Scandal!
September 23, 2014 8:56 AM   Subscribe

There are 47 episodes of Scandal (so far). In advance of the start of season 4 on Thursday, Vulture runs down the 50 most shocking moments. [Spoilers within, naturally]

Also works as a recap if you need to refresh your memory on what's happened so far.
posted by donajo (47 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is great. Most of this doesn't actually seem so crazy when you're watching the show, ha.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:08 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Okay, maybe a little crazy.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:09 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


The weirdest thing is the presence of Sorkin-favorite Joshua Malina on the show, which, with the Washington setting, makes you feel like your only a half-step away from the West Wing

...but everyone is an completely insane.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:20 AM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


This show makes my life complete.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 9:23 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I started watching this show in, like, April, and I am all caught up* and absurdly excited for the season to start.

*And then after walking through the room a dozen times and going, "Wait, what just happened?" my husband then caught up on his own.

It's almost science fiction, this world where every single person in it is completely nuts.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:26 AM on September 23, 2014


So, anyone up for a Fanfare thread for Scandal? I'm surprised there isn't one already.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:31 AM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


...but everyone is completely insane.

C'mon now. That one Secret Service agent who tells Mellie about all of Fitz's bidness seems sort-of-normal in the midst of the insanity. Also, there's the security guard who has a repoire with Olivia who likes cupcakes.
posted by donajo at 9:32 AM on September 23, 2014


I don't think I have ever felt as much loathing for a fictional character as I do for Fitz. Like, it's astonishing how much I hate him. I know pretty much everyone on that show is a terrible person, but Fitz...I can't even begin to convey to you the complexity of my loathing for Fitz. It adds a whole other level of insanity to a show already full of it, because I have such trouble believing anyone could love or admire him.
posted by yasaman at 9:32 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


because I have such trouble believing anyone could love or admire him.

Born on home plate, thinks he hit a home run.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:35 AM on September 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


The weirdest thing is the presence of Sorkin-favorite Joshua Malina on the show, which, with the Washington setting, makes you feel like your only a half-step away from the West Wing

...but everyone is an completely insane.


There's still an excess of Inspiring Monologues for which I blame Sorkin entirely.
posted by chaiminda at 9:37 AM on September 23, 2014


I find Shonda Rhimes's and Sorkin's writing styles to be disturbingly similar. It just now occurs to me to check and see if there's been any overlap in their writing teams.
posted by donajo at 9:39 AM on September 23, 2014


I don't watch this show, I only see it when someone else is watching. And yet, I am not surprised that my top three shocking moments are not even on the list.

- Mellie is having a not at all discreet affair with the vice president. Her daughter walks in on a blow job.
- Elliot's marine biologist boyfriend just straight up shoots three people in the street, but strangely enough, not the guy with glasses.
- The president and his posse actually plan to assassinate the vice president at a debate. (But then the president gets a little bit of conscience at calls it off. )

I don't actually have a problem with the crazy plot twists. My main issue with scandal is that everybody on that show is a horrible person. I can't get into shows like that.
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:40 AM on September 23, 2014


Wait, nobody loves Fitz, do they?

Thing we say at least 5 times during every episode: "Jesus, Fitz is the worst!"
posted by Lyn Never at 9:42 AM on September 23, 2014


Fitz joins a short list of Fictional Presedients Who Graduated From The Naval Academy, with Jack Ryan (Clancy) and Matt Santos (Sorkin) - (incidentally, both Marine Corps officers). This seems odd to me, since West Pointers have been actually President more often, and the only Annapolis grad to be elected was Carter, whose legacy in pop cuture is mostly a joke, when it exists at all. Or am I just not noticing the USMA grads?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:44 AM on September 23, 2014


(D'oh, misreading. My argument is that not even Olivia loves Fitz, she's just that insane.)
posted by Lyn Never at 9:44 AM on September 23, 2014


In contrast the recent Lost thread comments, Shonda must have a detailed chart of all the convolutions, the writers would have just made too many un-resolvable dead ends. I bet it ends with two convoluted plot lines that require a torrid seduction scene, with both parties entering the affair for nefarious and yet for embarrassingly noble reasons, and while they both know both secret factions are watching and recording, at the first kiss Olivia and Millie fall deeply in love. End of series.
posted by sammyo at 9:57 AM on September 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


I caught up on the show at the midseason break of Season 3, and it definitely works as a binge show. Week to week, the pure insanity of it became a little wearying (especially when combined with endless repetitions of B613) but in compulsive bursts it's a delight.

I dislike Fitz, and I hate Fitz and Olivia together, and I don't get the fans who swoon over their star-crossed romance, but my problem would be if the show thought they were a tragic romantic pairing; thankfully, I get the impression that they think of it as 20% romance / 80% two adults fooling themselves. Olivia, especially, gets treated poorly through her association with Fitz; Fitz already starts off pretty terribly, but Olivia is brought down by returning to him time and again even though he's clearly a jackass.

