The Campaign Dinner: Reason Number 4,338,274 Why I Will Never Buy The Mellie Rape Storyline As Anything But A Poorly Executed Ratings Stunt/Contrived Plot Device

This clip came up on my comment timeline today and the beginning scene at dinner sadly caused me to see red again at how the writers made a mockery not just of a serious subject, but honestly, even Mellie’s own character.

Mellie’s interaction with Big Jerry in this entire episode from Season 2 has always been a big glaring continuity flag for the now infamously toxic Mellie episode in Season 3, but seeing her apologize and literally scurry around after him just shows that they contradicted themselves even within their own episode.

Even in the midst of a horribly executed plot, some at least took some solace in the fact that  Mellie used the rape to make Big Jerry do what she wanted him to and “took back some of her power” (which I completely disagree with, but I’m going to ignore my opinion on that for the sake of argument).

In theory, if that had been the case, shouldn’t Big Jerry have been Mellie’s bitch and jumping through hoops for her the rest his natural born worthless life?  Oh no, they even took that little sliver - the woman who walked downstairs the morning after being horrifically attacked, stared her attacker in the face and made him do what she wanted eventually turned into the woman we see almost swooning over him a decade later. 

Some will try to defend that no one can judge how a rape victim should respond or react and that I agree with completely.  But I do not feel that is what happened in this case.  This is a television show where the writers made a bad attempt to re-write history and used a very sensitive subject to try to garner sympathy for a character they are concerned they have painted themselves into a corner with story-wise.  This was not about portraying the violence and aftermath of a horrific attack - it was about bad storyline decisions by the writers who tried to create a scenario without realizing or respecting our intelligence enough as the audience to know we would see the major holes this created.

If they had planned for this to be the backstory all along - which we know they didn’t - they would have made some attempt to show us something perhaps in another flashback or exposition discussion earlier episodes to try to make this at least somewhat within the realm of believability.

And don’t even get me started on the “Who’s The Daddy” breadcrumb they left out there.  I can only hope the amount of negative feedback they received will give them pause to let that one die like the Russians who escaped in the woods on The Sopranos.

Sorry for the random rant, but hey - it happens…

Scandal Cast Accolades

To be clear, I have no problems with other cast members getting attention and accolades.  Joe, Jeff and Tony do amazing jobs and I would love to see them get more attention, as well as giving Darby and especially the untapped Columbus more opportunities to show how great they are.

However, the issue I’m presenting is that in the case of Mellie/Bellamy, the accolades seem to specifically come hand-in-hand with a direct slight at Olivia/Kerry.  Is it not possible to applaud Mellie without slamming Olivia?  A LARGE majority of this “attention” Mellie/Bellamy has received has turned into a not so subtle opportunity to rip into Olivia.  That smacks of much more than trying to give Bellamy credit for doing a good job. 

I wasn’t born yesterday.

Olivia Pope and the Whitewashing of History

The last two posts may seem somewhat disconnected, but I specifically posted them both to emphasize that, on a much smaller scale, what we’re seeing happen regarding Olivia and Mellie on Scandal and the need by some in the media to downplay, if not outright dismiss, Olivia is a very real and not uncommon phenomenon.

For centuries, there have been those who have a need to downplay the accomplishments of people of color in The Americas, Europe and the world.  I’m by no means trying to say that what we’re seeing on Scandal is in any way on the same level of importance as the systematic and deliberate whitewashing of history that has been perpetuated in the world.  What I am saying is that for those who read about the opinions and concerns that many of us have expressed towards segments of the media and society in general that seem all too eager to discount Olivia for Mellie at every opportunity, before you roll your eyes and dismiss it, take a step back and look at the broader picture.

The reason many people, of ALL races, are highly sensitive to this issue is because it is indicative and reminiscent of a practice that has been going on for a very long time.  It is ugly and and wrong, but it is very real.  The accomplishments of people of color have been whitewashed or flat-out retold in some cases.  That is just truth. 

