Link: More Diversity in Prime Time: It’s Not Your Imagination – The Root

More Diversity in Prime Time: It’s Not Your Imagination – The Root

This article mostly talk about black-ish in the aftermath of it’s premiere yesterday, but it also spotlights Jane the Virgin, which I must say was probably my favorite pilot this fall. Check it out!

Also check out two more articles regarding blackish:
In ABC’s ‘Black-ish,’ everyone has racial issues [Washington Post]
Black-ish: “Pilot”: Don’t call it the black Modern Family [AV Club]

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Minority actors land the lead roles in fall’s diverse TV lineup | New York Post

Check out the Post’s article on the PoC led dramas coming this fall. And a few are led by women! Numbers are getting better, but no where near where they need to be.

The link and a couple of quotes below.

With “Scandal” commanding $200,970 per 30-second advertising spot, it’s a cash cow.“The color Hollywood loves the most is green,” says Wilmore. “Shonda Rhimes really showed that you can have a black lead in your thriller and you can have a great show. She broke down that wall, and Hollywood follows success.”

Hollywood definitely follows the money. Hopefully these new shows prove to be great television as well. The problem we’ve faced in the past has not always been a lack of content (well, yes, this is the problem, but) sometimes the content put out there isn’t good. There are a lot of times people of color will watch a show featuring someone of their background and that will boost ratings, but ratings will drop off if they don’t consider the show good. It’s not just about representation in numbers, but representation in quality and content. Don’t just give us a show with a black person and say it’s diversity, the content has to be good as well.

Rina Mimoun, executive producer of “Red Band Society,” says that, because of the Rhimes effect, “people will open up their casting. There’s no reason not to.”

More and more producers are realizing this, but things still aren’t where they need to be. The Emmy’s certainly showed that with the small amount of PoC nominees and smaller winners (most weren’t even televised). Hopefully, with this new crop of PoC led shows, next year’s Emmy’s will feature more PoC nominees and winners (now that Breaking Bad is finally out of the race; and maybe Emmy voters will finally be over Modern Family).

(In addition to these current shows, let’s not forget Sleepy Hollow, also led by a black female–I don’t think the article mentioned it.)

via Minority actors land the lead roles in fall’s diverse TV lineup | New York Post.

Scandal Monologues Are All the Buzz Today

Make Your Own Scandal Monologue — Vulture

Four Scandal Actors Break Down Four Memorable Shonda Rhimes Monologues

Joe Morton Mid Monologue

Tonight is the #Scandal season finale! I haven’t been recapping Scandal lately (busyness–I often don’t get home to watch it live, then had things to do Friday morning, no writing time–and my recap style fit more when the show was a tad bit more serial) but doesn’t mean I’m not still watching it. I’ll watch the finale as soon as I get home late tonight, but ahead of the episode, the internet is giving us loads of Scandal content to get us through the day.

These two links, both from Vulture, are different takes on Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal monologues. One is a monologue generator that I haven’t gotten to play with yet (but Shonda Rhimes has:

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 3.34.04 PM)

and the other is breakdowns of 4 monologues from this season, by Joe Morton, Bellamy Young, Kate Burton, and Jeff Perry. These are fun games but also very useful for me.

Earlier this year I was writing a Scandal spec script for a TV writing class I was taking. I got pretty far, but Scandal fatigue and adding other things to my writing interests put it on hold for a while. But something I was struggling with was figuring out how and where and who to give a brilliant Scandal monologue to. It’s hard work. The obvious choice would be Joe Morton’s character Eli, but he wasn’t quite giving me one. And I was so focused on trying to give him one (because he is my favorite character on the show) that I ruled out everyone else and I think I was suffering for that.

He could still get the monologue, but now I have a new idea! Use the Vulture Scandal Monologue generator! Obviously not to take whatever I get when I play, but I think the generator breaks down the monologues from the show in ways that would be beneficial to me looking at my spec and including one. It starts off with themes and goes from there. Once I break down the theme of my episode (another aspect I was struggling with–Shonda is very theme heavy in her episodes and it’s always good to know what yours is, but I haven’t broken down the theme to go with the plot of my episode), I can use this generator to get a monologue for it.

Sometimes you have to know how to use the fun of the internet to actually do work and understand things that were giving you trouble. I can’t wait to try it. If you use it, comment with your monologue!

I think another brilliant thing I just came up with could be to use all those Buzzfeed quizzes to learn more about your characters, just take them in their voice and use the end result as a way to understand your characters more. Or maybe your character wouldn’t take a Buzzfeed quiz. That’s telling too!

 

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New York Women in Film and Television Black Actresses on Screen Panel

NYWiFT PanelPanelists: (l-r) Ylana Kellar (moderator), Chenoa Maxwell, Sharon Hope, Neema Barnette, Rachel Watanabe-Batton (r on screen) Julie Dash (l on screen)

Last week, I was blessed to have been able to attend a NYWiFT Panel on the current state of black women on screen at Harlem venue My Image Studios (MiST). It was very inspiring and I got to watch Scandal afterwards with a room full of Gladiators. It was pretty amazing. Here are some of the questions and responses below (featuring general essence of their answers, with direct quotes from my notes).

The panelists for the evening were: Neema Barnette, Julie Dash, Sharon Hope, Chenoa Maxwell, and Rachel Watanabe-Batton with Ylana Kellar as the moderator. You can google them and check out their work like I have been. They’ve all been working in Hollywood trying to get the stories of black women told in the right ways and the things they had to say were very inspiring for all future black artists: whether actors, writers, directors, producers, any kind of black content creator.

The questions and answers are below as slides, click one and read through! These ladies were really inspirational and it was great to just be in a room with other like-minded people. Hopefully the roles portrayed by black actresses will continue to expand in number and in character dimension.

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ConStar Watches Scandal “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies”

This week’s episode started off with a bang. Well, two bangs.

Olivia and Fitz meet up and “review the numbers” then have an all out RAGING fight. All with poor Jake awkwardly chatting with the Secret Service right outside the door. I loved the fight and it was about time Olivia stood up for herself. Fitz is getting more and more ridiculous with the things he says and the things he demands from the people around him, especially the women. He doesn’t appreciate Olivia for what she brings to the table, what she wants, what she needs and Liv finally let him know. He didn’t really do anything in the rest of the episode that told me he was adjusting or changing, so we’ll see if this is just his character and the way the writers are going to continue to write him or if this is leading to a character development arc. Because Fitz, of all the characters on the show, needs the most character development in order for fans to continue to like him or believe that Olivia loves this man. (You may say, but Quinn needs some character development too! No, Quinn needs to die.) I suppose, in lack of a Papa Pope Speech of the Week, we can give Kerry some serious award noms for her part in the fight. She really did tell him about himself and that not everything is about him. I almost forgot to look for Kerry’s baby bump!

Some of the episode flashes back to the California governor’s mansion 14 years ago. Andrew Nichols, in the present, owns to some prescription drug use that someone is planting to use against the Grant campaign. But back in 2000, it was Mellie who took the pills. She was feeling sick and tired of her life, unable to look at Fitz or even touch him, scared that her kid wasn’t his and really feeling overwhelmed. Nichols finds her and stays up all night to make sure she makes it through and boy does he fall hard. But Mellie has a backbone and resists his charms, despite everyone kind of understanding and knowing where Fitz is headed in terms of his own marital screw-ups. But two wrongs don’t make a right, until the present day, when Mellie couldn’t take it anymore. Nichols certainly gets to touch the First Lady (and with Mellie’s hair like it was, she looked so great!) and he did it once, so he decides to do it again–this time the painting of Jackie O he was admiring before he had another first lady to admire.

Fitz is already pissed about Jake being “a fox in his hen house” so it’ll be interesting to see what conniption he experiences when he finds out his other “loyal” “trusted” friend is a fox. Even with how he dismisses Mellie, he wants to have his cake and eat it too, he doesn’t want her to do anything he doesn’t want. Fitz’ control issues are spiraling out of control and I believe it’s all because he found out about Defiance. And he started drinking.

Speaking of spiraling (weak transition, I know), poor Jake. He’s been command for over a month now, but B6-13 let him get settled before delivering the whammy. He gets a suitcase of mysterious files, all of the nations secrets. With very daunting words like “protect the republic.” Jake doesn’t seem like he was ready for this; he’s seeing how lonely it is at the top. The suitcase clearly stated that he was to act with no interference from the executive branch and to stay a step ahead of the president, etc, etc. He thought he was going in with Fitz by his side, but between Olivia and the weight of his office, his buddy is getting farther and farther away and the weight is getting heavier. I know many of us certainly loved the scene where he uses his “boyfriend of Olivia Pope key” to demand some real food in the house and to go take a shower. But the seams are more visible and the pressure will get to him more and more, I am sure.

