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‘Scandal’ Takes on Ferguson

If you are like us, then you probably have a bonafide addiction to ABC’s hit drama series Scandal. A strong female lead (not to mention a person of color!), shocking plot twists in every episode, steamy drama and relationships—what’s not to love? But on this past week’s episode, the show decided to take a stance on a surprisingly realistic situation that was grounded in actual recent events. Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) gets called in to oversee a situation where a young African American teen is shot on the streets of D.C. when his father comes to the scene with a shotgun in tow. Olivia diffuses the tense moment to the best of her ability, with the help of a community activist, until a coroner can arrive. The whole plot line was all too familiar, mirroring what we saw in Ferguson—and reflective of events that have made headlines far too many times. Obviously the show’s creators hoped that this episode would shed light on a very important cause that we need to continue talking about. The episode stirred up a lot of conversation among fans and non-viewers alike.

On the one hand, we have to give Scandal‘s creators major kudos for boldly choosing to breach what many in the industry might deem too controversial. There is nothing more laudable than a fictional show diving into non-fiction in the name of awareness. Certainly this episode was a good reminder that race relations and police brutality problems in our country are far from over, and it managed to once more revive the debate which had for a time being, seemingly disappeared. To that end, we can feel nothing but pride for this episode which managed to deliver, with Kerry Washington’s powerful acting and incredible writing, a memorable performance.

On the other hand, critics of the episode argue that the idea, while well intentioned, was simply misplaced in a series like Scandal. In all fairness, they do have a valid point. This is a show where nothing, absolutely nothing about the various plotlines or story twists comes even close to being plausible in the real world. That may be why fans love the show so much—it’s over-the-top, completely ridiculous drama that, while having no basis in truth, proves to be highly entertaining. So the show’s creators must understand that if they set out to create a show where every episode has viewers guessing what bizarre and ludicrous turn the show is going to take, an attempt to be serious and inspirational might not be taken the right way. After all, the Ferguson events deserve all the respect they can get, and one might argue that placing an homage to them in such a melodramatic setting just isn’t a good fit.

In the end, we leave it up to you collegiettes to decide whether the decision was justified or just wrong. All we know for sure is where our DVR will be set on Thursday nights! 

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Janine Eduljee


Journalism and political science student at Northeastern University. Figure skater, dancer, actress, and passionate lover of music.
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