THE PHENOMENON OF SCANDAL

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

When Scandal first premiered six years ago it was unlike any other show that was on TV at the time. It was a show that we would have a love/hate relationship with and we loved every minute of it. Scandal told stories boldly and unapologetically. That moment when we rooted for Olivia and Fitz and some later rooted for Olivia and Jake and we realized that she had a type; dating married men. Yes, Jake was married if you remember in Season Five we learned that he was married. Finally, that moment when we rooted for the White Hat and wanted to be a “Gladiator in A Suit” and get justice by any means necessary.

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The premiere of Scandal brought about a first, which we are experiencing a lot of these days. This drama helped bring in a new era of diversity on the small screen. Kerry Washington became the first African- American to be lead in a TV drama, something that hadn’t happen since 1974. She was also the first African-American woman in 18 years to be nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This opened up the door for so many other African-American female leads, including Being Mary Jane with Gabrielle Union and another ShondaLand show How To Get Away with Murder with Viola Davis.

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As I am re-watching Scandal from the beginning I am loving how Shonda Rhimes has given opportunities for actors to act on not only one of her shows, but several. Kelly McCreary appeared in Season Three as a friend of Columbus Short before he was killed in the series. Kelly later landed on Grey’s Anatomy as the fierce bad-ass Dr. Maggie Pierce, half-sister of Meredith Grey. Jerrika Hinton appeared in Season One as a coroner and later landed on Grey’s Anatomy as the seemingly heartless intern Stephanie Edwards. Bellamy Young appeared in a cross-over event with Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice as a patient and we all know she ended up on Scandal as Mellie Grant: First Lady, Governor, and President. Scott Foley appeared as Teddy’s patient and later husband on Grey’s Anatomy and later moved on to be the none other than Command of B6313 on Scandal.

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Scandal has tackled so many issues that have impacted lots of lives. From military rape to Black Lives Matter this show has tackled it all. One of my favorite episodes is “Vermont is For Lovers”, Episode 308. Not only was it a great episode, it made TV history as well. It was the first primetime show with an African-American showrunner, Shonda Rhimes, first-time TV director at the time Ava Duvernay and lead Kerry Washington. The famous episode where Fitz and Olivia were on the outs and he flies her to Vermont to show her the house that he had built of her. Such a classic and touching episode for me because you really felt the love that he had for Olivia.

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“Deciding how to end a show is easy. Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away. But actually, going through with it? Actually, standing up to say: This, is it? Not so much so. We are leaving everything on the table with this finale. We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our Scandal family: all together, white hats on, Gladiators running full speed over a cliff.” – Shonda Rhimes

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Shonda never saw this show as a long lifespan. She always saw it as a season-seven show. Tonight, on ABC at 10 pm, Scandal will say its final goodbye and hang up the white hat for good; and the entire country will be watching and tweeting with the cast for the very last time. I will definitely miss the ride and rollercoaster that Shonda Rhimes gave us with this show.

Farewell Scandal and thank you to the cast and crew for such a great ride!

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