September 24, 2013
Kerry Washington did not win the Emmy, but her nomination nod tells much about her show, Scandal. Like most contestants in TV's imperfect competition, too often, the nominated shows are genial on the eye and gentle on the cerebrum - be they funny or deadly.
But the Emmy Academy nodded twice: Dan Bucatinsky did win the 2013 Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama for his performance as reporter James Novak.
Shonda Rhimes, architect of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice fame, keeps up her creative consistency with this latest success.
Moving from one crisis central to another - from the guts of the hospital to the bowels of the government - she now targets political disgrace and defamation.
Washington - the stunning actress - was a shrewd casting coup. As Olivia Pope, she personifies smart, sharp, driven, sensual, sexy.
The chief fixer of her crisis management firm, she leads a crew of four fetchers who doggedly tract the malleable and firm facts to curb the scandal du jour.
Her office-X-men sport a conglomeration of skills to miraculously reconfigure the image facing or defacing of her varied clients.
Guillermo Díaz (vulnerable, conflicted, complicated Huck with the computer-savvy X-gene) and Washington are the best Rhimes and reasons to watch the show. (Sorry, couldn't help it.)
President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) is not Mr. McDreamy. He can be both a bully and a pussy with his women, and quasi-attentive to his politics - a kind of schizo-persona combing real veeps, Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle.
If anyone in D.C. is as smart as the prez's paramour, Olivia herself, no candidate could survive the campaign circus and its prying paparazzi. But Grant does. Hence the conflict, conspiracies and intrigue.
Without revealing too much more, you get the drift: a romp in the boudoirs, bank vaults and back rooms of Washington D.C. where Olivia helps folks weasel out of trouble any way she can. Her professional launderers dive into the muck and clean up the mess - experts in sweeping the dirt under the rug. That's their job.
And meanwhile, each has his and her hush-hush personal dirty little linens needing a dosage of the company clorox. It's a soap opera, soapbox, soft-soaping, scuttlebutt and smut...you name it, Rhimes wrote it.
Inspired by 24-hour newscasts, stories are lifted, twisted and embellished through Rhimes's emotional filter. Be it hooch, hookers, smack, smackers, cigars or wieners, all the news morphs onto your screen for a hot evening of spicy voyeuristic gratification.
Brains, power, gun powder, leverage and loot are the tools of the trade, but resolution can equally arrive by virtue of serendipity, good luck, and plain old honorable behavior. Rhimes indulges in the unpredictable - sometimes mastering it, sometimes mangling it. But, hey, u go, girl!
The series cross-pollinates The Good Wife with the West Wing, but without their intellectual intricacies. Scandal is lighter, fluffier, bloodier and blubberier. Each show features a stand-alone resolved conflict combined with some traumatic threads interwoven throughout the shows in hopes of roping you in for the run.
Take the five DVDs on vacation, watch it on the train, great at the beach, perfect for long plane trips, in the guest bedroom, over the holidays. But allow for 16 hours of binge viewing. You have been forewarned: you may get hooked.
Emmy Winner, Dan Bucatinsky and Jeff Perry
The venerable cast and the guest actors (among them are: Jeff Perry, Kate Burton, Joe Morton, Scott Foley, Matt Letscher, Norm Lewis, Gregg Henry) are yet more incentives to indulge.
Spoiler alert! Every word about the Extras will ruin the fun. Even the titles betray the narrative. Suffice to say, stay away. Wait for 946 minutes. Then go for the overdose.
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Guillermo Díaz, Joshua Malina, Bellamy Young, Dan Bucatinsky, Gregg Henry, Scott Foley
Length: 5 DVDs, 22 Episodes, 946 minutes
Rated: Not rated
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Dolby Digital 5.1
French, Spanish, English SDH
Major Spoiler Alert! No kidding. This clip recaps Season 1 and 2. You have been warned.