Well, I suppose at least Jake isn’t James. James is about to shake right out of his skin, he really wasn’t made for this covert ops, behind his husband’s back stuff. The littlest sound is setting him off and his meeting with David under the bridge (or wherever that seemed to be) made me laugh at how cliche it was for a secret meeting between “spies.” He’s not ready for B6-13.

And neither is Quinn (I’m really killing these transitions aren’t I ;-)). Quinn makes me more and more angry as the season progresses. She wants to find her own way? So go back to being the girl you were before you were Quinn. Olivia and Huck made you Quinn and if you want express your independence, why not go back to whatever your name was before (you make me so angry I’ve chosen to forget what your real name is)? Don’t pull a gun on the person who’s best suited to save your life when the time comes. She walked into Jake’s office cocky as I don’t know what, but you got caught on your first go round by Olivia. Not Rowan, not Charlie, but Olivia, who isn’t exactly covert ops material herself (she’d be in the command station doling out orders). You didn’t even try to hide when spying on Rowan and someone is going to get fed up with you and kill you. And the entire audience is going to cheer with glee (we’re all still kind of on Huck’s side about the torture thing–he just went a little too far with the licking).

Huck kinda made me nervous though, bringing Olivia coffee like he was. Who knew what could have been in that coffee, considering his background. But it was apology coffee. Not for hurting Quinn, but for Olivia’s anger about it. Huck doesn’t let his desire for an apology stop him from telling Olivia about himself and herself. “You should have never given me someone to love. Monsters eat people, Liv. It;s what we do.” Oh Huck. It’s so telling about how he sees himself and his relationship with Olivia. And he loved Quinn. He took her under his wing and loved her and she went betrayed the master (if we’re sticking with Huck’s puppy metaphor), so he had to take a couple bites out of her for that. I wish he’d gotten a couple of more bites in.

Finally, I sat on my last post for about a week, hoping to unleash my theory about Adnan Salif working with Mama Pope and they reveal it the very next episode! I still KNEW IT! I really wonder what they’re up to, though. Adnan has now gotten her way into the Grant campaign camp, despite Cyrus knowing how criminal she is, and it was Mama’s idea? What’s the plan? And how will it interact with Eli’s plan to destroy Fitz? No way Maya wants Fitz to continue being president (certainly not without some damage somewhere), he knows about her and was the man who pulled her trigger. But if she does something to destroy Fitz, how does that play with Eli’s plan? Will they end up working on the same team somehow? What dangerous red strings of fate are being intertwined as we hurtle toward the end of the season?

ConStar Watches Scandal “Ride, Sally, Ride”

I’ve been slacking on bringing back my weekly Scandal posts. Partially because I am still busy and partially because I watched Scandal differently for the premiere than I usually do.

Scandal MiST Harlem ThursdaysLast week, I went to a panel on Black Women in Hollywood (which I will write about soon) put together by New York Women in Film and Television (NYWiFT), at a venue in Harlem called My Image Studios (MiST). After the panel, as they do every week, MiST played Scandal in their theater space. That’s right, this place in Harlem plays Scandal on two large movie screens every week. Dozens of women (and some men!) were there–partly the panel crowd, partly the usual crowd that usually appears there–and wow is it different watching Scandal with other people. I mimic the experience when I live-tweet the show, retweeting funny comments, but it’s great watching and hearing people’s physical reactions to things. The moment when Mellie walks in on Fitz and Olivia making out in the Oval, every gasped so loud. It was fun! I would totally do it again, but with more people I knew. I got to hang out with some of the NYWiFT interns, but I’d love to go back with some friends of mine and get to react to the show live. So the busyness of that night combined with other life reasons made me put off this post for a whole week. But here it is. Hopefully the next one won’t take as long.

 

Like I said, the entire screening audience gasped when we and Mellie all caught Liv and Fitz making out in the Oval. They were “reviewing the numbers” all right. The two pull their lips off each other to deal with Sally’s big announcementt: She’s running for president as an independent, but she’s not stepping down from the vice presidency… She claims the devil came in and killed Daniel Douglas, but the devil must be giving her some intense balls to think she can both be the VP and run against her boss.

All of this pisses Fitz off so bad that even Liv can’t get through to him. He says he’s got a new pick for VP, Andrew Nichols, who worked with him in California. Liv thinks it’s a bad idea, he’s from the same state and brings absolutely NO diversity to the table. Fitz dismisses her. “I said that’s all.” Here’s where Fitz pisses me off the most, and it comes up in his scene with Liv later: he says all the time how he loves her and trusts her and can’t win without her, but he refuses to listen to her opinions. Eli was right, he’s a boy who’s trying to prove he’s a man.

Speaking of Eli, Liv finds out that Jake is in charge of B6-13 and goes off to find her father, now that she knows he was fired from Wonderland. They meet at an old hangout spot of theirs and discuss his uncommon valor. Liv apologizes for what happened to him and that. sets. him. OFF. I’ll post more of the speech in a section I’ll call “Joe Morton Speech of the Week,” but he really tells Olivia how it is.

“You’re skipping around in a field full of bombs and mistaking them for daisies. This, dear, sweet, child is what happened. The married man you can’t seem to stay away from had me abducted and locked me up in chains and spoke to me about the way you taste while he allowed the terrorist who snaked her way into my marriage bed to clear US airspace. What happened was, the man you screw, betrayed me by freeing the woman who gave birth to you as a bargaining chip. What happened was, the man that defiled you also defiled an organization that I gave my soul to build. That is what happened. What is currently happening is that Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III has made an enemy. The worst kind of enemy. because i know all his secrets. I know where every body is buried.  And the greatest weapon I can use against him calls me Dad. […]

Everyone should be afraid. the president should be afraid. And if I were you, Olivia, I would be terrified. I would pick up whatever chips you have left and run as far away as possible from that burning building known as the White House. Run, Olivia, run. Because, mark my words, Fitzgerald Grant, is not going to make it to the end of his term.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Watch me. Start grieving now, Olivia. Rend your garments. Curse the heavens. It will save you time down the road. But first, run.”

That’s it! I surrender! How Olivia manages to not cry from fear, I do not know. His speeches are always epic! And we all desperately want to know what he’s planning! Does he actually mean to murder Fitz? Or is it more of a political threat? Eli turning to Sally’s campaign manager Leo tells a more political destruction, but Eli told Olivia to grieve. Wow. I cannot wait to see what he has planned.

Leo puts thoughts of Olitz into the minds of the media and a circus ensues. In order for Mellie to come out on top, she urges Liv to pick a suitor, any suitor. When Olivia does, choosing Jake to be a “patriot” and date her to serve his country, Fitz is less than pleased. He’ll be even less pleased when he learns that his running mate pick, Nichols, shares a burning torch for Mellie. His decision to choose Jake and Andrew over loyalty is about to backfire largely in his face. Tonight, we’ll find out more about Andrew and Mellie’s secret fling 12 years ago.

Other plots:

Harrison is WIGGED OUT. Adnan Salif sends him veiled threats, causing us and Abby to wonder why Harrison knows how to use a gun. She shows up and all our thoughts about her being a large threatening man are thrown out the window and she and Harrison get busy in his office. What’s she up to? One theory below.

Charlie and Quinn take up kidnapping, but she misses being a gladiator

David Rosen and James are colluding against Cyrus. Secret recordings, double crossing, betrayal, backstabbing, all of it. James is tired of being married to a monster.

Theories:

I have no idea what Eli and Leo are planning. Is it a trade of secrets for Sally to use in her campaign? Is there a more sinister nature to their meetings? Time will tell.

Here’s the biggest theory of all: I think Adnan Salif is working with Mama Pope. Perhaps all this time. Perhaps Harrison even knows something about it (maybe not consciously). She comes in and wonders, “How we can help each other.” If she was brought into the country by Cyrus to get him to play his game, what agenda would she already have? I think she’s working with Mama Pope and wants to get close to Harrison again (not killing him as he feared) so she can get information on Olivia and Eli and everyone out looking for her. And whatever other plans they have set into motion. We won’t see Mama for a while, I presume, but Adnan will be her eyes and ears in the meantime.

Another theory rolling around the internet is that Mellie’s kids aren’t Fitz’. We already think Big Jerry is the father of the oldest (about 16 years ago) and with this new reveal, it may turn out the child #2 is also the product of another man, this time Nichols. Could this mean what fans have guessed already? That Fitz is sterile and none of the kids, not even Teddy, is his? And we’ve tracked the other two father’s down, who is Teddy’s biological father?

