Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Scandal?

By Lily Sparks

Apr 05, 2012

We've already watched the pilot for Scandal, the new ABC drama that debuts tonight, so the only question that remains is, should you? Let's find out!

When does this thing air?

Scandal premieres tonight—Thursday, April 5—at 10pm on ABC, filling in for Private Practice and going head-to-head with CBS's The Mentalist and NBC's intriguing Awake.

The stars? What of the stars?

90 percent of the screen time and 99 percent of the fun centers on Kerry Washington, who plays protagonist Olivia Pope, a lawyer cum spin doctor cum Washington power player who is BFFs with the president. There's also cozy audience proxy Katie Lowes, foxy Columbus Short, and brief glimpses of the incomparable Jeff Perry, who I will forever think of as Richard Katimski from My So-Called Life.

Creators, m'lady?

Scandal comes from the steady creative hands of Shonda Rhimes, creator of (as if you didn't know) the incredibly addictive Grey's Anatomy and its sexy little sister, Private Practice.

Interesting. What's the story?

It honestly took me a while to figure this out. Olivia Pope is a major Washington power player and at her beck and call is a small herd of lawyers who will spring into action and do whatever it takes to protect their clients, whether it's morally correct or not. Their main concern: the client! Because they're not a law firm—they're a "crisis management firm—they don't need to follow the lawyer rulebooks! They're like detectives, except they don't thirst for the truth, they thirst for results!

What's the tone of the show?

At first I thought this was going to be a hard-to-follow CSI-type thing because of the crazy amount of banter it crackles open with and the myriad photo montages of dead people. Nope. I should have known Rhimes better. This is an emotionally saturated, scandalous soap opera dressed up as Lie To Me.

Who might like it?

Grey's Anatomy's legion of fans will love this. If you haven't seen Grey's Anatomy, I'll re-phrase: If you like to see professionals under incredible workplace stress being forced to make choices that plumb the very depths of their emotional souls and strain their interwoven relationships to the breaking point, you'll like this. Also, if you'd like to see The West Wing without all the imaginary politics and just political big dogs getting in each others' faces, then your show has arrived.

Who might not like it?

This is no whodunit. If you want to see a mystery solved through brilliant rational deduction, look elsewhere. If you actually love CSI-type procedurals that are heavy on legalese and sighing cops, or gruesome dead-body shows like where they endlessly pore over wax figures of beheaded teens, this is not for you. Likewise, if you want a good laugh, look elsewhere. Also, if you actually do love imaginary politics, this has a smattering, but painted with a very broad brush. Like Grey's, Scandal is all about the relationships and the emotional resonance of the plot. Which a lot of us love! But I know some of us loathe.

So for real... yay or nay? You seem to kind of be arguing for both sides.

Okay, I generally shy away from anything that looks proceduralish. And Scandal has a fair chunk of that to start with. I had my pencil poised to take notes on the pilot because I am so bad at just figuring out normal politics; imaginary ones basically make me cry with confusion. But then the plot surprised me by morphing into something completely different than what I expected. Scandal a scandalous soap. I love soaps! And Kerry Washington is doing incredible work—even if she seems waaay too young to be a power player who's known middle-aged guys for "years." So if you gather from the promos that you won't like it, my advice is to ignore the promos and watch it all the way through to the end. And if you love Rhimes' other shows, enjoy.

Is there a clip I can take a look at so I can decide for myself?

You bet:

What should I imbibe while watching this?

Hmmm... this is straight-up vodka tonic for the pilot, and then it becomes a spicy peach Bellini. So why not mix all of those drinks into a pitcher and pour it out the window, because drinking is bad for your liver? Just enjoy the show with a tall glass of iced green tea, because let me tell you: All the close-ups on Kerry Washington's glowing, flawless skin will make you want to kill yourself with envy and green tea is good for the complexion.

Do you think you'll tune in?

  • Comments (19)
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  • Chipslinger May 25, 2012

    I really hate this show. I am watching it to see how bad it gets. Each episode is worse than the previous one. The worst writing since Grey's Anatomy. And that is saying something. Even worse than the bad writing though is the horrible politics. While West Wing offered an alternative to reality with a Democrat in the White House during the W years, this offers a Republican who is supposed to be a real cool guy except for the fact that he has a mistress of two, and one of them ends up dead. The politics don't match reality, the writing is terrible. I know I've said that but it bears repeating. The character is based on Crisis Manager Judy Smith who worked for George H.W. Bush, Michael Vick, and Monica Lewinsky. West Wing had great writing and characters on both sides of the aisle who were flawed, but believable. Scandal has really bad writing, and situations and characters that are in know way believable and are just straw man arguments for really bad politics. I hope this show gets cancelled fast.

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  • sibowittz Apr 06, 2012

    Yes, watch it

  • kanniballl Apr 06, 2012

    I caught the pilot a few days before it aired, iTunes was offering it early for free.

    It was "alright," I didn't find any fault with the actors/writing/direction/etc but it also wasn't that spectacular.

    I'll give it a few episodes to see if it hooks me in, as Pilots are not the best ways to judge a show.

  • leungkora Apr 06, 2012

    Sorry, I don't like it.

  • AsteriaNike Apr 06, 2012

    This looks fantastic! Sweet mix of drama, crime stuff, and banter...will definitely look into it...

  • Atlantida Apr 06, 2012

    i don't care about Kerry Washington or Shonda Rhimes (and Grey's is not my piece of cake) but i like Lily's taste. the shows she happens to recap are the best basically, so i believe when she says it's worth watching it really is. i'll definitely give it a try.

  • MarWash Apr 06, 2012

    I did not like the pilot; it tried waaaay too hard with it's quick-paced witty dialogue... the first scene was a turn off and it didn't get much better from there. The whole team with specialized members thing is nothing new, which wouldn't be a problem if the members were interesting, but they aren't. This concept would probably have worked better as an hour long drama/comedy on USA network alongside "White Collar" and "Suits", 'cause that's what it felt like, minus all the good things about those shows. The 2nd episode is not getting a look, this is DOA.

  • Polymnia Apr 06, 2012

    I will at least watch the pilot, mostly for Henry Ian Cusick (I mean, it's Desmond! if that's not a good reason to give it a try I don't know what is!). I am not too sure if I'm going to stick with it though, I just don't particularly care for Kerry Washington or for the whole 'Shonda Rhimes-brand'...

  • ben45tpy Apr 06, 2012

    Well I'll give it a go, I do think Grey's is pretty good, but I got burned over Lily's recommendation of the puerile excrement that was GCB, so I'm sensitised now.

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