia Pope is basically like a prostitute. In the scene where the First Lady admonishes Olivia she seemed to suggest that Olivia was like a concubine. Mellie basically treated Olivia like she was a slut.

Well given the fact ABC only gave Scandal 13 episodes for the second season I am concerned. Why couldn't ABC give Scandal the usual 22 episodes? The media are saying America is so post racial yet Scandal can't get a real full season. I think Kerry Washington has done well on Scandal and I liked the season finale. However, the ratings for Scandal aren't that great the show gets between 6 to 7 million viewers per week.

CareyCarey

There must be a curse on me and Scandal. Last week our sirens went off because we had a tornado in the area. The local weather channel cut in — poof — no more Scandal. Last night I got caughtup in Labron James and Gabreille Union's man ( Dwayane Wade) get their butts wiped by the Indiana Pacers, so I missed the last episode. However, after reading Tambay's post and the subsequent comments, I have to say I love Misha's comment –> "I can't say that I've forgotten that Olivia is black, even with the show not giving it any attention at all. Nor do I want to forget that she's black since I don't view race/blackness AS A BAD THING…a barrier that needs to be overcome. On the contrary, I want people to notice all the things that make me who I am…MY BLACKNESS INCLUDED. :) The whole idea of being "color blind" is rather silly to me anyway. Not only is it impossible (we ALL see color/race whether we want to or not) but it's also unnecessary" ~ Misha. YES! Right there — right there within Misha's 100 word comment — are my biggest concerns with Scandals and Kerry Washington's acting. I know… I know… I got the rotten egg award for saying something similar about her acting in Lakeview Terrace, but biting off Misha, who said — "I want people to notice all the things that make me who I am…MY BLACKNESS INCLUDED. :)" — my rub against Scandals and Kerry is that it seems like her character and the show is doing their damdest to move away from anything that remotely gives the indication/appearance that she's anything other than a white woman in black skin. Heck, with all those over the top facial expression — she's so fond of — would it be wrong for a brotha to get a sistah girl head twirl, or a side-eye blink-eye while she smacks her lips **I know you ain't talkin' to this sistah like you done lost yo damn mind**. Listen, I'm suggesting that Kerry and Shonda are giving the appearance of playing the Three Card Monte. Y'all know the game — the black queen starts in the middle — then the cards are flipped and flopped and **POOF**… she's gone — only a shadow of a black woman remains. That's right, I get the feeling the Scandalous crew are playing black folks as big suckers, aka, pawns & marks, while trying their best to appease and coddle white viewers. Next season, I wouldn't be surprised if Kerry Washington pulls off one of those Mission Impossible masks to reveal she's really Lindsay Lohan.

Brandon

I think the better the show does, the more eps they will order. I still feel as if abc is on the fence about this show bc it doesn't get a full season like ga and pp. abc is still playing it safe

michele

Great write up Tambay.
I originally didn't watch Scandal until it was a few episodes deep. But I did try to watch the show on ABC.com in support since I didn't watch it live.
For me, it took a few episodes for the show to find it's footing. I didn't really like the pilot. One of the best things about the show for me was Fitz and Olivia's relationship, and I don't know if I'll stick around for season 2 if they try to ignore it. The show will be much more interesting if they continue their relationship, it doesn't have to be a full on affair, but the teasing of it 'the will they or won't they' is needed. And if someone else comes into play, it needs to be a triangle.
I was kind of surprised that the cliffhanger was Quinn's identity. It was almost as if she wrote it thinking it wasn't going to be renewed, with Olivia's and Fitz' semi closure.

I think Quinn is the daughter of someone we already know, possibly the vice president, or Cyrus. That's the only way it holds any real weight. In the finale the VP's daughter is brought up, as well as Cyrus' reluctance to have children with his husband.

As far as how race/sexuality is handled on the show, I find it refreshing. Though I hope next season explores it a bit, the political arena is a hot bed for these kinds of discussions, it adds another layer of realness and complexity to the show.