What’s most dangerous about it is how easily it can be overlooked and hidden, even by those who may publicly claim to hold no racial biases (which let’s be honest, every last one of us has some kind of racial bias whether we admit it or not), but when confronted with the issue, for example Olivia Pope being in a position of power and goodness forbid having a white man love and respect her as a person,  suddenly have a visceral reaction and look for ways to downplay and discount the situation.  Just as there are still many who to this day want to  downplay and discount the impact of people of color in history, for example The Moors and the influence of African culture/rule in parts of Southern Europe.

How about the Sally Hemmings descendants who had to fight for years to be acknowledged as descendants of Thomas Jefferson, but were vehemently disputed by the “legitimate” descendants because they couldn’t fathom that Jefferson had fathered children with one of his black slaves.  Thank goodness for DNA testing.

Sadly, what we’ve seen bubbling on Scandal regarding Mellie and Olivia is nothing new.  It’s just a tiny example of something that has been going on throughout history, and beliefs still held by many today, even though some are better at hiding it than others.

Thanks to Minty/Julia for taking the time to compile the various media articles and commentary on this issue regarding Scandal.  This is not an issue that only concerns people of color, but anyone who is truly concerned and frustrated by attempts to change a narrative because of latent biases be they based on race, gender, sexuality, etc.  I’ve gotten feedback from many people, not just people of color, who are angry about this issue as well.

One thing history has also shown us?  The only way to combat this kind of ugliness is when people from ALL racial backgrounds stand up against it. 

Rant over.

Oh, and yeah, I said it!

Who’s In Command?

I am a little surprised to see the negative response and hand wringing over Jake being made head of command and the fear that somehow magically has more power than Fitz.

Y’all did see that the person who GAVE him that position is Fitz right?

The person who kept saying he and B6-13 were bigger than the President of the United States was Rowan.  Guess what?  When it came down to it, he wasn’t.  Fitz managed to have Rowan kidnapped, fired and replaced within 24 hours once he put his back into it.  Doesn’t sound like Rowan was above Fitz’ pay grade after all now does it?

I will give it to Rowan, he will be and has been a formidable foe, and Fitz has won for now, but Rowan will come at him hard unless the need arises for them to team up to take down Crazy Ass Mama Pope first, which it probably will.  That said, Joke is not Rowan.  On his best day Joke still can’t compare to Rowan, even if Papa Pope was smoking crack and singing the National Anthem in front of the Pentagon while swigging from a forty ounce.

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Fitz’ Comments To Rowan about Olivia

The comments Fitz made to Rowan about Olivia were done in my opinion to push Rowan’s buttons to throw him off balance and possibly get him to crack.  Rowan is not going to crack just by talking to him, he is the ultimate cool cucumber.  The only chance Fitz seemed to have was that Rowan’s feelings for Olivia would make him crazy enough to get sloppy and let something slip.  This was not Fitz bragging about his sexual exploits with Olivia, he was using the only leverage he had with Rowan to try to get him riled up.

Let’s not act like Fitz was sitting around a bar talking shit about nailing Olivia Pope.  And yes, Rowan may be Olivia’s biological father, but he is hardly the man Fitz is going to go to and ask for Olivia’s hand in marriage right now.  I do think Rowan loves Olivia, but he is not a traditional “Daddy” right now.  He’s just the asshole who has been jerking Olivia around most of her life and gave her a whole series of fucked up complexes that has rendered her virtually incapable of having a trusting relationship - and don’t think that Fitz isn’t pissed off by that too.

You can be Team Olivia and Team Mellie
The ultimate goal of an “team” should be success and happiness.  
Team Mellie to me means you want Mellie to be happy, find her own way and live her life for herself authentically and hopefully find true love.
Team Olivia to me means you want Olivia to be happy, find her own way and live her life for herself authentically and hopefully find true love. 
The Fitz part of this scenario is independent and honestly, a fait accompli - Olivia has already found true love with Fitz. 
You can be Team Mellie without it having anything to do with Fitz.  Honestly, I have no real ill will toward Mellie if she was allowed to be shown making her own path and finding happiness outside of being a slave to Fitz. 

