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Hercules Is Scandalized By
ABC’s Latest Awful Shonda
Rhimes Hourlong SCANDAL!!

Published at: April 5, 2012, 5:56 a.m. CST

I am – Hercules!!

The latest ABC hourlong from writer-producer Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Off The Map” and the 2002 Britney Spears vehicle “Crossroads”), “Scandal” follows Olivia Pope, a a former White House communications director whose D.C. firm manages crisis. It stars the gorgeous Kerry Washington (“For Colored Girls,” “The Details,” “A Thousand Words”) as well as Tony Goldwyn (“Ghost”), Henry Ian Cusack (“Lost”), Joshua Malina (“The West Wing”), Darby Stanchfield (“NCIS”), Bellamy Young (“Dirty Sexy Money”), Guillermo Diaz (“Weeds”) and Katie Lowes (“Super 8”).

The pilot features two storylines, both profoundly dopey. One involves a White House intern who may or may not have had an affair with the U.S. President and refuses to resign her position. The other involves a decorated soldier and Republican political hopeful who may or may not have killed his girlfriend.

Pope keeps telling people over and over again she got to be the best in her field because her “gut is never wrong.” But her gut is proven wrong IN THE VERY FIRST EPISODE. Her “gut,” in fact, nearly gets somebody killed (a somebody who in no way deserves to be killed), and five minutes later she’s bragging to a co-worker about how awesome her gut is. Yikes!

“Scandal” feels like a Shonda Rhimes show. It’s full of long, earnest, cliché-riddled speeches and soapy sexual shenanigans and fourth-rate banter. The acting is uneven. (Diaz does the best he can; Malina is wasted.) If you like Shonda Rhimes shows you may like this one. I assure you it is not for me.

HitFix says:

... formula doesn't always work (insert memories of your least favorite "Grey's" story arc here), but when it does, Rhimes is as successful at tugging for the heartstrings as anyone in the business. And because of her and Washington, I'll give "Scandal" some time …

The New York Times says:

... This is “The West Wing” as seen by Ms. Rhimes, not Aaron Sorkin. Instead of witty banter and wonky politics this drama offers meaningful monologues and lots of sex and romance. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... The baby in the box tells you all you need to know about "Scandal" — realism will bend to the reveal every single time. … Everything in "Scandal" is perfect; the trench coat, the offices, the politically correct subplots, the baby in a box — and perfect quickly stops resonating with those of us who are not. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

… There's a lot of Rhimes' "Grey's Anatomy" formula at work here, and that's not a bad thing. To enjoy the show, though, you really have to suspend disbelief at many points, just as you do with "Grey's." There are moments when the frenetic drive for cleverness prompts some rather silly decisions about plot points. …

The Washington Post says:

... deliciously dumb … stylish, hammy, sexy, dirty, devilish, laughably bad TV …

The Boston Herald says:

... the best new show of spring. …

USA Today says:

... The central character — Olivia Pope, a crisis management specialist treated here as Savior of the Western World — is as grating and ridiculous a creation as ever dragged down a TV show. Then add in a charm-free, strident star turn by Kerry Washington, who plugs into every self-important bit of congratulatory excess the other characters feed Olivia when she should be deflating or deflecting them. … There's another factor: The dialogue, from Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, amplifies past the point of tolerance everything people love and loathe about Grey's chatter, from jokey repetition ("I am the law, the law is me") to grandiose verbosity: "I'm a gladiator in a suit. That's what you are when you work for Olivia. You're a gladiator in a suit. Do you want to be a gladiator in a suit?" You feel compelled to shout "no." …

Variety says:

… While Shonda Rhimes' dramas seldom traffic in understatement, the "Grey's Anatomy" creator has traded a scalpel for a meat cleaver in "Scandal," which with its Washington, D.C. setting, exaggerated situations and overblown politics, feels like "'The West Wing' for Dummies." As usual, Rhimes' workplace characters talk very fast, but the manic visual style can't obscure a series flawed on most every level: The plot twists are predictable, when not ridiculous; the moralizing is heavy-handed; and star Kerry Washington -- while beautiful -- suffers from a serious gravitas deficit, in a show that too frequently lurches toward camp. …

10 p.m. Thursday. ABC.

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Readers Talkback

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  • April 5, 2012, 6:26 a.m. CST

    poor Des

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

  • April 5, 2012, 6:38 a.m. CST

    Uh... Critics seem to be loving it.

    by Dharma4

    -Namaste-

  • April 5, 2012, 6:38 a.m. CST

    Desmond!!

    by rakesh patel

    dammit, hopoing he could have been put in a good show, know how good he was in lost. Maybe he'll get another show in another life brother.

  • April 5, 2012, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Not this show, brother

    by AshokForgiven

    Shame, I was hoping this would be good.

  • April 5, 2012, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Hercules, you're a racist/sexist beanpole.

    by Stalkeye

    Joking of course. But i bet it's a matter of time before someone actually accuse you of such for lambasting a Show in which the protagonist happens to be an African American Woman. I don't care for Grey's Anatomy either ergo Scandal's success or failure means shit to me.

