Olivia Pope Is Not The Archetype For Real Love (Or, Love Is Not Tragedy)

scandalI began watching ABC’s Scandal during Memorial Day weekend 2012. My sister mentioned the show before and I was spending the first official holiday of summer alone in my Texas apartment. I came home from work that Friday and clicked to the On Demand section of my television. Within moments, I was hooked.

I binged on the entire first season within 48 hours and have not missed an episode since. 

For those who have watched the show, you know what’s up. For those who haven’t, suffice it to say Olivia Pope, the show’s protagonist, is an overall boss who is involved in a more-than-messy affair with Fitz (who also happens to be the POTUS). Other than that, just watch the damn show. You’ll be hooked.

 In between going on endless Twitter rants about Columbus Short each time he appears on camera, the other night I tweeted about how I’m finally over the Olivia/Fitz bullshit. I’ve seen enough of her quivering lip. I’ve witnessed enough pushed-up-against-the-wall sex. I’ve listened to enough lachrymose monologues. None of the aforementioned accessories can patch up the calamity that is their relationship. I’m ready for a new plot, Shonda. Please and thank you.

The racy plot line has come under a lot of fire with headlines such as “Are Black Women Who Love Scandal Hypocrites?” surfacing on media outlets. I could write more about that topic but that would just bore me into oblivion. Instead, I’ve started to think about how these reckless tug of war love stories (think Carrie and Big) have infiltrated pop culture. And, then, I started to pray a teeny tiny prayer that people do not think this is what real love is.

I’m probably not the authority on real love. I am a self-proclaimed culprit of the never-been-in-love before-a-la-Talib-Kweli syndrome. Nonetheless, I have enough faith in humanity, even the duds like me who schedule their entire Thursday night around a television drama, to believe that most people don’t believe this crap…right?

What makes for good TV doesn’t typically make for a good real life. But, I worry that some of my favorite television heroines–Carrie,  Hannah, and Olivia, have convinced us that love is the equivalent of being dragged through mud laced in daggers. Then, you’ll occasionally get picked up out of the mud, dried off with a warm towel, boned in positions that defy the dexterity of the human anatomy, and then dropped back down in the mud. And, maybe some not-so-TV ladies have convinced us of the exact same thing. Cue Diamonds. Too soon?

I do not believe love is supposed to be ugly. Maybe difficult, but not ugly. I do not believe love is supposed to make you feel like a seeping sop of shit with intervals of beauty. I do not believe love is supposed to be stronger or better or more justified simply because you put each other through hell and came out covered in third degree burns but alive to tell the story. That does not sound like love. That sounds like tragedy.

I want love that is calm. Soothing. Peaceful. I want love that is Sunday mornings in bed reading our favorite books. I want love that is Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation and Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite. Love that runs through my veins and just feels so damn good. Love that feels less like a roller coaster and more like a road trip. Long and unpredictable but always on the same terrain. Always on solid ground. I want love that is less up-against-the-wall and more endless foreplay, two bodies grazing for a lifetime. I want love that is love and not tragedy.





3 Replies to “Olivia Pope Is Not The Archetype For Real Love (Or, Love Is Not Tragedy)”

  1. Good blog!! Love can be beautiful as long as you choose the right person to love! I believe we fall in love with the characters because of the lust they have for each other. We are hook onto the story of having someone we can’t have.

  2. At times I can’t help but add all the VH1 and Bravo reality shows into the bad relationship examples as well. I mean how can Kenya think Walter wanted anything serious with her? On the other hand when we do find ourselves in perfectly normal (at times boring) relationships we are quick to start to wonder if something is wrong. What are we supposed to do if he’s not cheating or treating me bad? *Please see Tyece’s final paragraph in this entry for further directions.

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