- “But as the show’s become a much more serialized drama, and the problems have moved out of Olivia’s office, she’s become less interesting, even less necessary, to the show that was ostensibly built around her."-Alyssa Rosenberg for ThinkProgress, Feb 19/2013 (x)
- "EN: Alyssa, I feel at this point you should just step forward and just state (unintelligible)..that you view the show as a show about Mellie.
AR: Yeah, I kind of do. And I actually think that…
EN: (laughs) You looove Mellie.
AR: I love Mellie.
EN: I completely understand that. She is amazing. Great performance.” - Emily Nussbaum(New Yorker) and Alyssa Rosenberg (ThinkProgress) in a discussion about Scandal for Rosenberg’s Critic Proof podcast. Feb 20/2013 (x)
- “I wish this show was about Mellie. The Ryan who watched Season One is confused by this tweet. #Scandal”- Ryan McGee via twitter on Nov 14/2013. Writer for the AVClub.
- “But as the series has progressed, and as Thursday’s (Nov. 14) episode made abundantly clear, Mellie has morphed into the tragic center of the hit ABC show; a woman who, if you’re not rooting for yet, you ought to be.”- Billy Nilles for Zap2it in an article titled “‘Scandal” recap: ‘Everything’ Coming Up Mellie’ reveals the true hero of this series (x) Nov 15/2013.
- “Olivia’s still our main character, however.”-Same Billy Niles article for Zap2it, this quote was placed under the subsection titled “Spare Parts”
- "“Scandal” was Kerry Washington’s show. Until last Thursday night, when supporting player Bellamy Young, who plays First Lady Mellie Grant, hijacked the series away from her…In a stunning flashback that won Mellie the kind of sympathy Olivia Pope — Washington’s hard-charging man eater — will never attain…" -Robert Rorke for the New York Post, Nov 17/2013 (x)
- "Olivia who?!…Team Mellie all the way."- Kristin Dos Santos for EOnline, Dec 12/2013(x)
- “The other problem with the show as it stands right now—halfway through its third season—is that it’s carrying around way, way too much character dead-weight. I would honestly be happy if Quinn, Huck, Charlie, Fitz, and even Olivia were taken out of the action for a few weeks...Let Fitz and Olivia disappear to their house in Vermont for a boinkfest or something. No one will miss them…the writers should have put the wheels for that in motion in season two, but instead, they got distracted by Olivia’s parents." - Sonia Saraiya for AV Club, Dec 13/2013(x)
- "Forget Olivia Pope, we’d happily be one of Mellie’s gladiators." - TVGuide, Dec 19/2013 (x)
Oy. I did my kvetching over this last week, I think. I’ll reblog because it’s important. The reaction to Mellie reminds me of the reaction to Sarah Palin after Clinton lost the Democratic primary in 2008. Obama and his wife had to be constantly reintroducing themselves to America. His mom white, his dad black. Michelle is a real american, never mind her angry eyebrows (she had to get them reshaped because they made her look took too angry). Palin comes out at the Republican election, says one word and it’s all, “It’s like we’ve always known her” (Chris Matthews from liberal MSNBC), Olivia is the Obamas all over again. Never mind that we’ve seen her cry, we’ve seen her parents and are getting reasons for her behaviour, and what she does. Nope, the white critic and media writers only see Mellie. They are ‘colourblind’ in that they are blind to their own colour but white, and to any other hurts but their own (aka whatever Mellie is).
Entertainment Weekly wasn’t so bad at first (they liked Washington, and the show itself and always praised Olivia) now it’s all Mellie. This is what gentrification feels like. Black twitter gave it the buzz, Kerry Washington did the push, and now, it’s too good for a black lead, let’s go white.
This is why I just didn’t want to see or hear anything about Bellamy Young for a while. Yes, she’s talented, and pretty, but the world already knows that, can we give Kerry Washington her due, too? Too much for some.
But haven’t we given Kerry her due? All this past year it was about Kerry Washington and Scandal and how Kerry is amazing and owns Scandal (Which is something that WE ALL KNOW) but when Bellamy gets what a month of attention and now everything has to do with race and how it’s all about white people which makes no sense because if it’s all about Kerry what is there to talk about Bellamy and how she’s so-called trying to steal the show!
'We' as in the fandom at large, or 'we' as in the media (are you a member of the media?). I'm pretty cynical when it comes to media coverage of Scandal, because a lot of critics have been pushing Mellie's character since the first six episodes of the 2nd season. Even in what people would consider Olivia's 'halcyon' days as a character, Rosenberg from The New Yorker was on the “I want more Mellie” chorus from early in the second season. When Homeland was on a high and Danes a critical darling, Scandal was left alone. When Homeland started to stumble in the doldrums, all of a sudden you had all these white critics watching Scandal (early in Scandal's S03), going hard for Mellie, because Homeland got too bad for them to watch and cheer. So they've singled out Mellie over the humanity of everyone else on the show.
For instance, Eli Pope’s character has had two key showings which are instrumental to the viewer especially when it comes to matters of race, and how Eli himself sees the world, and has trained Olivia to see the world “Work twice to get half of what they have”. For the latter one in the season finale, when he spoke to Fitz (the door marked exit speech) a lot of black blogs (awesomely luvvie, the root, et al) picked up on the optics, the resonance of Eli’s speech, the subversive use of the word ‘boy’. Did the white critics even engage with that scene? Nope, the white critics- the gate keepers of culture, the unspoken watchers and judges of what’s good to keep, and what’s good to throw away, decided to throw that ‘teachable moment’ away. Did they talk about Eli? Nope, they still talk about Mellie’s character turn from two episodes ago - for a winter finale!
I’m pretty cynical when it comes to white critics and their ‘colourblindness’. Washington Post dismisses Olivia as a ‘man eater’, Vulture reduces Olivia to a clotheshorse while waxing poetic about Mellie’s Lady Macbeth. Another magazine wants to be Mellie’s gladiators. Never mind that it’s Olivia who has the firm, with her gladiators, and for all purposes, Mellie ain’t got no job. She, like Fitz are living off the gov’ment cheese. Not section 8, but still government.
Couldn’t the writers say something along the lines of, “We want to be Mellie’s hand maiden, or press secretary?” Nope, they trying to be slick.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Mellie as a character. I’ve always done, but if people are so thirsty to watch a show with a white female of a ‘certain age’ as lead, there’s The Good Wife, and Homeland. Or even American Horror Story. Or Grey’s Anatomy. After 2008 and the treatment of the Obamas (in terms of them having to reintroduce themselves, and having to reframe their humanity at every stop, every turn), you realise that the powers that be can’t help themselves. The white gaze of the media is relentless. It can’t rest until it falls on a white person, it can’t sympathise or be moved unless the source is a white person. .