The Appeal of Scandal (or, “Why Women Want to Fuck Fitzgerald Grant III AND Harrison Wright”)…

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…”

(arched brow)

“…and like, he’s cheating on his wife…”

(arches brow)

“like, can you LIKE a guy like that? What’s the appeal?”

(wide-eyed confusion)

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?”

No.

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?

Nah.

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.  

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26 thoughts on “The Appeal of Scandal (or, “Why Women Want to Fuck Fitzgerald Grant III AND Harrison Wright”)…

  1. BRILLIANT! Just watching that clip where he tells her she owns him had me clutching my heart and drying my eyes! We love Fitz because he LOVES her. le sigh.

  2. (Throws offering at pulpit!!!!) PREACH this is EXACTLY why we love these two men!!!! They care for Liv in ways few men understand or even care to EXPRESS!!!!!

  3. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Women (black, white, whatever) love this show and the Olitz relationship because Fitz undeniably, unabashedly, WANTS Liv. And, not just physically. He wants every part of her and isn’t in the least bit shy about saying it and showing it. In a world where men are playing games, hiding behind ego, acting violently toward women, this show has been a great refreshing escape. So no further explanation should be needed as to why this show is such a hit.

  4. LOVED THIS. And I loved the Freudian slip of “Olivia Grant” in the “It’s because he’s absolutely, one hundred percent, totally, without a doubt, madly in love with Olivia Grant…” sentence. #Olitz4Ever

    • Lol.

      Somewhat Freudian. I call her that in my head. For me, it’s a foregone conclusion, non? I thought about correcting it, but it’s more fun to see how many people catch it!
      #teamolitz

  5. We (feminists) love Fitz because he is as paralyzed by his feelings as we (women) often are by our feelings. He actually IS a good guy. He wants to do the right thing. Olivia isn’t a notch on the proverbial belt. His love for her is so much larger than anything else. In one of the flashbacks on the campaign bus, Fitz asks Olivia what was wrong with him that he didn’t wait for her. He owns the life he has now, but he can’t help the way he feels.
    As far as the race issue?? Shonda Rimes does such a wonderful job with her characters that you never even think about it! I don’t see skin color. I see two people that have something that we all dream of having! Even we feminists want to have someone who loves us that completely!

  6. No offense but I’m still not understanding the point. I get that the show is entertaining so my issue is not with that.

    My issue is that it still seems as though you are making excuses for Fitz and I have no clue what to say about the Columbus Short thing besides ummmm…. Ok.

    I for one am married. Happily married. Have a great job. 6’0 chocolate and built like an NFL cornerback. Well educated and in short a damn good catch. I tell my wife I love her all the time. She knows I’ve loved her since the day I met her and I’ve never been “afraid” to say anything.

    I appreciate the honesty of why you watch the show but in a sense it seems as though it us just an escape from reality for hippo racy.

    I mean it is what it is but bottom line is my wife watches the show but if I told her I was madly in love with another woman and I am putting my life and kids on the line for that love I’m pretty sure all of a sudden her views would change

    • The point?

      Darling you said it: I tell my wife I love her all the time. She knows I’ve loved her since the day I met her and I’ve never been “afraid” to say anything.

      There are many who are AFRAID to do that. One of the reasons your wife loves you is because of this. Trust, the 6’0 chocolate NFL cornerback thing? That’s gravy. Good chocolatey gravy…but gravy all the same.

      It IS an escape. But, if more men were less afraid…the show wouldn’t have made it to air.

  7. Gimme a minute to just wipe the mascara from my chin. Madame HLBB, you hit it on the head, then shot through the head with an arrow, then just blew the whole damn thing up. I never watched an episode of the show, because I got whiff of the cheating aspect. I admit it, I thought it was just another drama filled show….

    ….but this analysis, with explanation and video evidence? I don’t need to watch the show. You speak the truth. Cha. Don’t have the words. I need this post broadcasted to enlighten the men out there. That delicate balance…..*throws hands and just goes to eat a chocolate bar*;

    Yes.

  8. Okay. So is there any sex appeal in integrity? Because the President’s experience happened to me, with the difference that I told my wife and the love of my life (who, similarly to the show but inconsequential otherwise, was African while I am whitebread) honestly how I felt about both of them (over a three year period) but DIDN’T sleep around. Where did that lead me? With huge unresolved feelings, the loss of a friend who after 2 years I can’t stop thinking about, a beautiful family but unfulfilling marriage, and my precious integrity intact. Was that manly or stupid? I still can’t figure that out.

    • I’m appealing to readers to comment on this.
      It’s hard for me to say. I would say yes…integrity is sexy.
      So now, you’re saying it’s been two years and your “Olivia” is gone. Has she moved on?
      Was it manly to be honest? Yes. Was it stupid…?
      Readers? Gladiators? Help me out here.

      • As it happened, and met her in an entirely different context so this bizarre, but she happened to live just down the street from me. She just moved as the house is up for sale. We cut off all contact by mutual agreement two and a half years ago. A year and a half ago I felt an overwhelming urge to call her and it was the day after her father died. We talked for a long time. i tried to visit the next day but she wouldn’t come to the door. She texted me saying it wasn’t a good idea and i let it go.
        My family is together which I feel good about and I have put a lot of energy trying to keep everything positive. The day she moved house I didn’t know but completely fell apart on that day for no reason. Now I don’t know where she is and feel a bit lost about it to be honest. Life!!!

  9. I dont know Fitz is just as mean as he is romantic. He has said some harsh ish to his wife and Liv. He is also agressive, no means yes when Fitz is asking. Use what works fellas but I would not want my daughter or sister to treated the way Fitz treats Olivia or Mellie. In the end its not what I want its what a woman wants and nice doesnt always work.

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