With Scandal’s season finale airing tonight, it is a time for reflection. When the ABC political drama first premiered, it grabbed the audience’s attention and became one of TV’s most buzzed about shows. Then, the third season happened.
This season's episodes have left a bad taste in many viewers’ mouths, complete with numerous jump-the-shark moments. The fixes below will demonstrate how to make Scandal primetime’s must-see soap again.
No. 6: No More Plots on the President’s Mortality
Appallingly bad Secret Service agents aside, it was shocking when the President was shot in Season 2. Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) was hit multiple times, including once in the head. Miraculously, he recovered.
Since Scandal already pulled the “Dead President” card, one would think it would have been removed from the deck. That assumption would be wrong. It seems like every week someone is threatening to kill POTUS. Most recently, Maya (Khandi Alexander) came close to blowing him up with a bomb! Suspension of disbelief only goes so far.
No. 5: Dial Down the Speed Talking, Shouting and Monologue-ing
Scandal used to know its sweet spot for an effective monologue. Somewhere along the line, the show's writers realized they were good at scripting them, and decided to do them all the time. It's become a crutch for this show. Seriously, people, not everything warrants an impassioned speech.
No. 4: Embrace History and Stop Retconning
A constant changing of history diminishes the story. Mellie (Bellamy Young) was a fierce politician, who played her part immaculately. She also enjoyed occasionally getting frisky with her hubby — when he was on a break from his mistress.
Flash forward to Season 3, and she’s a rape victim who left her husband’s bed over a decade ago. Why was this retcon necessary? Why couldn't Mellie being cold and ruthless simply have been about her own well-crafted aspirations? There are other ways to incite empathy for a character than by revealing she was raped.
No. 3: Children Need Not Apply
The Grant kids have been mentioned since Scandal’s inception, although they were never seen until Season 3. Children can be productive characters on a soap (See: The Good Wife’s Florrick children), but that didn't happen on Scandal this season. Doesn't the White House have an attic for the unnecessary additions to go up into, and never come down?
No. 2: Stop With All the Misogyny
Scandal's target audience is women. Who wants to see Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), or any female character degraded and treated like garbage every week?
Scandal's ladies are much more entertaining when they’re strong and cunning — not weak and pathetic. Fitz used to be a dreamy romantic. Now he’s just the jerk who treats both his wife and girlfriend like subservient pieces of, well, crap.
While Fitz isn’t the only character to demonstrate misogyny on Scandal, (en)lightening his character again would be a great start.
No. 1: Cut the Dead Weight
Scandal seems to struggle to find a purpose for the associates of OPA. If focus is to remain on the White House, and not cases of the week, couldn’t some of Olivia's Gladiators be written off? It’s not like Scandal is afraid to kill off characters!
Despite the promise of a Harrison (Columbus Short) storyline this year, it really never happened. There’s no point in writing a moment or two of screen time for him every few episodes.
The irony is not lost that TV’s most well-known “Fixer” needs a tune up herself. Hopefully, the Scandal writers will get some of these issues "handled" in time for Season 4.
Photo credit: ABC