I am so glad Scandal is back! Thanks for reading!

What was your favorite “cover the baby bump” moment from this episode? The man’s head conveniently covering her stomach in the oval? I think mine is her giant purse with the distracting White House badge dangling off it as she walked down the hallway.

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Link: 14 Things You Do After Watching ‘Scandal’ on Thursday Night – Atlanta Black Star

It’s Scandal Thursday! I’m working on last week’s Scandal post just ahead of tonight’s episode, but here’s a list of some of the reasons why I was distracted from writing it last week. I’ll name some more in my post when I finally get to rewatching last week’s episode.

Check it out!

14 Things You Do After Watching ‘Scandal’ on Thursday Night – Atlanta Black Star.

Briefly Discussing SNL’s New Cast Member

And (UPDATE) newest staff members, two black female writers.

I didn’t want to have a lot of words on this, since everyone else will, but people have been asking my opinion on it, so here are my thoughts on Sasheer Zamata being cast as SNL’s newest token black cast member– black female comedian (neither is much better is it?). I had more thoughts than I thought I would.

via Sasheer Zamata’s Twitter

I know nothing about this girl, so this opinion has little to do with her or her comedy style. I sincerely hope she is great and has a great time and it leads her, whenever she is ready, to bigger and better things. But SNL hasn’t solved the problem. This hire really will only highlight more problems. What about comedians of other races? Will SNL only cave to include an Indian or an Asian after those communities raise an uproar? What about SNL’s non-acting writing staff (the cast and featured players aren’t the only writers, as far as I understand–perhaps I am wrong), how diverse is that group? Is the placement of this hire a ratings stunt for the traditionally slow month of January?

I worry also about featured player dynamics now that Sasheer has been chosen. The newbies on SNL are all currently fighting to get as much sketch/screen time as the main cast. Is Sasheer on featured player level, or main cast level? Either way, the show is gonna have to use her often, if only to prevent backlash of, “oh you hired her but don’t let her do anything.” Hopefully this opens up the writers’ sketch ideas in what they can include (non-drag Oprah and Michelle Obama will be a nice change of pace), but will those other writer’s write appropriate sketches for a black character?Some of Kerry Washington’s sketches were seen as problematic, if not on their own, but mostly because the issue was so hot then. If the show was known to have black writers/cast members as apart of the team, those sketches might not have had such unfortunate implications. To be specific, I’m thinking of the fact that Kerry played a lot of “ghetto” girls in her sketches, even the digital short. Kerry on SNL

Part of Jay Pharaoh’s failure as a successful main cast member is that he did great impressions, but once he did them, what was left? The ones we’ve seen become unfunny if done every time you’re in a sketch. His original work left much to be desired. Will Sasheer be relegated to those kinds of characters–ghetto girls and black female celebrities–without allowing her to broaden her range and play the straight man in a sketch or play a (quirky) character that has no ethnic implications?

Only time will tell. All I know is that Sasheer’s first (and probably second) episodes will be some of the highest of the season–the normal crowd will be watching, as well as critics (both positive and negative) of the choice, as well as “Black Twitter,” which has shown itself to be a force to reckon with. The black television audience is larger than networks give us credit for and the success of Scandal and even Sleepy Hollow have shown that black women will watch a television show with a black female character (even if just to hate on it) because we are so starved for representation. The rest is up to the writing, which SNL has been suffering with in the past, but hopefully some new blood will raise the quality of the writing as well.

UPDATE: http://splitsider.com/2014/01/snl-adds-two-black-female-writers/ SNL has also hired two black female writers LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, to add to the staff. This certainly alleviates concerns about the treatment or Sasheer’s characters. As long as they can 1. fight to shut down sketches with unfortunate implications and 2. not be sidelined to only write sketches Sasheer is in… but right now, SNL is seeing our concerns and circumventing them, so here’s to hoping! Even more reason to watch SNL when it returns… They really will be some of the highest rated of the season I am sure.

ConStar Watches Scandal: “A Door Marked Exit”

Scandal Midseason Finale Preview: What To Expect From 'A Door Marked Exit' image

[Apologies for no post for last week’s episode, I had some other stuff distracting my brain, making me unable to write a post][This might be my longest Scandal post yet!]

Last night’s Scandal Winter Finale left me at a peak during Papa Pope’s EPIC speech (which I will of course get to later, probably in the most detail of any other plot point) and then kind of rolled down to the end of a roller-coaster. The end wasn’t shocking like last week’s (though that’s typical of a penultimate episode–a shocker ending to get you into the finale) but neither did the episode really have those BIG moments we expect from Shondaland. Last season’s mid-season finale was the Defiance arc–those five major moments in that episode: from Cyrus almost getting James sniped, to Fitz killing Verna–but we didn’t get nay moments that big. Some jobs switched around, and Mama Pope came back (which is not really a surprise), and ugh Quinn. Nothing really big happened, so I was left a tad disappointed. But perhaps it’s better this way! We don’t get another episode until February 27 (which is basically March), so I’m kind of glad this was an episode that wouldn’t have me going through MAJOR Scandal withdrawal. Just minor withdrawal will happen now. 😉

Starting with the Sally/Cyrus arc, as the episode does, I really enjoyed the direction of the fight at the beginning of the episode: the fight overlapping quiet moments of introspection between them. I don’t know that I am sold that Sally would kill him in this moment–he merely threatens to leave her and tell her story on national TV? I am not sold that that would be the push to send her over.

“The devil came in.”

Cyrus seeing that his actions have negative consequences if very important. Usually, his awful actions have no negative consequences for him; but now it’s affected his marriage and killed a man (hope you weren’t eating during the vomit shot).

“Give me your sin. Let me clean this up.”

Quinn needs to get her life together. She needs to pick a side and stick with it. She’s a gladiator, then she betrays them, then she agrees to kill Command for Huck, then can’t do it so she takes her tracker out and sticks with Charlie, then in middle of the night goes BACK to OPA, and is SURPRISED when she is rejected! Then back to B6-13. SMH. GET IT TOGETHER GIRL.

Fitz really wants to be in charge. He tries to use his power to control Rowan and gets in a tizzy when it backfires. So he calls up Jake to take over B6-13. I don’t understand how this happened. Rowan constantly says that B6-13 is above the president, so how does Fitz have the power to have him removed? Has Rowan been wrong this whole time? And Fitz allowing that power dynamic to seem like it’s out of his favor until this moment? Or did he call someone else to have that change made? I don’t get it. And choosing Jake? That’s going to go sour real quick, since they have rival affections for the same woman. What will Jake do with this position? I feel like he would have to eventually make the same choices Rowan did, the choices that he and Huck are scarred over. There must be more to Jake accepting this position; does he plan to destroy B6-13 with his new power? Or will he eventually put Charlie/Quinn in the hole like he was?

Now onto the Fitz/Rowan scene. As I mentioned before, Fitz is trying so hard to play grown. He decides to rub it in Rowan’s face that he is sleeping with his daughter. That’s never a good idea, fool, regardless of whose father you are speaking to.

“Here’s the thing about power, Rowan. It’s always hard to accept when you’ve lost it.” “But you realize you never had any at all.”

Fitz clearly takes this as a challenge. But then why hasn’t he done anything about Rowan before all of this?? If he had the power to do anything about it, it should’ve been done. And Fitz clearly isn’t the type to do anything unless prompted. He didn’t want to get into politics but he was prompted by Mellie and challenged by his father. Just recently, Cyrus questioned his balls, so Fitz made a counter-move to say “How presidential are my balls now, Cy?” He only did what he did in response to someone calling him out on how weak he is. All the signs of a “boy,” as Rowan says.

Watch the moment when Fitz tells Rowan about him and Olivia. The direction is brilliant here: Rowan in the chair, center of the screen coming at him from below, with Fitz dominating the left half of the screen behind him. The angle makes him look large as he hovers over Rowan to tell him about Liv. Fitz wants to have the power, but Rowan out plays him in this moment.

Rowan calling Fitz a “boy” has so many levels. Obviously, one is that it’s true. Fitz has suffered from his father’s influence on him, as well as his wealthy status, and in turn has never grown up. He gets things handed to him, but throws a fit when he finds out about it. But not enough to do anything on his own.

But Rowan calling Fitz “boy” also has some historical connotations as well. To have a black man call a white man [who is in power, but that wasn’t even usually the case] “boy” speaks to centuries of racism. Rowan’s character is probably the most racial context we’ve gotten on this show, between this moment and his “you have to work twice as hard” speech from the premiere.

