Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sometimes, Even Gladiators Stumble...

I obsess.  Chronically.  When I fall for a television series, a restaurant, a lipstick, an artist, a band, a pair of shoes, an actor, a song, a character, or a real life human being…I fall hard and I fall fast. Last summer, it was Outlander.  I watched each episode a million times, I reread the first book, and I read everything there is to read about Sam Heughan and Catriona Balfe. And for a good chunk of the summer months, Jamie Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser’s beautiful face graced the lock screen on my iPhone. I’m not crazy.  I’m just passionate.  Or at least that’s how I like to think of it.

Anywho, Outlander’s mid-season finale came and went and I was forced to shelf the novel, along with the show, and come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t feel satiated once more until April of 2015 (I’m not happy Starz.  I’m really not happy).  So I sought out a new obsession.  Thank god for Netflix.  Before I knew it, I was throwing myself into the gut-wrenching, heart stopping, totally cheesy yet totally addicting television phenomenon that is Scandal.  And I couldn’t have been happier. It’s dramatic, it’s naughty, it’s politically charged, it’s over the top, and just freaking fantastic.  My watch-buddy (Mummy of course) and I cannot help but gasp at each startling revelation/confession/Olitz love scene.  It’s good people.  If you’re not watching, start.  Immediately.

So, why is this at all relevant? Why the hell am I talking your ear off about an ABC primetime drama?  For one, the newest season started last week and we will now see episodes consistently aired each Thursday for weeks to come.  Hallelujah!! But more importantly, beyond the angsty Olivia/Fitz love affair and beyond the juicy, dirty, scandalicious moments, we have a pretty dang fabulous heroine at the center of it all.

Olivia Pope, played marvelously by the beautiful Kerry Washington, is D.C.’s go-to woman.  She is well respected in the community, known for being the best at what she does.  She is ambitious, relentless, and will stop at nothing to deliver for her clients.  She is empathetic and generous and advocates for the people she loves. She is beautiful and, most notably, wicked smart.  She also has quite possibly the most beautiful collection of professional clothing I’ve ever seen – Prada Bags and Louboutins and Pastel colored topcoats.  Since watching the show, I’ve made small additions to my own closet in hopes of emulating her sophisticated look.  I call these my "Olivia Pope Coats."

Olivia is successful and professional and a force to be reckoned with.  And she looks damn good doing it (life goals!).  At first glance, Olivia Pope is kinda perfect.

But what makes Olivia Pope really special is the fact that she isn’t perfect at all. She’s made some pretty terrible decisions quite frankly.  - At this point, I feel the need to say the following: SPOILER ALERT -  She has had a long-lasting and very serious affair with the President of the United States.  Who happens to be married.  With children.  So his marriage wasn’t all rainbows and bunny rabbits (more like thunderstorms and disease infested rodents), but an affair is an affair, right?  She thwarted the democratic process and rigged a Presidential election. She tampers with evidence, condones torture in certain circumstances, and her pool of clients could be considered a rather immoral lot.  She has a less than ideal relationship with her father.  And she tends to shamelessly manipulate her loyal gladiators all in an effort to get exactly what she wants.

I think I’ve made it perfectly clear that Olivia Pope is not perfect.  Far from it.  She isn’t some glowing goddess free of flaws and imperfections.  She’s a person, just like the rest of us.  She has many admirable and lovable qualities.  But she has made mistakes, she’s taken wrong turns, she’s lost her way.  Olivia Pope, I think, is such a beautifully realistic female character, one that doesn’t project this unattainable level of perfection.  Sure, her average day is a bit more outrageous and glamorous than ours.  Yes, her hair is always impeccably styled and her wardrobe may be a bit more extensive.  But I think we can all identify with her in the sense that she doesn't actually have all her shit together as appearances may suggest.  She is not all good or all bad.  Real people are far more complicated than that, and Olivia is certainly a representation of that complexity.  Even gladiators stumble matter how gorgeous the suit.  What a breath of fresh air.

Hope everyone has enjoyed their Sunday.  Special thanks to my girl Katie Tingey for snapping these photos and for being just an all around awesome friend/human.  And to all you Gladiators out there, grab your popcorn and a giant glass of wine.  It’s Scandal Season!   

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always…

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