Review is based on recently watched DVDs of Seasons 1-2. I loved the first season of the show: A great premise, a great cast, great acting and it was well written. ABC's full-season orders are destroying the quality of the show. The stories are becoming even more outlandish while also having clichéd and predictable conclusions.
- That rapid shutter sound when a scene changes is overly loud and obnoxious. What purpose does it serve, exactly, beyond being an annoying, unnerving sound?
- The use of the "white hat" metaphor when used as often as it is in this show makes it a useless allegory. They also had the bright idea to have Olivia wear a literal white hat in the last episode in the second season (thanks for beating us over the head with this, Shonda).
- The pilot has Huck mention a basic mantra that characters repeat throughout the series: "We are gladiators" and "We don't ever cry for any reason because Olivia doesn't cry". After the pilot, Olivia cries in literally every single episode. Either Kerry is overacting (doubtful) or the writers and producers don't really care that they gave a basic "no-crying" maxim and choose to repeatedly violate it for some reason. Every episode also exposes how worthless she and her team are at being said gladiators until 7 minutes before the end of the episode.
- Making a powerful main character like Cyrus gay and married? Great. Making him a hyper- masculine character and his reporter husband James a hyper-feminized homosexual man because for some reason every gay couple on TV needs someone to take the "wife" role in the relationship? Not so great. Why can't gay men be attracted to each other for their masculinity?
- The Quinn problem: After the first season and a few episodes of Season 2, Quinn/Lindsay basically becomes irrelevant. The writers clearly didn't know what to do with her so they partnered her with Huck for no reason. But not before they made her a very frustrating, annoying, useless character who suddenly becomes apt at everything she does after her initial struggles. After her crisis is over she becomes a static character.
- The use of sex is an overused plot device for the story. Sex is not a replacement for good writing, but the producers and writers seem to think it is. There is an actual moment where a character asks another character a question with a difficult answer and instead of answering, kisses the other character and then they have sex on screen.
- Randomly fastforwarding the story 10 months in the middle of Season 2 (no mid-season break; just a one week to the next week) shows how lazy the writers and producers were. They didn't plan ahead, so suddenly at the beginning of S02E14 it reads "10 months later" on the screen and literally nothing changed in that 10 month period for any of the characters. Suddenly after 10 months everything starts changing again?
- Huck is the most compelling and complex character in main cast. His story and his emotional journey was great to watch in the Season 2"Seven Fifty-Two" episode (the only exceptionally good episode of the entire season).
- Reinforced gender roles: There are only 1.5 male characters in the entire show that are capable of an emotion other than anger. Huck is one (see above)and the .5 represents Cyrus's husband James. He counts as .5 of a male character because the producers decided he was supposed to be the equivalent to a gay wife (see above). Every other male character yells at the other characters.
-- Millie is the only interesting female character in the show that is not overcome with her emotions and painted as a weak, feminine character in every single episode. She actually schemes and uses everything she has, including crying, as a way to manipulate herself into more power and control. As stated before, Olivia cries all the time because she's just sad and Quinn is useless for most of both seasons. Abby is the clichéd hyper-sexualized female character who stares at penises all the time, makes inappropriate comments and is only female because if the producers and writers made her a male character, he would be seen as a sexual predator/sexual deviant/rapist. Finally, the other .5 of James is depicted as a permanently flustered, nagging, baby-obsessed gay-wife of Cyrus.
The biggest problem is that because there are so many episodes ordered by ABC, the writers and producers have no idea of the direction they want to take the show or their characters. They play it by ear and it really shows. "Oh, that main character is suddenly the big bad guy? Oh wait, no he wasn't. Oh wait, he's the big bad guy for something else? Oh wait, no he wasn't. Oh, he really was the bad guy but somehow framed 12 people to take the fall for him?" That totally doesn't get annoying, writers. The writers and producers are also forced to rely on overused tropes in thrillers/dramas leading to predictable episodes. The only moment that genuinely surprised me was the attempted assassination of a main character in Season 2.
Scandal's ratings appear to keep going up, but I'm out. I'm done with the show after the end of Season 2 and will not be coming back to it.