“For you, it’s always summertime and the living is easy and daddy is rich and your momma’s good looking!”

Excellent delivery of this well known lyric. Really, the whole scene is fantastically executed. Joe Morton wasn’t playing around when he delivered these lines, and that’s all while being tied down in a chair. I don’t know if Season 3 is eligible for any of those TV awards, but I really hope Joe Morton gets some sort of recognition for this role, because right now, he’s the most interesting character on the show for me.

“You have everything handed to you on a silver platter and you squander it!”

Someone on twitter mentioned that this monologue should be every black actor’s audition piece. It really is fantastically performed.

“So you decided the one thing you wanted was my daughter. My child. Mine. What I made. What I created.”

It’s a problem that they are talking about Olivia like she has no autonomy of her own, but that’s built into these characters. They are both characters who possess things. Fitz has things handed to him, Rowan works for them, but they are both still men who believe they deserve power and the things that come with power.

“You love that she is a door marked exit.”

This has been it from day one. Fitz wanted to get caught with Olivia, he’s the one who leaked her name. He built a house in the country they could never live in, they talk about making jam, he constantly wants to run away with her. He is, as Rowan says, using her to fuel his escape fantasies from this life that was 1. handed to him 2. designed by his father.

“She is always going to be the formidable Olivia Pope.”

Said right after he says the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Papa makes Olivia formidable, so he can imply he is even greater than that.

“Don’t use the person that I made to make you into a man. You are a boy.”

“You disappoint me as a suitor for my daughter’s hand.”

I was lightheaded from that speech. It was so well delivered and hit some great points about Fitz and Liv’s relationships.

After this moment, the episode left me kind of meh. Mellie is ruthless, Quinn is dumb and can’t pick a side, James wants to file charges against Sally or Cyrus, Maya used Rowan to kill 300+ people… for fun? As an act of terror that lies on the side of the government rather than a terror organization? Rowan is released but then fired as Command in favor of Jake. James decides to stay with Cyrus and play some power games of his own to get White House Press Secretary. Leo, Sally’s wanna be Chief of Staff, also doesn’t bat an eye to Sally murdering her husband, he wishes he’d been called. Definitely Cyrus-light. Rowan continues to evade Olivia’s questions, but I’m not sure why at the moment.

And Maya escapes from the plane only to still be in DC, looking like Olivia Pope’s mother (hair, fly jacket, GLOVES), outside the White House with her burner phone. What is she planning? Has she already done it? Is she going after Rowan? What has she been planning for the last 20+ years? But I couldn’t help but feel this moment wasn’t enough for what we expect to end on in a Shondaland episode. But like I said earlier, it’s for the best, so that my withdrawal isn’t as strong.

Oh, another moment that I loved was the one between Eli and Olivia. When Liv lip quivers and realizes the truth in front of her dad, he doesn’t even move. but his acting is still impeccable?! How does he do it? He literally just stares into space, but you can see his jaw clench and the tears in his eyes and that speaks so much. So much about his love for his daughter, which I’ve seen all along, and about being played by his wife, and the effects his job has on other people and himself. Maybe he needs this break from being command.

ALSO, when Eli flashes back to the night Maya “dies,” we see him crying in front of the TV. We’ve been showed this before and assumed it was because he loved his wife. But now we see that it was because of all those people he had to shoot down. When he said in the last episode that he got no pleasure in taking a life, we scoffed, but deep down, it’s true. He didn’t cry for Maya (or perhaps he cried for knowing she betrayed him all those years), but he cried for the plane crash victims and he cried for what he was about to do to Olivia. Again, Eli/Rowan/Papa Pope is (clearly) my favorite character and it’s moments like these that cement that opinion.

Other things:

“Your father, he is not our hero. He is our demon.”

“You’re not a gladiator anymore.”

“I’ll see you real soon.” –> Shonda’s words to us fans.

I can’t wait to see how they continue to hide Kerry’s Washington’s pregnancy!

We won’t get another episode until February 27, so hang in there, gladiators! We can do this! If anything, we’ll still make Scandal trend on Twitter on Thursdays.

See you real soon, gladiators!

ConStar Watches Scandal “Vermont is for Lovers, Too”

As always, where do I begin?

Let’s first begin with the greatness that is a primetime show with a black female lead, a black female showrunner, and a black female director (Ava DuVernary) of an episode. When has THAT ever happened? On TV ever? (The episode was not written by a black female, however, I think our brains would’ve exploded). Such a rarity to see those things together; hopefully we get to see more of it across all media.

Now, on to the episode. While last week’s episode gave us lots of backstory, this episode is setting us up for next episode’s Winter Finale (we’re not readdyyyy!). However, I think this was my least favorite—and the weakest—episode of the season. Many moments were kind of forced (really Liv? You still think he murdered your mother— sorry, we’ll get that later) or fell flat (the Josie storyline is just gonna end like that? Whomp whom). But there were some nuggets of character for the Parental Popes that I am enjoying trying to figure out.

We didn’t learn as much about Mama Pope as I think we were hoping, in terms of the actions that got her in prison, but I think we learned a lot about her personality wise. She is fierce and bold, a little nuts (you nearly threw up in your mouth when she chewed her own wrists, didn’t you), but that move made her ingenious. She goes after what she wants and does whatever it takes to get there. But what does that mean about her past? Did she use these same traits to hurt people? To pass secrets? To take action to blow up a plane? Later, I’ll ask you guys to give me your favorite Mama Pope theories (I’d like to do another blog post on those); for now, we’ve just been given her character traits–which we’ve seen have passed on to Olivia. (As well as a love of popcorn.)

Turning to her relationship with Eli/Rowan, I can’t tell where they’re at right now. His entrance into her cell didn’t seem like a surprise. He cradles her wrists in the hospital and hands her water. He brings her pictures of Olivia, touches her shoulder, laughs with her. She laughs back. They don’t seem to hate each other. She told him to take care of Olivia. Have they seen each other in the last 20 something years? Has he done anything to help her? Can he? They don’t seem to have ever talked about Olivia in all these years, but they don’t act like it’s been 20 years and a conspiracy driving them apart. I don’t get it. What could the circumstances of Operation Remington be that they’re almost cordial with each other until he denies her what we might call “visitation rights.” Then he’s Command and the leader of B6-13, angry that a prisoner escaped. We’re they operatives together? Was she on our side but then turned traitor? I need answers and I need them now.

Things I Didn’t Like (Shocker, I know)

Harrison and Candace. I called their UST from the moment they met each other in the episode, but I’m upset because it’s (so far) served no purpose. He didn’t get a storyline in the episode about it, the two don’t even seem to be sticking around for the next episode (there is clearly no room for them in the winter finale) so he and Candy probably won’t continue to see each other, and it didn’t help either him or Candy in the episode. So what was the point? To pretend to give Harrison some (literal) love? How is this helping Cyrus’ proposed blackmail to bring that guy back into the country? Did that even happen? Have we forgotten about that in honor of non Harrison story lines? Even Abbie and David’s storyline has had more forward movement than anything Harrison is given. It was disappointing. As was the Marcus storyline as a whole. I was hoping Lisa Kudrow would go out with a bang; her presidential candidacy barely last a month? Liv is free to go back to the Grants?

But that’s the easy choice; what will Shonda do to unravel Olivia and Fitz? She certainly fused them back together for a moment that might have had fans cheering a few episodes ago, but now felt extremely forced. I’ve mentioned before I’ve faltered between Team Jake and Team Fitz, but Olivia thinks he KILLED HER MOTHER. At the very least, he killed hundreds of people (under orders he’ll keep saying) and never told her about it. Then he has the nerve to be upset that she didn’t tell him about her father (who—as far as Fitz knows—could have a similar “don’t tell anyone I am your father for national security reasons” hold over her). His upset about that really made me angry (also, leave the girl be for ONE MOMENT, instead of using your power and emotional manipulation to get her to do what you want. -____-) so I was disappointed that she thought that a house (that he has to keep secret because he is STILL MARRIED) was enough to forget all of that for one night. And I get it, he’s her weakness. She forgets herself and her morals when she’s around him, but where will her self control come in? I hope Mama Pope will smack some sense into her daughter and cause another rift (final? because what else could drive Liv and Fitz apart once and for all?) between Olitz. I think I am officially over Team Fitz.

Also the end. We knew Olivia and Maya would meet again, but it felt a little flat to end it on their first meeting. I might have preferred if Liv had actually passed out (she certainly looked like she would. and maybe they’ll begin next episode with such a move). but it was kind of anticlimactic because we’ve met her mom, we knew where she was going and that they’d meet eventually. If mom had been doing something else (killing someone, breaking into Liv’s apartment, something), maybe it would’ve have been a good ending, but since it was expected, and came after the HUCK KNOWS moment, it fell a little flat for me.

