‘Scandal’: Shonda Rhimes Fought To Have Olivia Pope’s Most Controversial Scene

by Jeremy Spirogis
‘Scandal’: Shonda Rhimes Fought To Have Olivia Pope’s Most Controversial Scene

Politics and popular culture have at all times been intently entwined. Often, the exhibits we watch and the tales we inform are mirrors for our actual world considerations, hopes, goals, and nightmares.

We use leisure as a method to course of probably the most troublesome elements of navigating life in society, and the fictionalized variations of real-life occasions assist us assume via these situations. Sometimes, nonetheless, tv executives draw back from probably the most controversial and polarizing subjects to be able to keep away from angering followers. 

When Shonda Rhimes, the celebrated creator of Scandal, insisted on having an abortion scene included within the sequence, she needed to combat to get it included. 

‘Scandal’ obtained rave critiques 

RELATED: ‘Scandal’: Why Do the Characters Talk So Fast?

Shonda Rhimes was already well-versed in breaking tv followers’ hearts and creating compelling melodrama with the immensely common Grey’s Anatomy. In 2012, Rhimes prolonged that gripping writing to Scandal, a tv sequence that adopted the political interior workings of good and proficient “fixer” Olivia Pope (portrayed by Kerry Washington).

The present ran for seven seasons earlier than wrapping up in 2018. Along the best way, it saved followers riveted with its twists, turns, and skill to push the envelope. 

While a whole lot of followers felt that the present began out stronger than it ended up, there’s no denying that the sequence had an unimaginable influence on leisure. For one, it boosted Kerry Washington’s fame significantly, laying the groundwork for performances just like the one she’s receiving a lot popularity of in Little Fires Everywhere.

It additionally supplied Rhimes help for extra tv exhibits which have continued to maintain followers on the sting of their seats. 

Shonda Rhimes had a imaginative and prescient for ‘Scandal’

Rhimes has a status of being a proficient and visionary creator. Creating a tv present requires negotiation with many different folks alongside the best way, nonetheless, so Rhimes typically needed to compromise on her imaginative and prescient.

There had been positively some components that had been non-negotiable to her, and he or she was keen to go to bat to maintain the important thing foundations of her present.

One of those components was in regards to the lead character, Olivia Pope. As the casting for the present unfolded, Connie Britton was a lead contender for the a part of Olivia. When an unnamed individual with ties to the tv community made the suggestion that Britton can be casting resolution, Rhimes didn’t mince phrases in responding.

“It would be, except Olivia Pope is Black,” Rhimes bluntly declared.

Since then, Washington’s iconic efficiency as Olivia Pope has been held up as a groundbreaking transfer that has helped usher in additional ladies of shade in main elements. 

Abortion was a sensitive topic in ‘Scandal’

In Season 5 of Scandal, Olivia finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Her resolution about tips on how to deal with the being pregnant performs out in an episode titled “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” wherein Planned Parenthood funds are threatened on a bigger scale. When Olivia chooses to get an abortion, a brief scene of her going via the precise medical process is included, however this was a inventive selection that got here with a lot controversy. 

In a dialogue in regards to the present, Rhimes opened up about how onerous she needed to combat to incorporate the abortion scene. When present executives advised her they had been going to make modifications to make it extra palatable to delicate audiences, Rhimes responded: “Go ahead, alter the scene. We’ll just have a lot of articles about how you altered the scene.”

She argued: “We had done an abortion on a military woman who had been raped earlier on, and we were doing nothing different than we did in that scene — they just didn’t like that it was happening to Olivia. It was a Christmas episode, and we played Christmas music.”

Ultimately, Rhimes acquired her means, and the scene stayed. Predictably, the reception was blended. Some praised the inclusion of the abortion scene as an necessary illustration and commentary on ladies’s reproductive rights. Others reacted with anger and — based on AV Club — even loss of life threats for Rhimes. 

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