Scandal, a much-beloved show created by the infamous Shonda Rhimes, is heavily rumoured be coming to an end after season seven. Scandal follows DC “fixer” Olivia Pope and her team as they navigate election riggings and presidential affairs.
Though the show has taken a wild turn off the tracks in the past few seasons— evil corporation bombing major cities to gain control of the president-elect, anyone?— it has been phenomenal in terms of representation. Olivia Pope is a black woman who, though powerful, is not reduced to harmful stereotypes like the “angry black woman” or the “bossy bitch”. She is courageous and has a strong sense of morality, but can be vulnerable and emotional as well. Olivia also has an on-off affair with an notably white president, and, though not consistently, they do bring up interracial aspect of their relationship.
Scandal’s other prominent minority characters include Huck, who is Latino; Cyrus, who is gay; Rowan, who is black; Marcus, who is black; James, who is gay; and Maya, who is black. Scandal could definitely do better with intersectionality, but the point here is not just that these characters are minorities— these characters are fully-fledged, human minorities. They are supremely well-written and they expand beyond stereotypes. Each one has motivations, dreams, and valid emotions– they exist beyond their race or sexuality.
Not only that, but most of those characters are in positions of power. Olivia just got named Chief of Staff. Cyrus was Chief of Staff and then vice-president-elect. Rowan was the head of a top secret intelligence agency with full control over everyone, include the president. It may seem like a fantasy world, but it’s a world that should be represented on prime-time.
In addition to this, unlike other shows— (Pretty Little Liars, I’m looking at you)— Scandal doesn’t jump to make minorities villains or antagonists. Everyone on Scandal happens to have abandoned the white hat at some point and killed someone. The minorities are monsters, just like all the white, straight characters on the show.
Scandal may have been dragging its chains behind it for a long while, but at least it’s lived long enough for the audience to see a female president, a female vice-president, and a female Chief of Staff take over the White House. It’s unfortunate to see such a wonderful, representative show go. Knowing Shonda Rhimes, it’ll soon be replaced with another diverse, if overly dramatic show.