But part of this is being the set up for the winter finale, it’s putting as many pieces in place as it can to set those explosive events in motion. I just wish the moments hit stronger in this one; because now I have to wait two weeks for the next episode and I was underwhelmed by this one. =/

Other thoughts

Mellie, Mellie, Mellie. She was so sad and had such a change of heart about the Honey Trap when she learned Fitz and Liv were off somewhere together. But what can she do next? She’s already threatened divorce, outed his affair on national television, he’s already been shot at—what’s left for Mellie? After all that she’s sacrificed and she still will only get to be the First Lady for another term—she hates being First Lady.

Will Shonda write in an Olivia pregnancy from the Vermont scene? I think she could ave written it in by now, but maybe the timing wasn’t right when Kerry told her about it? If it had been written in before, the obvious plot would’ve been the question of whether it was Jake’s or Fitz’. If done now, it would most certainly be Fitz’. And where would that leave us? I was hoping they wouldn’t write it in at all, but now it’s certainly possible; hiding Kerry in those black and white pants suits, giant coats and behind lamps will only work for so long, I suppose. And in order to keep the scheduling promise they gave us, these run of episodes, then the next set after winter break with no reruns, Kerry will have to keep working through the baby bump, until probably mid/late spring when she’s likely due. So it’s highly likely they just wrote in the pregnancy and when we get back, Liv will be having the president’s baby. Guess it’s good she told him to keep the house, huh? I wonder what that might mean for the Grant kids, of which I am not sure any of them are his. Can he only reproduce with Olivia? Mellie might snap on that information.

Finally, what are your Mama Pope theories? She and Rowan were my favorite parts to this episode, figuring out what their current relationship is and what events in the past determined it is really fun. The one thing I truly believe they agree on is that they love their daughter. It looked like they loved each other too. So what happened to destroy it all? Let me know your theories!

ConStar Watches Scandal “Everything is Coming Up Mellie”

I don’t even know where to begin! It’s amazing how you can guess certain plot points (and plan to *finally* try to write spec scripts based on them) and STILL be shocked when they actually occur on the show.

Mellie has long been the underdog of Scandal since the beginning. People fight over #TeamFitz vs #TeamJake for Olivia’s affections, but rarely is anyone on Mellie’s team. This season we’ve seen a different side to Mellie’s character (including the ever memorable Drunk!Mellie scene–we’ll all have to go back and watch that for hints!), but tonight’s episode takes the cake!

We flashback 15 years to before Fitz was in the political eye. His father is awful as usual and Fitz doesn’t want to run because of what he did as a marine/Operation Remington. “Big Jerry” continues to berate him and take the credit for everything he is (“That’s all you are is my son…not as smart…I made you…I can destroy you.” ), leaving Fitz unwilling to run for office, despite Mellie and a bearded (in more ways than one) Cryus’ pleas for him to do so. Mellie tries to talk to Big Jerry, but in his drunken state, he rapes her. It’s awful and Bellamy Young pulls off the horror of the act and walking back into her and Fitz’ bedroom just right. The choice of her full length clothing, turtleneck included, and no makeup is a classic but heartbreaking choice. But Mellie soldiers on, dedicated to the cause of getting Fitz elected. Weeks later, Mellie tells Fitz–who’s decided to run for office after Mellie gets Jerry to back him up–that’s she’s pregnant. Fitz knows his father’s going to make them name a boy after him. And the entire audience shudders.

I had a theory that Teddy wasn’t Fitz’ kid (which is still a valid theory, not yet proven), but as @DetroitDelta15 on Twitter thought–what if Fitz is infertile? None of those Grant children could be his. This certainly explains why they have been shipped off to boarding school all this time; Mellie must have a hard time looking at them.

Mellie’s portion of the episode was about sacrifice. She says to Fitz, that he doesn’t understand what she’s given up for him, given away. (Again, I need to rewatch the drunk!Mellie scene for clues in that speech.) What has Fitz given up? For Mellie? For Liv, even? He “threatens” to give it all up for Liv all the time, but he hasn’t. He’s still the president, they are not in Vermont making jam. He’s still married. He still calls Liv. He has it all. Liv gave up her relationship with Edison and is not fully committed to the one she kinda has with Jake right now, because she’s still hung up on Fitz. We see what Mellie gave up for him. When will Fitz have to sacrifice anything?

As if this wasn’t enough for one episode, Shonda Rhimes pulls another one on us in the other half of the episode. While Quinn tries to get down with Charlie from B6-13, the Pope and Associates gang look into Maya Lewis’ death. They determine that someone was brought off the aircraft before it took off; everyone goes looking. They track down someone who might’ve seen the passenger who was taken away, but Quinn kills him because she was distracted by Charlie’s lips. He told her she was drugging the guard, but the poison kills him instead. Quinn has been initiated into B6-13. Clearly by her reaction after the man dies, she isn’t ready, but we’ll see what Rowan’s plan for her is.

Speaking of Papa Pope, he goes to a prison looking for the passenger who got let off the plane. Shoddy prison blanket unrolls and it’s none other than Maya Lewis! Who has been alive this WHOLE TIME! Many fans knew it, but why is she in jail? Why is she under the name Omar Dresden? Why didn’t she seem too surprised to see Eli?

Going back to the theme of sacrifice, I’m sure it will be explored more next week, but it is clear Maya Lewis-Pope sacrificed something. Eli did too, if he loves her. If he doesn’t, he still gave up Olivia, who he clearly loves. They both sacrificed their happy family–for what? Hopefully we’ll find out next week.

Quotes

“How am I? I’m surrounded by murderers. That’s how I am.”

“I’m standing in a graveyard made by people I thought I loved.”

“I love you.” “So what?”

“The pieces of myself I have given away.”

“Our daughter has been asking about you.”

We’ll have plenty of time to discuss Mama Pope’s survival next week. This week I want to know: Are you #TeamMellie? What convinced you? Was it her revealing past in this episode? Or are you yet convinced she deserves our sympathy?

sidenote: I really did think about writing a Scandal spec today and was legit thinking of 1. Quinn trying to kill someone and either doing it and freaking out or killing the wrong person. Either way, she is and will always be in over her head. It also featured Liv discovering Fitz wasn’t Teddy’s dad and Mellie needing Liv to “fix” it for her. That’s as far as I got. Crazy how it just got shot down basically. #sigh #tvspecwriterproblems

 

Article Response: Why I think “Why Is ‘Sleepy Hollow’ A Hit?” from Forbes is Missing a BIG Factor

First: Click here and skim Why Is ‘Sleepy Hollow’ A Hit? – Forbes, though I basically summarize it below.

Here are some reasons the Forbes gives for the success of my favorite new show of the season, Sleepy Hollow and some counterarguments.

1. “Choosing a young person, Emily Murray, as ‘Social Media Producer.'”

2. “Using Facebook and Twitter” (duh? What else would you use?), or I guess the point is knowing where your fans are hanging out (which is an excellent point–Castle, Doctor Who, and Supernatural fans rule Tumblr, Scandal and Sleepy Hollow are Twitter hits, no one is really using Facebook for this kind of thing).

3. “Collaborating internally.” I guess this means having the social media team and creatives and marketing people all work together to have gifs and images ready for the twitter experience; all of that requires multiple departments to work with the social media guys.

4. Focusing on the product, not the company.” or I guess, creating a community around the show not the network, but this is what every show does. Every show has a twitter account and makes it about the show. This isn’t a special thing Sleepy Hollow is doing.

5. Getting the actors to tweet. Yes, this is a huge helping, which they learned from shows like Scandal. Get everyone on board and people will retweet behind the scenes info or Orlando Jones being a hilarious doofball mentioning fanfiction and gifs in his tweets.

6. The twitter account having a back and forth “fight” with the twitter account from rival network show Elementary. Yes, this was funny to see and contributed to word of mouth.

But the article, which is definitely tech/social media focused, didn’t at all think about the show or the fans it draws. Other shows do these very same things. They have show specific twitter accounts. They try to get their actors to live tweet. They have the marketing department draw up designs and posters that work with their live tweeting efforts. These aren’t the only factors.