Walter Fox

"You actually almost forget that she IS black". I never came close to forgetting she was black, so speak for yourself. I hate when someone tries to speak for everyone.

misha

Oh and I don't care who Quinn Perkins is. Can her and the red head just go away, please?

donnadara

A moderate Republican President? That's like a unicorn. When the last time we've seen one of those? Grant seems Clintonesque in the politics that they showed – definitely not like any Republican that we've seen recently. I was sort of boycotting the series because I am offended that Kerry Washington is part of that slave thing with Quentin Tarantino, but I started watching on Hulu and I got pulled in. I loved it.

misha

Well tambay, I can't say that I've forgotten that Olivia is black, even with the show not giving it any attention at all. Nor do I want to forget that she's black since I don't view race/blackness as a bad thing…a barrier that needs to be overcome. On the contrary, I want people to notice all the things that make me who I am…my blackness included. :) The whole idea of being "color blind" is rather silly to me anyway. Not only is it impossible (we ALL see color/race whether we want to or not) but it's also unnecessary, considering that noticing one's race isn't the problem. Rather, it's making assumptions based on one's race that creates so much ignorance/hatred. Anyhow, the best thing about this show for me contines to be Olivia/Fitz and to a lesser extent, Cyrus/Fitz/Olivia. I was disappointed in the writers making Cyrus the mastermind behind Amanda's death. I thought it was an obvious/heavy-handed attempt to up the shock value but it failed for me because Cyrus ended up looking more lik a caricature, a sociopath. And sorry but Mellie and Billy playing that role is more than enough for me. Also, while I love Fitz and Liv, I'm certainly open to another love interest for Liv. (Even though I don't really care for her sans Fitz/Cyrus). However, it's an absolute NO to David. I like Josh Malina on the show and I think he has good chemistry with Kerry but not of the romantic variety. YES to a brotha. Morris Chestnut…D.B. Woodside, anyone? :D

Tamara

"Cyrus is a patriot who really loves his country and really believes in the presidency. In a weird way, that's his flaw. His patriotism has taken him to some dark places." – exactly. Same for Billy Chambers, this ultimate belief in the 'purity' of real and true patriotism. Well it can't be had because humans are flawed. Billy was/is flawed. He was so gung-ho on getting the Vice-Pres into office because he truly believed in what her leadership would do for the country that he completely exited Sanity-ville, committed a heinous crime and then covered his butt (or attempted to) by Kanye-ing the pulpit at the press conference, then interviewing with various news outlets. Billy was just as zealous about patriotism as Cyrus is…the difference is experience. Cyrus has been able to plot and plan and lay back in the cut with patience whereas Billy's manic impulsiveness ultimately took him over. Cyrus is an intriguing character. I reference him as an "Iago" type in my Twitter timeline last night, but nah, he's more…maybe a Richard III because he has an agenda. I also wondered on last night how it was that Quinn was able to get her job without ANYONE having done a thorough background check on her. But by episode's end I realized that Olivia is the one who knows. She knows the pasts of each individual in her staff, whereas I don't think the staff really know a complete history of each other. Columbus's character is an ex-con…yeah we get that, but I've a feeling there's more to him. There's more to the British guy and his cheating ways. There's more to the red head (forgive me for not remembering her name), than just a past with an abusive ex and divorce gone awry. There's more to Huck….God KNOWS there's more to him than the "Moses" we encountered in last week's flashback. There's even more to Olivia than her affair with Fitz. There's more to the D.A., too. I can totally see the writing going deeper with each character in the new season. Also, I'd like to point out a parallel. Olivia's team: her GLADIATORS hold a blind faith in justice and do-rightedness just as Cyrus, Billy, et al, hold a similar faith in Fitz, the office of the Presidency and overall patriotism to the great US of A, respectively. I read somewhere that Rhimes said she writes the finale first then works backwards to write the other episodes. I think that's a cool tactic. Also, I love how she has taken this very general setup of "the president having an affair with a staff member: story at 11" and told it from the vantage point of Olivia, the fixer. Imagine exploring the same scenario from the vantage point of say, Billy or Cyrus, etc. It's just a cool thing to do; to flip something 'familiar' and still manage to make it an interesting watch. I love this show. Perhaps a little too much. Can't wait for the dvd boxset release!

Mistri

The Cosby Show didn't bring attention to color either. An interesting point is that this black woman set herself up for a huge political "scandal" with a Republican president.

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