I'm Already Missing Olivia Pope, My Super Smart, Pro-Choice, Dangerously Flawed Role Model
On most Thursdays, I cannot WAIT until 10 p.m. when the next installment of ABC''s Scandal injects me with intellect, sex, power, politics, fashion and yes, a hug full of Black Girl Magic from two of Hollywood's most influential women. But, I'm writing this about 24 hours before Scandal's final episode.
I look normal, but I'm still in shock. I've been a "Gladiator" from the very first Thursday. I watched Saturday marathons on BET and I own the sexiest years, Seasons One and Two. But, I thought we had more time.
Writer/Producer Shonda Rhimes (below left) created the world of Scandal; actress Kerry Washington (below right) rules the team that brought the Gladiators to life, thriving in the role of Olivia Pope (above).
Olivia is...complex. Abused Daughter, Washington Fixer, Murderer, Presidential True Love and Side Piece. NotMom.
In Season Five, Olivia chose to abort her pregnancy by married US President Fitzgerald Grant (below). She told no one and never spoke of it until Fitz found out from someone else. Unless Olivia there's a hell of a surprise ending for the series in its hourlong finale, she will be a NotMom until the end.
Understand, the character of Olivia Pope is historic, and not just to me. She is TV's first Black female dramatic lead in 38 years. The first was Get Christy Love, also on ABC. Ms. Love (below) was played by Theresa Graves.
I was a kid, but I remember her Foxy Brown similarities and kung fu high kicks. I knew the show was A Big Deal, but unlike my visceral support for Olivia Pope, I don't remember ever wanting to be, or look like, undercover LA cop, Christie Love.
Of course, Olivia is the brainchild of a woman. An African American woman, to be exact. According to imdb, Christie was the product of a succession of men. Those men were hoping to copy the success of the 1970s blaxploitation movies; Olivia is based on real-life D.C. powerhouse Judy Smith.
Fast forward to today, I have been a fangirl for Shonda Rhimes since the first episode of Grey's Anatomy. Shonda also wrote a bestseller, The Year of Yes, to chronicle her major weight loss and personal growth while kicking Hollywood's doors down. It's a good read.. Shonda has never been married, but she knew she wanted to be a mother and adopted and raised two young girls on her own. Perhaps I admire her for that most of all.
As for Kerry, I have come to realize that I have loved her in each of her films that I've seen, including Ray, Django Unchained, Confirmation, For Colored Girls and Save the Last Dance. Belatedly, I had a facepalm moment when I was reminded of her recurring role in Boston Legal,
Over seven seasons, viewers have seen Olivia Pope visit her Dark Side (darker than hooking up with a married man), quiver under her father's condescension and cry over the lack of her mother's affection.
I hope you will join me with a glass of red wine (Olivia's favorite) and wish our fantastic girl farewell.
(Image Credits, in order: FameFlynet; ABC/Mitch Haaseth; ABC;