The audience is a major factor, and who is in Sleepy Hollow‘s audience? The same kinds of people who are in Scandal’s audience. Young black (females mostly, but some males who reluctantly admit they watch either or both shows) people (what these young people call Black Twitter). The media hasn’t yet caught on that young African-Americans LOVE Twitter. And if you give us a show with a black lead, we will watch that show (because we don’t have many options with that factor, so we watch the ones that do until there are more options). And we will tweet about it to our other African-American friends on Twitter. And shows like Sleepy Hollow and Scandal, both with a black female lead, will skyrocket to the top of the tv ratings and social media discussion charts. Oh, but we don’t talk about this being a factor, do we? Nor do we discuss the fact that the person doing the most tweeting and connecting with the fans is Orlando Jones, a person of color. These things are certainly important.

Other shows have tried to mimic the formula of Scandal. They’ve done the same social media things that Sleepy Hollow is doing. And yet they’re not ratings phenomena. All because the networks and media coverage are hesitant to acknowledge the real reason these shows are blowing up: because people want to see diversity on their TV screens. They are more likely to tune in. They are more likely to tell their black/asian/hispanic/white/etc friends about it. And then the show get super popular and gets renewed for the next season 4 episodes in, like Sleepy Hollow did.

Don’t let social media take all the credit for this show’s success. I know that’s what the article was about, but in a discussion about social media, you should discuss the people who use social media, and their various idiosyncrasies. That’s the real way of understanding how to use it and what platforms are best.

Shonda Rhimes NPR Interview

Shonda Rhimes NPR Interview

Supes late on this one, but if you are too, check it out here. Only about 7 minutes long. I’m glad Scandal has a definitive end, because it’s not the type of show that can last forever, and we don’t want it to go past it’s lifespan. It’s interesting to me that she knew where Grey’s Anatomy would end but then they “kept going” so she had to sort of write past that. I wonder if a lot of showrunners face the same challenge. We sometimes blame shows moving past their expiration dates on the writers/showrunners, but the network has a large say and they’re definitely more about the money than the art or the story. Interesting piece (finally). 

ConStar Watches Scandal “Icarus”

“You get to ask me one question”

We’re gonna need more than one question to make it through this week’s episode of Scandal, but I’ll start with one from each major plot point and go from there. No guarantees about the amount of questions I ask. Please don’t kill my friends or try to recruit them for your evil, secret government agency, thanks.

This week’s episode went through these major storylines:

Liv and Operation Remington: Why does Fitz refuse to acknowledge Operation Remington to even Olivia—even after finding out it was her mother?

I had a feeling that Fitz didn’t know about Olivia’s mother being on the plane, but it concerns me to no end that he refuses to acknowledge his part even after he knows about her mother. Liv already knows the worst of it. She knows more than HE did, seeing as how he didn’t know about Mama Pope (Maya Lewis is her name). And yet, despite his claims of how much he loves her and they know each other, and it could be how it was before, yadda yadda, he doesn’t admit to the operation and he doesn’t even say sorry or console her. There must be more to his side of the story.

This Remington storyline is a clear mirror of the Defiance storyline with Liv at the center: everyone is plotting around her to keep her from knowing some awful truth about how she got where she is today. But Fitz needs to learn that he can’t throw that in her face anytime he wants; not anymore. This is about her mother. Who he shot down in the sky. He may not want to talk about it or the circumstances, but if he wants Liv to ever speak to him again, he’s going to need to come clean about Operation Remington once and for all.

But turning to Papa Pope for a moment: I truly believe those were real tears he shed when he was watching the news of the plane crash. What I want to know is: was he in charge of B6-13 then? He says he didn’t order the plane down. I believe him (not just because I believe in his love of Olivia, and I hope to extend that to Maya, but because of Joe Morton’s acting choice of shaking his head no before he verbally responded to Olivia’s question over the phone (homegirl needs to just chug that wine from the bottle—saves time on washing wine glasses)). The “no” was a visceral response to the question, probably not even conscious. But he can’t talk about the rest: What did he know when it was being planned? Could he have stopped it? Did he try? Knowing they killed his wife—and subsequently destroyed his relationship with his daughter—why did he accept command of the organization (or continue as leader if he was already in charge). Side note: I was DONE after seeing Joe Morton in that hairpiece and moustache! Especially knowing that he didn’t look that way back on A Different World. lol

12-year-old Olivia’s love of Fruit Loops makes me wonder if she can ever eat them again, all things considered. It might be a nice moment, to see Olivia have a box of Fruit Loops in her cabinet (but no milk in the fridge…).

Baby Huck/Charlie: What is Rowan’s plan for Quinn?

Quinn is spiraling out of control! Huck gave her the taste for darkness and she’s grasping at it. It’s interesting to me that Rowan/Charlie think they’ve “planted a seed” in Quinn that they must watch bloom, when this has been growing in her this whole time with no one tending to it but Quinn herself. They didn’t introduce the gun to her, she bought it on her own. Rowan told Olivia he wouldn’t kill her friends, but he didn’t say nothing about turning another one into B6-13! (I think fans, and possibly Olivia, won’t mind as much about this one. Baby Huck has been getting on everyone’s nerves since she arrived… I’m surprised the whole office doesn’t groan whenever she speaks.

I wonder if she will be trained to replace Jake’s would be assassin. Maybe B6-13 operates with a Token Female…

Actually, I would LOVE for Quinn to join B6-13, because then she’d be able to destroy it from the inside (not because she’s awesome, but because it would just implode due to her presence, annoyance, and incompetence).

Harrison/Cy: Will Cyrus’ threat spur Harrison into action against Olivia?

Finally some Harrison backstory! It’s been a long time coming that we find anything about Harrison Wright. What I understand so far is: Harrison was a used car salesman. Then he was involved in insider trading. This man, Saliff, is out of the country and if he is allowed (?) to return, he will kill Harrison. I suppose Harrison sold this man out to save himself. We know that Olivia “fixed” it for him. If he allows Cyrus’ threat to move him against Liv, Liv won’t fix him twice. But I think there must be more to it—they waited so long to give us a Harrison storyline, and Olivia trusts him with her company but then snubs him every time he asks her a question. I wonder what the whole story could be. I do know that Cyrus wildly underestimated Harrison’s loyalty to Olivia, but I don’t know how much more of Olivia’s dismissals Harrison will take.

The Election: How does Mellie plan to use the wandering First Vice Husband against Sally’s betrayal?

This part of the storyline was mostly set up for future chess pieces moving around. Josie Marcus’ bits were great, I know her interview with James will go viral on tumblr, due to the strength and truth of her comments. But the Sally/Mellie/Cyrus parts of the game were just pawns being moved into place. Mr Vice First Husband (Heroes’ own Horned Rimmed Glasses!) is making eyes at Mellie; but if he doesn’t know already, he is going to learn that Mellie will do whatever it takes to keep Fitz in office (including “rolling up your whore and unrolling her at your feet” !!). Whatever Mellie’s plan is, it is going to be devious.

Other thoughts:

Icarus is an interesting title choice. Obviously it involves flying and something crashing down to the ground, but it is also about parent/child relationships, escaping imprisonment (feelings of being trapped), and a tragic downfall. These themes apply to many characters. Fitz is trapped with Mellie (and kind of trapped in the White House by Mellie and Cyrus and the ghost of his father’s influence on him. Liv is trapped in the situation with her father, she doesn’t want anything to do with him, but he keeps appearing in her life and if she doesn’t stick with him, he may kill her friends. Obviously the plane crash is the prime example of the myth in action; did Maya get too excited about something for her own good and it led to the plane “needing” to be shot down by B6-13? Did someone ignore the warnings they were given to not fly too close to the sun? Is the sun B6-13 or something else?

I suppose they’ll start covering Kerry Washington’s baby bump with large coats, because I highly doubt Olivia will get pregnant and they’ve already established her wardrobe as a symbolic device.

They took all episode to get to Fitz learning that he killed Olivia’s mother. His eyebrows tell me he clearly didn’t know, but he schooled his expression real quick and continued to not acknowledge Olivia’s question. What does this mean for the coming weeks? Let the torturous wait til next Thursday begin!

Please , please, please check out my (condensed) version of this post on UnderScoopFire.com: Scandal ‘Icarus’ Discussion: “You Get One Question”

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ConStar Watches Scandal “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington”

The last two episodes of Scandal were explosive through and through; this one simmered more before delivering some blows. Even though Mary took up most of the screen time in today’s episode, the scene with Huck and Olivia and Mellie’s scene with Fitz carried the most emotional weight this episode, but let’s start with Mary.

Poor Mary. I had a feeling she would blow herself up if she found out her son was a terrorist. It really does suck because Liv had a choice to tell her the truth, she chose the lie, and her lie cost her. I’m surprised they didn’t give her a wardrobe change towards the end of the episode; but I suppose the soot on her light colored suit speaks for itself. I suppose she who wears the white hat must always be wary of dirt getting on it.

