Sunday, November 22, 2020

Believe Care Invest: Scandal

Why Olivia might be hard to identify with: 
  • It’s a bit off-putting that she’s kinda smugly confident and unflappable. The D.A. has a point when he says “Your Spidey senses aren’t evidence.” 
  • She’s got what is ultimately an ugly job.  She’s horribly abusive to the president’s lover: “I want to warn you. Because you seem like a fine person. So you should know what could happen. It could become hard for you to find employment, your face would be everywhere, people would associate you with a sex scandal. All kinds of information about you could easily become available to the press. For example, you've had 22 sexual partners? That we know of. Also there's that ugly bout of gonorrhea. And your family...Your mother's mental illness. A psychotic break? 2 years in Bedford Hospital? I bet that's private. She's runs a daycare now, right?” (But Olivia does come around to the side of the angels in the final minutes and agree to fight for the mistress against the president.)
  • Harrison lures Quinn (and us) in with a bunch of lies about how “We’re the good guys, slaying dragons, gladiators in suits”, but gradually reveals the truth once she is (and we are) committed: “It’s not about solving a crime, it’s not about justice, it’s about our client.” This will be a pulpy show, but it’s moral murkiness will be very believable. Olivia smirks and asks “Did Harrison feed you a line about being a gladiator in a suit?”
  • She doesn’t have much suffering or embarrassment, but we slowly come to realize that she’s lost something due to something that something that’s happened in her past. The D.A. says to her, “You don’t have the muscle of the white house behind me any more, you’re just a private citizen who is, by the way, annoying.” We eventually find out she has a big weakness, she’s still in love with the (very married) president and it tears her up inside. Without that bit of suffering, we’d reject her.
  • Before we meet Olivia, Quinn hears the name “Olivia Pope” and says “THE Olivia Pope?”
  • Then we meet her and she’s standing up to gun-toting Ukranian gangsters, armed with nothing but her confidence: “What’s going to happen is that you and Vlad are going to take the three million and leave right now to make your flight.”
  • She’s the queen of the power moves: The associates have a vote about whether to take the case, the other three all vote no, but she says “my vote always comes down to my gut, my gut tells me everything I need to know. We’re taking the case.” Finch asks “Why do we even bother voting?” But Olivia just dismisses him by saying, “You’re pretty, and smart, so pretty, so smart.”
  • She has the power to say, “You tell the president of the United States to make time for me.”
Five Es
  • Eat: No. She’s not very human.
  • Exercise: No.
  • Economic Activity: She’s always working.
  • Enjoy: After watching Olivia work, Finch says “God I love this job” and Olivia implicitly agrees.
  • Emulate: No.
Rise above
  • At the end of the pilot, she realizes that she has to rise above her job and stop trying to silence the president’s lover.
  • While she’s being all badass with the kidnappers she’s also inquiring about whether Finch has proposed to his girlfriend.


James Kennedy said...

I've never seen the show, but as for "eat," isn't Olivia Pope frequently drinking a glass of red wine? That's what I heard.

Matt Bird said...

Yes, I think that was an element added after the pilot, which was a good step towards humanizing her.

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