Liking 'Scandal' Doesn't Mean Condoning Cheating

Tony Goldwyn and Kerry Washington of ABC's Scandal (Danny Feld/Disney ABC Television Group)
Tony Goldwyn and Kerry Washington of ABC's Scandal (Danny Feld/Disney ABC Television Group)

The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas argues at Essence that women like the ABC show despite the main character's affair, not because of it.

As with anything that becomes quickly popular, a backlash is imminent, and Scandal's time apparently has come. Writing for CBS Atlanta, Mo Ivory summed up the show's main character as "no different than Joseline from Love & Hip Hop Atlanta or Kim from The Real Housewives of Atlanta — she just has more expensive clothes, a higher paying job and tighter security. She is no breath of fresh air, nuanced or complicated, and definitely not a rarity in black female representation." Ivory is clearly no fan of Pope's affair with the married (and white) United States of America President or her shady back-room dealings to manipulate or intimidate whoever is necessary to get her way …

That said, Ivory makes a point. I don't see Pope as she does, of course, but there's no denying Pope is — or, er, was, if you're up to date on the show — involved in a love triangle with a married man. It is quite the scandal indeed, but isn't that in keeping with the show's title and premise? I didn't expect piety and morality. Doesn't Pope get a hall pass for being a fictional character as opposed to a reality star whose scandalous life if presented as, well, the real life of a real woman?

I'd also argue the majority of women — myself included — like the show in spite of Pope's affair, not because of it. I don't want Pope to sneak around; I actually want the President to leave his wife and be with her so they can live happily ever after (which is never going to happen). And that doesn't mean I'm a hypocrite for not wanting my will-be husband (or your husband) to leave me (or you) for another woman; it means I'm really engrossed in the lives of characters on a fictional TV show. It's the same as how reading 50 Shades of Grey doesn't mean I want to be a dominatrix, or enjoying The Godfather doesn't mean I support the mob. It does mean I like my fiction with sexy and well-told storylines — and I tune into Scandal religiously because it has both.


Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire piece at Essence.

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