If you are one of the few people that don’t tune into Shonda Rhimes’ latest hit TV show Scandal every Thursday night at 10/9c, I feel sorry for you.
In fact, please do yourself a favor, stop reading this, purchase the first season here immediately, and then come back so I can convince of you why you, too, will be obsessed with Olivia Pope. I’m so confident you will love the show that if for whatever weird reason you don’t, I will personally reimburse you. (OK, not seriously – I’m a recent college grad living at home and I’m writing this for free.)
Let me break the reasoning for my obsession down for you.
She’s authentically powerful.
What do I mean by this? I mean that she is an established woman on a television show that isn’t portrayed as a raging you-know-what. She is aware of her own strengths and weaknesses. She trusts her gut, and knows that the combination of her intelligence, drive and woman’s intuition is the key to her success.
Even more importantly, she doesn’t bring those around her down. Unless, of course, you’re getting in the way of one of her clients – in that case, sorry, but you’re shit outta luck.
The way I see it, there are two types of power. There is power gained by reaching for it externally, which often results in ruthlessness and is a reflection of insecurity. Then there’s authentic power, the kind that comes from within and recognizing that everyone has something unique to offer, including yourself.
Being authentically powerful means taking one moment at a time and putting your presence and awareness into it. It means listening to your instinct. It means simultaneously empowering yourself while empowering those around you. Olivia doesn’t feel threatened by somebody else’s power, simply because she has confidence in her own.
As self-assured as she is in her professional life, Olivia is a hot mess outside the office. She doesn’t always make the best decisions. Most people would categorize having an affair with a married man and rigging a national election as “not cool,” and I would agree.
But it’s the dichotomy of her character that makes her so fascinating. Influential women on television are typically portrayed as either completely perfect or overbearing, raging maniacs. Not Olivia. She is raw, vulnerable, sometimes messy, deeply compassionate and she doesn’t always get it right. But she’s trying to.
I’m not sure that I would feel the same about her if she were a real person.
And that’s precisely the awesome thing about TV. If Olivia actually existed and I read about her in a gossip rag or heard about her on the news, I know I’d be quick to judge. It’s all too easy to condemn and dismiss people from the outside looking in, especially those who appear to be untouchable.
Through Olivia, we see that people with power are human, too. They mess up and make mistakes. They have insecurities, fears and self-destructive patterns. I find a lot of comfort in knowing that someone as influential as Olivia Pope isn’t so different from me.
She’s successful in some areas of her life, and still trying to figure things out in others. She makes as many good choices as she does bad ones. She’s by no means without fault, but that’s exactly why I relate to her and keep coming back every week.
What are your thoughts on Scandal and Olivia Pope? Share with us in the comments section below.
Photo credit ABC Networks.
- Kerry Washington For Vanity Fair Magazine (livelyindepthmusicent.com)
- ‘Scandal’ – Must-See TV: Five reasons to get to know Olivia Pope (digitalspy.co.uk)
- Getting Chose: A Scandal Revelation (dopereads.com)