Olivia/Huck/Eli. There was no answer Huck could give that would save the relationship between Huck and Liv: Either Huck kills Papa Pope (I guess I’ll call him Eli now?–thanks cell phone caller ID) and Liv is destroyed or Huck doesn’t kill him and Huck is destroyed. We got treated to the latter, but I won’t be surprised if the former also happens sometime down the road. It’s a no win situation. The bond they had before is irreparably damaged. Eli is awful, but I love him for it; I love what he brings to the show and the depth he’s brung to the characters. And I love the lines they give him, so deliciously theatrical. So clearly he is going to be around for a while. it was never going to be that easy.

It’s interesting to me that Huck never met this man before, so the commands coming from Command were always faceless, yet Huck felt the man’s power over him enough to kill that man (who we’ll get to briefly later). But I guess if I met someone who I was told was God (obviously I’d have to have very good reason to believe such a claim–just go with me here), after listening to him all this time, and he told me to go do something, I suppose I’d just do it too. Out of fear, out of loyalty–there are many reasons why Huck went and did what he did. Let’s not also forget, though, that Huck loves this stuff. It’s his drug. And Eli handed him a hit on a platter. Huck kind of had no control over his actions. Poor, poor Huck. He and Liv are basically brother and sister: they suffer from the same damaging “parental” figure who they can’t escape from.

“He owns me too.”

Yes, girl, even that wine you’re drinking is a product of his influence on you. Huck is back in the hole and Eli is trying to drag Liv in too. She says “Nobody walks away from him,” not realizing that both Huck and Jake are alive because of his love for her (which I still believe must be the one genuine, non evil thing about him). If Liv liked every member of B6-13, I don’t wonder if he wouldn’t shut it down.

[Anyone else catch Eli’s eye twitch when Huck’s gun was in his face? I think he stood his ground, but thinks that Huck is a real threat to him. He’s just aware of his power over him and knows he’s able to make use of it. But I don’t think Eli underestimates Huck. I think he might be very afraid. Let’s not forget that Huck, while possibly unaware–and possibly unwilling to use this tactic–has Olivia. Huck could threaten Olivia in some way and Papa Pope might change his whole perspective on things. Just something to think about.]

Fitz/Liv: I bet that 4th fellow in the office when Fitz was telling Liv about Mary’s son was like “Oh, Miss Pope is about to lose her job or something for hanging up on the president,” not knowing he’s her boo. Also Fitz had to tell Liv that guy was on the phone very clearly so she didn’t slip and say something he wasn’t supposed to hear.

Let’s talk about the quiet, but powerful scene Mellie had. It’s the most imperfect we’ve seen her, if I’m remembering correctly. Her hair is loose, she has little make up on, and she was so relaxed. Drunk!Mellie might be my favorite Mellie. Even a bit of an accent popped out there, especially as she talked about her Daddy’s “hootch.” Homegirl knows what’s up. She knows that if Olivia Pope died, she’d have nothing. Fitz wouldn’t have the time or the energy for her; it would all go in to grief and trying to champion some sort of monument to “Saint Olivia Pope.”

I am spectacular but I cannot compete with religious fervor.

Mellie knows how to run what’s given to her, but a curveball like that would take things out of her hands. As she said,

“As long as she’s still alive she’s your flaw. your achilles heel. She’s the string I’ll pull to make my puppet husband dance.”

Mellie y’all! They both, but she especially, are done playing. They are even over playing for the public; Cyrus was going to have a coronary trying to get them to go to Camp David together. Poor Teddy, he’s going to have some deep emotional scars from them yelling at each other in his face like that. Mellie intends to play the Olivia card to get what she wants; I wonder what she has planned…

Remington UpdateLet’s see: The man Huck murdered wanted to speak to the president about Remington. He though he was the only honorable person involved. Does Jake’s release have anything to do with all the Remington stuff coming out? Why did that man not try before to speak to the president? What prompted him to want to do it now?

I don’t like David and Cy in the same room together. They’re more than opposite sides of the coin, that implies shared traits. I worry Cy will corrupt David, but David shocked me (and twitter) tonight when he showed up and OUT against Cy. I was proud of him. I wonder what this might mean for their interactions in the future. Cyrus is always trying to blackmail or guilt or extort something out of somebody; David isn’t letting that happen. You go, David!

This week and (it seems) next week are sort of back to the case of the week format, but so far it hasn’t lost the serial edge that it seemed to last season after the Defiance arc ended. Is it next Thursday yet?

Quotes

“I’m all killed out today.”
“Wrap it in plastic and put it in a dumpster so it never bothers you again.”
Ok Dexter…

One last thing: Liv’s phone blowing was UP tonight… oh wait, too soon? 😉

ConStar Watches Scandal “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

I was hoping Scandal season 3 would be good; I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS good! I don’t even know where to begin!!! I’ll try to organize my thoughts to make it easier to read! (but it’s shorter than last weeks, actually! Surprised me!)

Quotes

“I can kill a man with very little effort and a lot of joy but I try not to.”

“You’re evil.” “You’re welcome.”

“I am your father. So I’m going to explain to you how to behave in my presence. You do not ask questions that you can’t handle the answer to. You do not make judgements about things you cannot imagine. You don’t know me that way, you don’t ever want to know me that way; but if you push you will know me well and that would break my heart. Because I’m enjoying these Sunday dinners that you make me pay for. Now, you are on my dime, pick up your menu, order your meal, and tell me about your day.”

“How presidential are my balls now, Cy?”

“We are family, sweetie. We are never done.”

Questions

  • What exactly does (Eli? Rowan? Which is his name? I’ve seen cast members say Rowan, but his cover is Eli…?) he do for B6-13? Is he in charge? Or just one leader of others?
  • Some timeline qs: Liv’s mom dies, Papa Pope “grieves” and sends her away. Is it guilt because he had something to do with it? Or he gets deeper involved in B6-13 to exact revenge because of her death? Is his love for his family the softest thing about him?
  • Who were those muggers at Union Station? Could they be more than muggers? Or simply that plot device to show Liv Huck’s nature?

Thoughts

So I guess Liv is over Verna, huh? I thought in the finale, she said she didn’t know if she could continue knowing that he killed Verna. THOUGH, she DID ask, as someone on Twitter put it, “her main squeeze to find and save her side piece.” So maybe she’s just waiting it out until Jake comes back…?

We’re going to get just the pieces of what’s in the file every episode aren’t we? It will probably be an episode 13 reveal. There was so much in this episode but don’t think I’m going to forget that “Remington” detail Cyrus gave us. What’s in the file?! (also, Cyrus and Papa must have known each other 5 years ago, the way Papa Pope threw his name at Liv at dinner the way he did.)

The scenes with Papa Pope from 5 Years Ago. They were amazing. He went from this picture of a loving dad who was trying to make amends (and I am sure that it was true, as the confidence of his lies must have been based in truth to be so genuine) to showing Olivia the man he really is. I’m skipping ahead a bit but I canNOT believe he said “You don’t know me like that…”! When he flipped on her when she confronted him, I nearly died. No really, I couldn’t breath while he was talking and I started tearing up from crying. But he should have KNOWN she could figure it out: he’s paying for her law degree and she has his genes! Of course she’s going to find out! She’s Olivia Pope! But I guess he hadn’t seen her in so long and was trying so hard on the emotional side that he didn’t think about her logical side (which I’m sure she gets from him). But, as my friend said on Twitter, I wouldn’t walk away from my dad if I just found out he’s a killer. Choose life. And now we know why she broke it off with Edison in the past. They hold a lot of power over each other, those Popes.

Focusing on the Popes in the present: He just suddenly shows up at her office! Huck is there, but I guess, considering the ending, that they’ve never met before, even under B6-13. I guess he’s the shadowy figurehead that no one sees? I’m confused about his position. Is he the leader? Just a commander for one section? It’s interesting how easy it was for Olivia to negotiate getting Jake back. All it took was Sunday dinners again. I suppose we must believe that his interest in his daughter is genuine.

The scene in the office between them was great.

*smiling* “You need to leave.”

Those fake smiles between them for her co-workers was a genius move; I didn’t notice in the first few seconds that their smiles were for show, not until they shot from outside the room with no sound. Brilliant. And it’s so both of them. There are so many ways in which you see the similarities between them; because with as little time they spend together, they just know what to do together. Imagine if they were on the same side, the damage they could do; the power they would have.