One other thing I feel like the show does on this nicely subtle level is show that Fitz might look 'right' and sound 'right', because he's a straight white man from a privileged background, but the people who are better and smarter and more cunning than he is, who would be better at his job but they are gay or a woman or black or a black woman, they all have to work for the figurehead rather than getting that power directly because of this basic injustice in the world. I know Cyrus directly addressed this in a speech one time, but that it's proven time and again I find quite satisfying.

So, yes, a lot of the characters are horrible, and that's a fair reason to not enjoy the show; me, I will always smirk at a Rowan Pope monologue or the Shonda Rimesian tick of giving her characters big revelatory speeches that start with them repeating something that sounds completely irrelevant but turns out to be Very Important. I will always have sympathy for Mellie, and like Abby and David, and hate Cyrus more than I hate Fitz. But I feel like the show has a surface level, which takes Fitz/Olivia seriously, and a subtextual level, which knows just how terrible they are for each other, and I can't have a decent conversation about it with anyone who engages only with the surface part.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:24 AM on September 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oh I've grown to love this show, everything is at peak melodrama all the time and so many ladies and minorities and everyone is dressed in couture all the time for no reason! Delightful.

Also I somehow decided along the way the explanation for Olivia being the way she is that she's ex SHEILD.

That being said I can't see the title without thinking of this
posted by The Whelk at 10:24 AM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


(honestly my only problem with any of the characters, if we assume Fitz's blandness is on purpose, is that Cyrus' husband is a shrill ninny who doesn't seem competent enough to cover a craft fair let alone be a white house correspondent.)
posted by The Whelk at 10:26 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I never liked James or Cyrus (though to be fair I've disliked Dan Bucatinsky ever since All Over The Guy), especially when they were ever held up as this shining gay relationship when they were just as fucked as any other relationship on the show, including Cyrus ordering to have James murdered, James Mob Wife-ing his silence on the voting scandal for a cushy job and a baby, the whole 'pimping out my husband' thing, and that this ostensibly loving couple couldn't be trusted not to completely destroy each other.

If the point was they were treated just like any other couple on the show, sure. Take that progress. But like Fitz and Olivia, they were often being held up as some great love when simple facts could not support that in the slightest.

I swear, just changing the music selections for the 'romantic' scenes in Scandal would show them for the destructive relationships they were.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:37 AM on September 23, 2014


Improbable, drama-for-the-sake-of-drama plot twists drive me crazy so I was pretty disappointed to see this list. I have been trying to get into Scandal but was put off by the hyperdrama from the beginning; I am sad it apparently gets worse.
posted by schroedinger at 10:46 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean, it's one thing to have a Machiavellian gay couple, I love those! But they never felt like they ...liked each other? And so many plots required James to be like, comically bad at his job? Why are these people a thing? Never got it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:47 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I mean it's one thing to have one inexplicable couple held up to view, I can buy that Olivia and Fritz just have this doomed infatuation with each other that will never go away but Cyrus and James seem like people who barely know each other let alone are in a long, complex relationship.
posted by The Whelk at 10:53 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree, the Cyrus and James back story was terribly unsatisfying. They met on the campaign trail and hooked up and then all of a sudden they're in True Love such that James can demand that Cyrus come out at an inaugural ball.

I think it's also a chemistry thing with those two actors. They don't spark at all. Whereas I completely buy that Mellie and the new VP are hot for each other.
posted by donajo at 11:19 AM on September 23, 2014


To be fair, Cyrus and James were only together for 3 or 4 years in show and given Cyrus's schedule probably spent about 10% of that time together at most. Also I feel like it's been more than implied that their relationship, despite the supposed emotional drama, was more about professional back scratching than anything else. I don't think they really liked each other at all - they just liked the idea of liking each other.

Christ, Cyrus was still married to his wife when they met them, so seeming like they should be a thing might be a different bar in Scandal reality.

(I'm not saying they made a believable couple; I just think the entire show is about how supposedly smart people make HORRIBLE LIFE CHOICES sometimes, which I suppose speaks to me.)

The president and his posse actually plan to assassinate the vice president at a debate. (But then the president gets a little bit of conscience at calls it off. )

You said you don't really watch this show, so this small difference probably wouldn't register.

But the president actually threw the debate (thus stopping the assassination) to stop the Religious Right vice president from admitting she'd murdered her gay husband (which would have implicated his chief of staff and administration for covering it up); his chief of staff and the evil B6-13 (for which one of his secret service agents is a mole) teamed up to kill the vice president but I don't think the president knew that was happening.

God, I love this show. I didn't watch it at all until this summer and I'm very excited to start watching it semi-live.

Also I somehow decided along the way the explanation for Olivia being the way she is that she's ex SHIELD.


