This post is not about my thoughts on the finale. I haven’t watched except for during East Coast live tweeting so I will reserve my judgement for when I have had a chance to see it again. It IS on my thoughts about Shondaland in general.
I’ve seen (and even said) “Oh, it’s NOT a soap” sarcastically thrown around on twitter when something on Scandal happens that is just insane and unbelievable. Because Shonda Rhimes claims repeatedly it is NOT. However, what I’ve come to realize, is that nothing in Shondaland is even close to reality — and we have to adjust our expectations to meet that. I think that Shonda truly believes her world is closer to “real life” than a soap opera. While that is debatable, it is definitely helpful to watch her shows with the knowledge up front that the situations the characters find themselves in will be maxed out on drama and suspense.
In reality, NO WAY would a one-term governor from California be elected President on his first campaign. NO WAY would he survive an assassination attempt TO THE HEAD. NO WAY would so many public affair headlines just settle down on the next news cycle. NO WAY would a Republican President have an outed and married Chief of Staff (sorry, not that I think that is acceptable, but it wouldn’t happen). NO WAY would Seattle Grace get ALL those crazy wackadoo medical mysteries (unless they were the only hospital that survived the apocalypse). NO WAY would Oceanside Wellness not been sued to pieces for all the patient-doctor manipulation that went on there. Etc. Etc. Etc.
So what has helped me with all of the absurdities is to just think of it as an alternate, extreme, morally-ambiguous world. It’s not meant to be realistic. Shonda is writing for the masses. OF COURSE because of that she will write love triangles. OF COURSE she will play those triangles out as long as possible, because that keeps MORE fans invested, hoping their “ship” will ultimately become canon. OF COURSE she packs more drama into the episodes that is realistic or necessary. The broader her story, the broader her audience. Even if someone only stays to watch because they love the Papa Pope storyline or love Abby or Mellie or any ONE character; they’re still watching.
Personally, I have decided to look PAST these things. It has made my Scandal viewing experience so much better. If I can look at the story and say “ok, regardless of how believable these circumstances are, can I believe that this character would react this way?” and say yes, then I’m ok.
I can believe that characters would not always understand their own feelings, or would not trust them if they did. I can believe that you can be so madly in love with someone, but still feel something for someone else (no matter how much it hurts you to feel it). I can believe that you can feel torn between what is right judicially and right morally, and maybe choose the latter. I can understand how fear and anger and betrayal make you act differently in the moment than if you had time to consider your circumstances. So often we judge these characters based on their reactions; but most of the time we the viewers have had weeks to digest information that the characters are just learning.
I understand if you are disappointed that Season 3 didn’t have the same “magic” or “spark” as certain episodes (106, 208, 211). But I also think that the fact that those episodes are so rare adds to their magic. If we got them every week Scandal would not be the same show. I for one have not lost hope that we will see that magic again in the future.
I’m not saying if you think Shondaland is a soap or can’t adjust your frame of thinking you are wrong. Please feel free to watch (or stop watching) as you choose. But I am explaining why I am able to stay upbeat about the future of Olitz, and how I’ve come to still enjoy this show that I fell in love with 3 seasons ago. The volume of negativity in the fandom ABOUT the show is shocking to me and I can’t stand to see it go on. I hope that we can all find peace with Season 3, or, if not, find an alternative show (because there is SO MUCH amazing TV being produced these days!).
I always say: love is louder. Make sure if you are spending all your time on Scandal, it is still something you LOVE. If not, find something you do. You will be happier, I promise.