Wine: Papa Pope introduces Liv to wine! He’s where her wine-only diet comes from! It makes you think, however, what her thoughts might have been in all those previous scenes with wine. Those scenes have deeper meaning now. Could she have been thinking of her father?

Fitz/Liv: I think Fitz has a bigger game for Liv and the public. He had a proud gleam in his eyes when she was fighting for Jeanine at the press conference. And he told her to “go for the jugular,” why?

Olivia wanted two things: The free Jeanine from the scandal and the free Jake. She tried to appeal to both Fitz and her Dad. No matter how she came at it, there was only ever one solution. Jeanine burns. She wanted Jake more than she wanted Jeanine free; she asked about him more.

Harrison: Harrison is coming to his wit’s end, I believe. The side-eye he gave her when she walks into her office when the interview is about to begin was quick but deep. And Black Girl Nerds on Twitter thought that there might have been a connection between Harrison and Papa Pope that they might have been suppressing. I ran with this idea, here it goes: Harrison is overly good to Olivia; what if he is doing so because he is trying to pull a Papa Pope card and make up for a transgression in the past that affected Olivia? (I always go back to the mother theory since we found out but it could be anything I guess). That’s why we haven’t gotten Harrison’s backstory yet, because he’s atoning for something in his past that directly affects Olivia. (I wonder if she knows about whatever it is and that’s why she kind of snubs him the way she does?)

Huck: FIRST OF ALL, I CAN’T BELIEVE HUCK TOUCHED LIV LIKE THAT! We know he’s crazy, but we all thought Liv was his center; his one person he wouldn’t ever mess with. But she lied to him and kept her dad from him. The person who ruined his life and put him in a hole and made him crazy. Poor Huck. (Though upon rewatch, he doesn’t go for her neck. He’s wringing her chin kind of loosely. But the move still did the damage it intended to.) Now Huck and Liv’s relationship is broken. Who knows if it can come back together. However, now that Jake is back, she is exchanging one Huck for another.

This episode has a lot of people playing someone’s weakness against them. Fitz uses Cyrus’ love of White House power in the scene before he does the press conference. Liv uses Fitz insecurities about the election to (try) to get him to choose her side in the Jeanine situation. Fitz uses the VP’s dislike of sexual immorality against her to get her to leave him alone when she confronts him about lying about Jeanine being the one (“I had Jeanine six ways to Sunday all over this White House…”). Papa uses Jake to try to convince Liv to burn Jeanine. Olivia uses Papa’s desire for Sunday dinner to get Jake released. I’m sure I’m missing more, but there were a lot of power plays used in this episode.

Other thoughts:

  • Didn’t Amanda Tanner get kidnapped from Liv’s house and then murdered?! Liv, don’t leave that girl in your house!
  • Olivia is on the phone, Fitz kicks everyone out the room. ON THE PHONE lol
  • David Rosen’s goatee lol.
  • Ohh that’s why she gave the ring back to Edison the first time! But she only accepts his proposal to blackmail her dad… so it wasn’t going to last anyway.
  • Olivia is flawless even in the middle of the night on her way to the morgue.
Only about 100 words shorter than last week! I surely thought I’d go longer! Thanks for reading!

ConStar Studies Scandal “It’s Handled”

How I felt watching most of the episode.

Season Three came out of the gate FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS! I’m still in shock from that premiere. *major spoilers below*

I’m rewatching the episode as I type to get some of his lines right. This episode was chock full of fantastic, fierce, and fiery one liners.

Key thoughts:

  • Joe Morton KILLED IT as Papa Pope. Act One was amazing. I basically wrote a dissertation below; lots of questions about him & his motivations.
  • I want to know what happened to Olivia’s mom and the plane crash. I have a feeling that will be important*[theory at the bottom]
  • Shonda did a great job of using dialogue to express character and relationships.
  • Fitz basically told us he leaked the name halfway through the episode.
  • Harrison is Liv’s champion and she (still) refuses him. I blame Papa Pope.

Quotes:

  • “I know more than  you could possibly imagine; about things of which you cannot possibly dream.”
  • “Just to be clear, I am the hell AND the high-water.”
  • “You have to be what?” “Twice as good.” “Twice as good as them to get half of what they have.”
  • “I am done with you and your superiority and your rudeness.”
  • “I am a monster, but honey, I’m your monster.”
  • “The White House will destroy you.” “That’s what mom used to tell me about you.”
  • “The time has come; I want it to come.”

Tl;dr under a read more cut, but just know I have a lot of thoughts. This is a long post. Continue reading

Essence.com | Nicole Beharie on Her New Show, ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ Being Black on Primetime TV

EXCLUSIVE: Nicole Beharie on Her New Show, ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ Being Black on Primetime TV | Essence.com.

“ESSENCE: It’s so great to see a Black woman on prime time as the lead. Besides Kerry Washington, there’s you. Pressure?

NB: Yes, I think you just put the pressure on. [Laughs] My shoulders just fell. One thing I have considered is that the success of a show like Scandal and [Kerry’s] presence and Shonda Rhimes has opened up the minds of studios and executives. They know it’s possible. Even before that I liked Living Single. To me, all those shows were proof that of course it’s possible. Not only is it possible, but extremely entertaining and enriching.”

“I’m 5’1’’ and an African American woman. I just didn’t think anyone would hire me to play the cop. There’s a certain demographic of girls who look the same in every action piece and I didn’t think that that was going to be me. I’ve always been a big sci-fi person. I love fantasy, so when the opportunity presented itself I wanted to take a shot at this. Getting to hold a gun and running away from witches and incantations…there’s so much more that you’re going to see in the season that just doesn’t really fit into what I keep seeing on Twitter or what I keep hearing some people saying like ‘Yes, you’re the Black person who doesn’t die.’ A lot of people were like, ‘You’re going to die soon right?’ and I’m like I don’t know you have to watch. I haven’t died. It’s kind of a joke in the community like we always die within 20 minutes.”

Nicole Beharie is my new favorite person. She like sci-fi/fantasy, is a black nerd girl it seems, and I love her voice. I’m so excited that there is another black female lead, and as she says, the success of this show and Scandal will show producers and networks that choosing a black lead works. People will watch it (Sleepy Hollow and Scandal are doing extraordinarily well). I can’t wait to see what this inspires next.

I, for one, am very happy that this is a sci-fi/fantasy show, a realm you don’t get to see many black people (or black females) act in (outside of an ethnic magical person or wacky disbelieving sidekick) so black girls like me can know that black people do like sci-fi, we do like fantasy, we do act in these things and it’s ok to write them and explore them.

This show is making me very happy.

ConStar Studies Scandal (And Season Pacing)

Tonight’s Scandal was a little lot crazy. And reading TV Line’s post episode Q&A (don’t even look at the URL if you haven’t seen the episode. Seriously.) with creator Shonda Rhimes got me thinking about season pace.

So tonight’s episode of Scandal was episode 13, which tends to be a biggie since a lot of shows initially get a 13 episode order for the season (and if it goes well, the ‘back 9’ are added on), so it’s often big; often acts like a possible season finale, and usually crops up right in time for February Sweeps. Perfect ratings combination.

Without spoiling too much of the episode (either you don’t care or I hate spoiling things for people), know that a major story arc is, well, not concluded, but is partially resolved. But only in the sense that there is more crap to come later on. LOL. Reading the TV Line article, Shonda Rhimes says the next episode comes with a time jump (harking back to episode 13 as a season finale, 14 is maybe Season 2 part 2). In the TV Line article, she says:

When we got the 22-episode order [for Season 2], I was like, “We’re not going to slow the show down,” because that would change what the show is.

A lot of praise goes to British television shows because of how well they construct stories and spread them out over the season (and other reasons, destroying the hearts of their fans is another thing) but usually they only get 13 episodes per season (British Brevity). So the stories are more compact. American TV, on the other hand, spreads things out over 22 episodes. Which is great for having more story and more time with your favorite characters, but sometimes slows down the momentum of a story arc and we’re stuck complaining about filler episodes.

So it’s a little refreshing to see a showrunner decide not to have those filler episodes (though the next few are naturally filler-esque after the heavily serialized episodes we’ve been treated to on Scandal) and to jump straight into the next story arc. More shows could learn from not spreading their intended story out, but instead compressing it into a few episodes and moving on. What you move on to could be unrelated, but that might feel jarring, or you can just complicate the first arc and have the new one feed off of that one. (Something I think the show Angel always did very well.)

Obviously, I have to watch the next few episodes of Scandal to see how the time jump and the switch to a new story arc are handled and how they feel coming from the same season, but I just couldn’t help but think about the way a season progresses after reading that TV Line article.