As some of you may have guessed, I’m not a fan of culture. I like “cultures,” especially the kind made of bacteria, and of course, moldy cheese, sour beer, and tea someone left on the countertop for too long (the only good sweet tea) - but as far as culture goes, no sir, I do not like it.
So, the staff of PRF strapped me down and made me review various aspects of this shit-show. I hope you enjoy it.
NOTE: I didn’t actually watch this show. It was on behind my head while I was playing video games.
This show begs an important question: Do you think enough bad things about the people in Washington, D.C.?
You probably don’t, unless you’re one of my visitors from the David Icke forums, here to tell me that they’re all a bunch of blood-drinking human-sacrificing pedophile shapeshifting lizardmen, come here to enslave and consume the human race as chattel and cattle. In which case, welcome! Please don’t comment.
But for the rest of us - do you think that everyone in Washington D.C. is a murderous, lecherous, bribing, philandering, cover-up artist, torturing everyone in their path, doing a dozen nefarious deeds before breakfast? Do you think that they’re a bunch of own-team murdering morons, incapable of even the simplest of moral actions without an overwhelming personal benefit?
If not, then maybe you should give this show a watch for an episode or two. But, to prepare you, here’s what happens:
Act I: Someone we are lead to believe is a Good Person will do Something Bad. In some episodes the Good Person is a Good But Flawed Person. Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they’re a Bad Person Who is Doing Good Things. Sometimes they’re the person who grabs things that you really need, even if they didn’t need them.
Act II: Technobabble will then be followed by it’s legal equivalent, Lawblahblah. This will serve to show us how screwed our poor sap really is. The stakes will be made.
Act III: Faced with Bad Choice that changes Things and Worse Choice that changes Things, our heroine, Olivia Pope, will inspire her minions, because she’s fashionable and smart and has made Sacrifices.
Act IV: The minions and our heroine will figure out a third choice and the all-important Status Quo will be upheld, no matter the cost to democracy, freedom, or the intelligence of the viewer.
But - assigning good morals to bad behavior and painting sociopathic power-hungry monsters as normal isn’t the most appalling bit of social programming on the show. That honor would go to B-613, which is a secret government (non-drone) assassination program for American citizens. It’s like the worst parts of the CIA and NSA all lumped together. Unlike their real-world torture-murder counterparts, they never make mistakes, are always hyper-competent, and never screw up.
This is more dangerous of an idea than you might think, and it’s lazy storytelling (though incredibly handy to invoke when you want to just clean up your plot) - I can’t believe I’m having to type this, because it is something that I wish was not true, but people confuse TV with real life.
People confuse TV with reality. Let that sink in for a moment. The whole “those that would sacrifice liberty for a little security” thing is pretty true, and honestly, it wouldn’t be so bad of a deal - IF (and this is a HUGE IF) you got security by giving up liberty. IF, for instance, you were having Jack Bauer torture terrorists and B-613 assassinate the bad guys and James Bond thwart your supervillians.
But in the real world, which people confuse with entertainment (I am not kidding, look it up) - these are not hypercompetent organizations. The CIA isn’t abducting Terror Master Zero and torturing him, it’s grabbing random goat farmers and “guy who knows a guy who knows a terrorist.” They’re not pinpoint poisoning perfect suspects to prevent the next bomb, they’re drone-striking weddings. The reason that checks and balances exist (and the only check, the only balance, on this show is the miraculous Olivia Pope) isn’t for high-minded reasons of freedom and America. It’s for accountability. And people who assume that our real-life black ops assholes are secret superspy supersoliders, they operate under an assumption that these people are like the ones that they see on TV. They’re not.
The show goes out of hand all the time, with more murders and kidnappings and fake suicides and fake murders and superspy technology than a soap opera. Scandal has jumped more sharks than a surfer high on Mountain Dew and PCP. Instead of seasons, it has a series of shark-ramps, each higher and more sharktastic than the last, finally culminating in a mid-season sharkjet extravaganza that catapults us past wholesome, Katy Perry sharks, over the Jaws sharks on the backs of the super-sharks from Deep Blue Sea, and into a sort of politically-themed Sharknado, which is only slightly less impossible than an actual Sharknado.