  • April 5, 2012, 7:46 a.m. CST

    My gut is never wrong either.

    by Rob0729

    And my gut is telling me this show is going to suck balls and fail miserably. And unlike the main character in this show, my gut won't be proven wrong in the first episode.

  • She keeps on putting out this crappy estrogen drenched shows and every boyfriend and husband have to suffer through them. Grey's Anatomy was bearable for a while, but every other one show has been crap from day one.

  • April 5, 2012, 8:45 a.m. CST

    And we pushed the button together for a while, and that was lovely

    by Uncle Pooky

    Motherfuck do I miss LOST sometimes.

  • April 5, 2012, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Herc angry?

    by BlueLando

    This is hilarious. He sounds like a toddler having a tantrum. I'd say it probably has something to do with the fact that ABC put Greys Anatomy above Lost in terms of priority and marketing. Also, budget. Hence the awful CGI in Lost S6.

  • April 5, 2012, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Shonda Rhimes is the enemy to anyone with a brain

    by m_prevette

    Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice are stunningly bad TV. The wild swings between "wacky, whimsical" and "sober serious drama" are laughable. My girlfriend watches these each Thursday and all I can do is shake my head at how hackneyed they are. The ridiculous narration in Grey's and the pretentious therapy sessions of Private Practice are prime examples of how to NOT write drama. Not to mention the tremendously annoying needle dropping of awful songs at every opportunity. Just pathetic and embarrassing stuff, really. It isn't that these shows are for WOMEN and I don't get them, they're for people with little to no taste. Oops, sorry honey !

  • April 5, 2012, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Desmond gotta eat.

    by the new transported man

    NOT PENNY'S BOAT

  • April 5, 2012, 10:15 a.m. CST

    why are there so many girly shows popping up everywhere?

    by chien_sale

    How about ONE show about Men on these fucking networks!

  • April 5, 2012, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Next week, a fiery democrat tweets his "package" to Girl Scouts.

    by cookylamoo

  • April 5, 2012, 11:04 a.m. CST

    another reason not to return to watching network tv

    by gun_will_travel

    as if I needed yet another reason

  • April 5, 2012, 11:23 a.m. CST

    ABC tends to come up with interesting premises and terrible executions.

    by Royston Lodge

    This looked like a really interesting idea for a show, if only it was in the hands of a decent showrunner. I'd love to see someone like Armando Ianucci run a show like this. They made the same mistake with Defying Gravity. Interesting premise. Terrible execution. If you're gonna make a generic prime-time drama, stick to a generic premise. It's no good RUINING an interesting premise by developing it into a generic prime-time drama.

  • April 5, 2012, 12:27 p.m. CST

    I loathe Shonda Rhimes, but love Kerry Washington! What to do?

    by Wcwlkr

    Kerry Washington has replaced Halle Berry on my Ebony queen list! So I might watch 1 episode because she's worth it, but I can't commit beyond that. I loathe Shonda Rhimes too much.

  • April 5, 2012, 12:29 p.m. CST

    And it can't be worse than HawthoRNe!

    by Wcwlkr

    I'm glad to see an African American woman get to headline another show. Especially since HBO dropped the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency. WHY!? it was so good, but it can't be worse than Hawthorne, another show I tried to give a chance due to the black female lead. But ugh I just hate Shonda Rhimes.

  • April 5, 2012, 12:37 p.m. CST

    I will give this show one chance

    by dukeroberts

    If only because I want to suck on Kerry Washington's lips. She is so purty.

  • April 5, 2012, 4:17 p.m. CST

    I have a feeling in my vagina...and it's never wrong.

    by cookylamoo

  • April 5, 2012, 4:18 p.m. CST

    damn "Scarface" from Half Baked got fat

    by yourSTEPDADDY

  • April 5, 2012, 5:45 p.m. CST

    This time it's personal

    by matineer

    More diatribe here than review. And I have/had no interest whatsoever in this show.

  • April 5, 2012, 5:54 p.m. CST

    I usually enjoy watching Kerry Washington.......

    by Keith Small

    ...but this looks awful. And for cookylamoo...."Next week, a self-rightgeous republican taps feet in a bathroom stall."

  • April 6, 2012, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Shonda Rhimes is a talentless hack

    by Yeti

    That is all.

  • April 6, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST

    At least Desmond will on Fringe soon

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    "We're trapped in a bloody snow-globe, brotha!"

  • April 6, 2012, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Hercules missed the point about her "gut"

    by jim

    It's not that her instincts were wrong about the President, but rather she ignored them; she wanted to believe he was telling the truth. I'm guessing Hercules had all but checked out by that point so missed her saying that. Her "gut" comment to Desmond later in the coat room was posturing. She pretends to be cool and in control but, as we saw, she actually doesn't have it all together.

  • April 6, 2012, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Network TV is for women.

    by kabong

    Check your chromosomes.

  • April 9, 2012, 12:32 a.m. CST

    Grey's Anatomy

    by severianx1

    I hope everyone who hates Grey's Anatomy has seen the "Changing Channels" episode of Supernatural. They absolutely skewer it, and they do a pretty good job on CSI Miami too.