Sanford’s Scandal

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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26 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    As the guy who wrote the “omnia vincit amor” post, I’d like to say that I feel silly for defending him as much as I did… and, looking back, I didn’t really defend him that much.Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    Where is the link to his facebook breakup with his fiancé and stuff about drug problems (denying that he has them?)

    I think that the big problem with American TV politics is that it likes to depict our politicians are either highly evil and corrupt (Scandal) or highly idealistic and competent (West Wing). There is nothing realistic or inbetween these two poles. British TV goes for a more ordinary level of incompetence in depicting their politicians on TV. Politicians are people and suffer from the same faults. There are probably a million people out there who over indulge in their emotions in the same way and don’t get called out on it because they are not in politics. Sometimes their careers are ruined and other times not.Report

    • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Nixon was Evil.
      You don’t want me to name who’s corrupt (except walker, who you knew already. and corbett).
      Bernie Saunders is pretty idealistic and competent. He’s also powerless.

      Does England run on Blackmail? Maybe what you consider realistic is just shining up some pigshit and trying to pretend it don’t stink.

      Warning: I just got back from vacation in Fayette County. Might be a tad out of sorts.Report

    • I think that the big problem with American TV politics is that it likes to depict our politicians are either highly evil and corrupt (Scandal) or highly idealistic and competent (West Wing).

      That’s actually not the case with Scandal. We’re supposed to be rooting for Fitz Grant, if anything. Into the last season, they did finally start showing his wife’s side of the story. But they made darn sure to set up the last election in such a way that they made it hard to root for anybody but Grant to win it. (They failed, at least when it came to me, but I suspect most viewers were happy when he won.)Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      House of Cards depicts evil (at least amoral) blended with competent.Report

    • Zac in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I do love the West Wing (more for my love of Sorkin’s ear for dialogue than anything else), but for my money the best “political” shows out there are Veep and its predecessor, The Thick of It (supplemented by the movie In the Loop). It’s still TV, but I think Armando Ianucci’s vision of politics is a lot closer to the truth than anything else out there.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Zac says:


        I consider In the Thick of It and In the Loop to be British and Ianucci himself is a Brit so he brings that ethos to VEEP. If you give me an American producing something like “Yes Minister”, I will agree with your assessment.Report

  3. Vikram Bath says:

    It weaves together drama and politics, so it’s right up my alley in that respect

    That reminds me of my experience watching the American version of Nikita. I’m a sucker for TV shows where a female protagonist beats up the bad guys, and Nikita seemed to be plumbing the depths of just how bad a show such a show would have to be for me to finally get fed up and stop watching.

    It ended up being one season.Report

    • Did you watch Alias? If so, what did you think of it?Report

      • I watched liked Alias for the first two seasons. Season 3 and the first half of 4 had so much repetition of “here’s the artifact to retrieve this week” that I eventually had to give up. It was a show pretending not to be a procedural but had actually become a procedural. My understanding is that other fans have similar opinions of the seasons.

        I did read some plot summaries and watched the series finale online but couldn’t really enjoy it because I felt like I had been force-fed too many contentless episodes..Report

    • KatherineMW in reply to Vikram Bath says:

      Have you seen Fringe? Agent Olivia Dunham is pretty great.Report

      • I started watching it since I knew it was a popular show here. I got through the first two episodes and thought “this is way too bad to tolerate”. I think Glyph (or Mike?) recommended I skip to season 2, and I enjoyed the whole season.

        I am sitting here at the end of Season 2 though and wondering why no one seems to understand that Walter is an awful human being.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    The real problems with American TV shows of all sorts is its business model. Because American TV has always been much more commercial than other TV systems, its business model has always been find a popular show and milk for all its worth even in spite of a decline in quality. This model continues to the present even though its slowly changing. There are other restraints that effect the quality of American television but thats the biggest one.Report

  5. Would it be self-aggrandizing for me to link to my Daily Beast article about “Scandal”? Probably.

    That show is so, so stupid. So deeply, impossibly stupid. (I gather it started out much better, but I only started watching in later seasons due to the fandom of a certain husband of mine.) Rather than get into a swivet about all of its flaws, I will merely agree with you about its POTUS character. First of all, he’s a pathetic and spineless shit who spends all his time moaning and drinking over woman problems. (Whatever one might say about “The West Wing,” Jed Bartlet would eat that idiot for breakfast.) And unless I missed it, the program has yet to have him do anything that remotely resembles running the country.

    A while ago Tod wrote something about Gary Hart and his unfitness for the highest office in the land. I feel that way about Sanford for similar reasons. If you lack the 1) Intelligence 2) Decency 3) Discretion to keep shenanigans of this sort minimal and/or quiet, you’re too dumb, indecent and loud-mouthed to run the country. And breaking up with your fiancee/mistress via Facebook? Utterly ludicrous.Report

  6. KatherineMW says:

    One of the great things, about it, though, is how much it helps me appreciate the political leaders we have. Obama, Romney, McCain? I would vote for any one of them over any of the candidates in Scandalverse’s last election. The guy I would have voted for, Governor Samuel Reston (D-Md), was guilty of killing a man and letting his wife go to prison for it… and yet he was still preferable to President Fitz Grant (R-CA) and Vice President Sally Langston (R/I-GA).

    I don’t think this is a great thing about a show on politics.

    When you look back through history, most eras have some people writing utopias, imaginations of what a better world would look like that can inspire us to improve the world we live in. These were especially prevalent around the end of the 19th century, but Star Trek (at least the original series and The Next Generation) provide a more recent example. Inspiration and positive imagination is beneficial – it helps us believe that our world could actually be better, and think of ways to make it happen.

    Dystopias can also be useful as critiques of present-day society, or as warnings against dangerous direction we’re moving in. But the sheer prevalence of works taking place in dystopic or highly unpleasant/depressing settings right now – young adult fiction like The Hunger Games, shows like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead – or Scandal – don’t feel like critiques so much as cynicism. But they make the real world look so much better in comparison.

    And that doesn’t inspire change. It inspires apathy. An attitude of “well, things could be worse” and “people just suck, what are you going to do about it” is inimical to either taking existing problems seriously or seeking substantial improvement.Report

    • Kim in reply to KatherineMW says:

      TNG was bloody boring to write for, though. No conflict between main cast members allowed!
      Where’s the fun in that?

      I totally, totally disagree, by the way. One can write a really, really dark world — and show the heroes in it. Noir does a great job of that… so does Game of Thrones.

      The only truly dark setting I’ve come across is the old World of Darkness setting, where the theme was “everything decays, everything gets worse, and everyone’s broken.” Blech.Report