Somebody on Twitter said Scandal took place in the Gossip Girl universe, and I've been obsessed with this idea ever since. Adding Marvel to the mix is not helping my brain.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:20 AM on September 23, 2014


No matter what happens on that show, the least realistic thing is still that they use Windows Phones.
posted by w0mbat at 11:22 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


"What kind of weird phone is that?" my partner at least 3 times during our Scandal binge.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:26 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


No matter what happens on that show, the least realistic thing is still that they use Windows Phones.

Arrow does the same thing.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 AM on September 23, 2014


I don't have time to google up a candidate but if the Dems wanted to boost a Fitz clone into the White House the could get one that looks a bit like Tony Goldwyn and seed the staff with look a likes. I know sounds silly, but it seems like 90% of american elections is just getting to recognize-ability. I should insert a smily but actually think it would work.
posted by sammyo at 11:37 AM on September 23, 2014


We have to re-start our binge so we can get all caught up. I blame baseball season and general laziness (I know!) for the lapse.
posted by rtha at 12:00 PM on September 23, 2014


(I only ever watched the first couple of episodes so have missed out on all these shocking moments but I've had a lot of fun reading this thread. I love you, Mefites.)
posted by Zed at 12:47 PM on September 23, 2014


I enjoyed Season 1, but the more improbable it gets, the more WTF I am, and I reached my WTF quota well before the end of Season 2, though I did watch it. Couldn't bring myself to watch any more than that. A lot of the casting and their interaction is quite good, and Washington is great to watch.

The list is awesome, but even if it was just #1, it would still peg my credibility meter.
posted by theora55 at 12:57 PM on September 23, 2014


Only halfway through Season 3 at this point, as Veronica Mars was until recently (when I drained it dry by watching all seasons AND the rather disappointing movie) my primary treadmill running entertainment. However, I love the total over the topness of it -- ridiculous levels of greed, lust, duplicity, crime, surveillance, and rhetoric -- and also watching in particular Kerry Washington and her stunning face and wardrobe. I'm mesmerized by the low to negative level moralities of everyone involved. At this point no spoiler is possible for me because I always expect the worst from everyone. And, now and then the show delivers a genuine emotional kick, like the Mellie rape scene. I think I'll be game to stay with this show as long as I have dates with my treadmill.
posted by bearwife at 1:02 PM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have some Jesse feels in my poor tortured homicidal Huck.
posted by maggieb at 1:46 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm going to miss Columbus Short's clothes.
posted by garlic at 2:21 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Would #1 really be the craziest in real life? Considering Scalia's extreme legal philosophy, or considering how young Roberts is?
posted by knoyers at 5:14 PM on September 23, 2014


Personally, I think a Supreme Court justice hiring an assassin to kill the president to assuage her guilt over participating in election rigging is more far-fetched.
posted by donajo at 6:19 PM on September 23, 2014


Actually, considering they use the same actor as a newsreader in both shows, Scandal and Parks and Recreation could be seen as being in the same universe.

At the very least it's weird as hell watching Perd Hapley deliver the Scandal-news.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:02 PM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I feel like The Vampire Diaries and Scandal have stumbled onto a new way of telling TV stories, very Dickens-serialized but with interestingly moral conflicts among beautiful people. The breakneck pace is intrinsic to the narrative.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:13 PM on September 23, 2014


Just when I think I can quit this show because it's silly, there's an over the top moment like "Yum Yum, Crispy Piggy, Yum Yum!" and I have to admit that it's really okay to enjoy silly things, especially silly things that make serious and important things seem silly.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:43 PM on September 23, 2014


I hasten to add, after watching a week of The Roosevelts, I'm starting to think Scandal is tame by comparison.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:55 PM on September 23, 2014


Such terrible writing. Suuuuch terrible writing. Every character gets referred to at least a few times per episode by their full names for no good reason. People who know each other well, who have worked together for years, do not typically do this.

And no one who is actually good at their job needs to announce over and over how good they are at their job.

Of course, I will watch all of the latest season. I tell my wife I need to watch every episode to make sure I am still not wrong about this show.
posted by emelenjr at 9:41 PM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


The worst thing about this series is the damn camera shutter noise.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:50 PM on September 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Today on Vulture: supercut of people saying "Gladiator", "White Hat" and "Fixer".

On that note, Huck telling Quinn she's not a gladiator anymore? Lamest cut down ever.
posted by donajo at 12:49 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The worst thing about this series is the damn camera shutter noise.


It's actually perhaps the worst thing on scripted television. I'd say one should make a drinking game of it, but even that is too supportive of it.

Speaking of drinking, am I leaving work a little early so I can get a nap in so that I can better enjoy Scandal live for the first time with a bottle of wine? Perhaps.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:48 PM on September 25, 2014


The repeated use of the "gladiator" moniker used to bother me until I realize how accurate it was. They engage in a series if increasingly contrived fights in order to entertain us.
posted by Durhey at 5:48 PM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


FanFare.
posted by donajo at 7:54 AM on September 26, 2014


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