You can be Team Olivia and Team Mellie

The ultimate goal of an “team” should be success and happiness.  

Team Mellie to me means you want Mellie to be happy, find her own way and live her life for herself authentically and hopefully find true love.

Team Olivia to me means you want Olivia to be happy, find her own way and live her life for herself authentically and hopefully find true love. 

The Fitz part of this scenario is independent and honestly, a fait accompli - Olivia has already found true love with Fitz. 

You can be Team Mellie without it having anything to do with Fitz.  Honestly, I have no real ill will toward Mellie if she was allowed to be shown making her own path and finding happiness outside of being a slave to Fitz. 

Scandal Stranger Danger

The reason both Olivia and Mellie said that Fitz was a stranger to them is because he damn well is - and it’s partially both of their own doing.

By Olivia continuing to push Fitz away and Mellie continuing to cling to him like kudzu, Fitz is basically stuck not being able to be genuine to anyone because he’s not living his live authentically.

Now ultimately that is his own doing, he’s a big boy, he can always leave and face the consequences.  However, he ain’t stupid - if Olivia is really going to be shaky about being with him, then why give up his presidency for her when she may not be with him anyway?  I know I wouldn’t, but that’s just me.  I don’t take odds like that either.

If Fitz was no longer in office, I think he would leave Mellie so fast there would be smoke were he stood and just go after Olivia with guns blazing to make her trust him and their relationship and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.  But until then, unless Olivia puts all the cards on the table and they BOTH are completely honest with each other, they both are going to continue to be walking messes of hot bacon fat.  Mellie as well because as long as she has any hope that Fitz will stay with her, even if it’s only due to lack of other options, she will be stunted as well and they all will be drooling, crying, drinking fools until the end of his presidency.

Pray for the Scandalverse USA because they are in for some hell if this goes on for 4 more years.

There was no indication of this in previous episodes. As viewers, we’ve been told repeatedly that Big Jerry was a big dirtbag. He continuously cheated on Fitz’s mother, he berated his son at any given opportunity and he had no respect for anyone. But the first time we meet Big Daddy Rapist, in season two’s “A Criminal, a Whore, an Idiot and a Liar,” he and Mellie embrace like the family they are during Fitz’s presidential bid. That Big Jerry’s that low-level kind of scum, I’m not terribly surprised. That Mellie would allow him even to touch her after that seems disingenuous. While I get that Mellie’s character needed a flushed out backstory, trotting out rape at the hands of her father-in-law was not the way to do it. It just doesn’t jibe with what we’d seen of them in the past.

What we’d seen from Mellie is a woman never comfortable in background but able to stand behind and support her husband no matter what. To use that trait in conjunction with rape in order to guilt Big Daddy Rapist into supporting his son makes a mockery of the act. Mellie didn’t even get a chance to shower afterward. But she’s able to break bread with the man the next day and guilt him into standing behind Fitz? I just don’t buy it.

Scandal Deleted Scene Commentary

Thanks to everyone who confirmed the scene between Fitz and Rowan was indeed not in the version aired Thursday!

I’m disappointed.  Again.  The deletion of this scene is a further indication that this episode seems to have had some very deliberate attempts to sway the audience.

Fitz putting everything on the line for Olivia without a moment’s hesitation would not have meshed well with Mellie literally begging Fitz to do the interview and stand up for her.

I truly am thrown by the blatant attempt here to manipulate the audience.  I understand that the purpose is to tell a story as the writer sees it, but this episode truly seems to be a very calculated attempt not to tell a story with genuine commitment to creativity and growth, but instead to very deliberately sway perceptions in one direction. 

Deleting that scene, which apparently made it far enough along in the editing process to have made it to the media screeners, says this was a very deliberate decision.

If anything, it further confirms my resolve that they used the serious issue of rape in such a careless manner because they made a very calculated decision to use this episode to try to spin the audience’s way of thinking.

They seriously were caught wrong-footed trying to pull this off, especially when respected people in the media voiced the exact same concerns and called them out on it.