The other day I quoted a line from the hit show “Scandal” and referenced it in conversation. A guy who has known me for years was surprised that I watched the show. When I asked him why he was surprised he said, “well, you’re like, a feminist…”
“…and like, he’s cheating on his wife…”
“like, can you LIKE a guy like that? What’s the appeal?”
He then went on to explain things like “gender and race politics”* and a whole bunch of other reasons as to why I, a Black female feminist and politically aware person, shouldn’t be so “caught up” in a show.
When he finished, I said, “have you WATCHED it?”
So, let me try to explain. It’s the men.
Spoiler Alert: unless you are completely caught up on episodes, or don’t care, there are clips below that may spoil things for you).
The men of Scandal are fantasy men. Okay, well only TWO men really. Harrison (played by Columbus Short, aka the dude who was in You Got Served) and President Fitzgerald Grant (played by Tony Goldwyn…aka the dude who betrayed Patrick Swayze in Ghost).
Let’s start with Harrison
Harrison. Oh…Harrison. This is a man who is ride or die. His passion. His loyalty. His ability to pull a “hush mama”? Women throw their imaginary panties at the screen when he does things like this. You may think it’s a matter of talking back, or “shutting up” a woman, but no. It’s Harrison’s ability to stand up when you need to stand up and not be afraid to do it. He’s not worrying about hurting your feelings or coddling you, but if you need to cry, he’s got the shoulder at the ready. However, if you’re acting a fool, he will tell you. Then, when it’s time to go to war for you, he will suit up and go to war. The balance of this is tricky. See below:
President Grant. Ah…this is the dude you all take issue with. A cheating, lying, philandering, Republican who is chasing after his ex-mistress while his wife is still pregnant…
Y’know. When you write it out like that, not so bueno. So why do women overlook all these things and seemingly “forgive” him? Is it the Superman curl of his hair? His “fuck me” expression when he wants a piece of Olivia (the man’s fuck me face is awesome )? Is it that he has the convenient excuse of having an “evil” wife?
Is it that because he’s misunderstood?
It’s because he’s absolutely, one hundred percent, totally, without a doubt, madly in love with Olivia Grant (played by Kerry Washington aka the single teen mom in Save the Last Dance). Again, the writers of this show put words into this character’s mouth that women dream of hearing (skip ahead to the 1:00 minute mark, for romance…watch all the way through for context):
Just not from a married man.
Simply put, this man lays out all the cards. He unabashedly says, “I love you” to her, repeatedly. He does things that many think a man in love SHOULD do. Tell me, when is the last time you said to a woman “I love you. I’m in love with you. You’re the love of my life?”
How many times have you WANTED to say it…but didn’t?
Tell me why you think a woman wouldn’t want to hear that…
You see, I know of a lot of women who are in these “secret” relationships. No one’s cheating or running around like President Grant. In fact, it could be a regular run of the mill relationship. Yet…
You want to be “private”, you say. That what you feel or your relationship isn’t “everybody’s business” you say. That you don’t need to tell her how you feel because “she knows”, you say…
Yet. Your girl is flinging imaginary panties at the screen every Thursday, you say…
Feelings. My darling boys. Feelings. These men prove the feelings you (may actually) have, but for various reasons avoid expressing out loud. These men? They are committed to her. They LOVE her. Do they get mad at her? Yes. Do they always do the right thing? No.
HELLO! THE DUDE IS CHEATING ON HIS PREGNANT WIFE!
But they LOVE her and are COMMITTED to her. It’s the greatest weekly fantasy on television right now.
Sigh. Therein lies the rub. It’s all fantasy. For an hour, we can live vicariously through Olivia Pope (and her bomb ass wardrobe) and we can have two men, two men who don’t actually HAVE to, tell us everything we’ve ever wanted to hear. Things we’d want to hear from real men in our lives. Like you. The ones who’d rather suggest a “hang out” than a “date”. Or avoid the commitment conversation by “going dark”. Or, when asked where things are going, respond with, “it’s good. Y’know? We’re good.”
Or, who instead of taking the next step in commitment, break up because you’re worried better pussy will come along…
By the way…
Did I mention that she has another man in love with her and has asked her to marry him, twice!? Yes. A man who could take away ALL the drama and give her a normal life, with dinner at six and babies? She chooses not to, because duh, who’d turn in to watch her make lasagna for a senator each week? But why does this Senator stay losing?
“The Senator is a good guy. He’s the representation of all the things you ask for in a man isn’t it?” (He said)
Uhmmmmm. Not really. No. He comes in and says, “I’ll take care of you. I’ll be your hero…” (which is what you THINK we want to hear) But when she denies him (say, professionally), he reminds her right quick of her “place’. The power dynamic that’s actually tipped in his favour…by pointing out that his position means that he could easily have her thrown in jail.
Well. Sweetie. Thank you for that.
He then shows up at her house and well…
“Do it now, while I still have time to help you.”?
Except. She didn’t ask for your help. This is why he stays losing. He’s the “nice guy” who gets shown the door.
Yup. That’s my theory. I don’t know many women who want white knights these days.
With all the pressure of work, life, children, parents, and various other responsibilities, I know many women who want a man who loves them, who will go to battle WITH them, and will, when needed, look them in the eye and have the balls to say, “you’re the love of my life”.
Hell, just even be that shoulder to cry on when it gets to be too much.
How many of you can say you’re a Gladiator?
*Regarding the gender/race politics thing… look. Kerry’s character was based on a real Black woman. Would you have preferred that her character be whitewashed to make her love for Fitz more palatable for YOU? How about if Shonda made the President Black? Then don’t you think people would’ve taken that to be an attack on Barack Obama? Shonda does colourblind casting. She casts who works best for that role. Christina Yang (Grey’s Anatomy) could’ve easily been Christina Young. Callie Torres could’ve easily been Callie Thomas. She picks GOOD actors. Suck it up.