Has ‘Scandal’ Changed Society’s View on the White House?

Every so often a television show comes along that really makes audiences think. “Scandal” is one of those shows.

“Scandal” is a political thriller that centers on Olivia Pope, and her crisis management agency. Pope, serving as the White House Communications Director to the president, spends her time protecting the image of the political faces that grace Washington D.C., particularly that of the president and those closest to him. While the show offers thrilling mysteries, plot twists and turns, and the drama of a daytime soap opera, “Scandal” forces viewers to ask some hard questions about the political machine that is constantly at work in the United States

Reception of the Show
The first season of “Scandal” wasn’t particularly well received. The show, billed as a political thriller when it first premiered in 2012, was anything but. The first season made quick work of developing the character of Pope and those that worked closely with her. It also revealed the president, as well as his chief of staff, who remain important characters in the show. More than anything, the first season focused almost entirely on character development and relationship development between those characters. There was very little political focus, and there wasn’t much “thrilling” about the show.

The second season, however, took a big turn. Receiving sudden acclaim “Scandal” skyrocketed in ratings, and has quickly become the “it” show that everyone is talking about. The writers have decided to take a deep look at the operations of the White House and how crisis management, and public image, play heavily into what the public sees, and, perhaps more importantly, does not see. As a manager of the elite, Pope’s job is to ensure that everyone’s noses appear clean, even when they are not. For this reason, many people watch Scandal online when not originally broadcasted.

The third season, currently in a split-season run, cemented the shows place in the hearts of many viewers. Those who first wondered what the show was all about, can finally rest assured that “Scandal” is very much about the inner-working of the White House and the high stakes game of public relations for those who enter it.

Fiction Blurs with Reality
While “Scandal” is decidedly fiction, it should come as no surprise that some of the scenarios that play out on the show are directly influenced by real-life happenings in and around Washington D.C. After all, Olivia Pope is based off, in part, press aide Judy Smith, who serves as a co-executive producer of the show. The happenings on the show, very often mirror the scandals that have deeply rocked D.C for decades, from illegal activities, to scandalous trysts and affairs.

What “Scandal” manages to do better than most television shows to date, is to force the viewers to think about the inner workings of a well-oiled machine. If anything, the fiction show, allows viewers to get their brains working and seriously consider what may and may not be going on inside the White House walls during any administration. For the first time ever, viewers are getting a peek, albeit a fictional one, into the dark underbelly of the nation’s capital, and the people who work there.

Has “Scandal” Changed the Way People Look at the White House?
“Scandal” as a show is forcing people to really look deeply into what may actually go on behind closed doors, but it can be argued that “Scandal” hasn’t exactly altered the perception of the White House, or the people who work within it.

For decades there have been deep rumblings that something is amiss behind the very secure gates of the home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A television show has not done that, but rather, the scandals that did accidentally slip past the perfectly-poised, public relations experts working within the halls. What “Scandal” does manage to do is ask people to consider just how many more secrets may lay hidden inside the Oval Office, and in the cellars of the White House.

One has to wonder, if public relation experts and problem handlers didn’t exist, how many more juicy tidbits would slip past the secure gates and into the nation’s news cycle.

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