"During its seven-season run, Scandal has dramatically altered the television landscape and become a cultural phenomenon. This collection gives students the ability to examine the relationships, politics, and techniques utilized within the show."—Stef Woods, American University
"Given the popularity of Scandal, given its place in the history of television, given the ways it has ushered in paradigmatic shifts, and given the ways that it interfaces with myriad discourses and lived realities, the work is quite significant. It has great potential to advance critical conversations about television, new media, black feminism, and so much more. A must read for #Gladiators."—David Leonard, Washington State University
"An expertly curated collection of exemplary, original scholarship. . . . It presents wide-ranging themes—American politics, identity politics, respectability, liberalism, and national violence—to reveal how Scandal is more than soap-opera entertainment. Rather, the work in this volume evidences how Scandal is a touchstone for a complex engagement with issues and ideologies that grip the US."—Robin R. Means Coleman, professor of communication, Texas A&M University
"A selection of essays which examine the highly successful series, Scandal. . . .The ABC show which ran for seven series is of course notable for featuring the first black female lead on prime-time American television since the 1970s and also for the role of Shonda Rhimes, a black woman, as the showrunner. This collection is thus of particular value for scholars interested in representations of black womanhood and is highly stimulating for the sheer diversity of views it presents on Scandal’s representation of its ‘flawed’ black protagonist, Olivia Pope."—Critical Studies in Television: The International Journal of Television Studies
One of the most popular shows to come out of Shondaland, Shonda Rhimes’s production company, is ABC’s political drama Scandal (2012–18)—a series whose tremendous success and marketing savvy led LA Times critic Mary McNamara to hail it as “the show that Twitter built” and Time magazine to name its protagonist as one of the most influential fictional characters of 2013. The series portrays a fictional Washington, DC, and features a diverse group of characters, racially and otherwise, who gather around the show’s antiheroine, Olivia Pope, a powerful crisis manager who happens to have an extramarital affair with the president of the United States. For seven seasons, audiences learned a great deal about Olivia and those interwoven in her complex world of politics and drama, including her team of “gladiators in suits,” with whom she manages the crises of Washington’s political elite.
This volume, named for both Olivia’s team and the show’s fans, analyzes the communication, politics, stereotypes, and genre techniques featured in the television series while raising key questions about the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and viewing audiences. The essays range from critical looks at various members of Scandal’s ensemble, to in-depth analyses of the show’s central themes, to audience reception studies via interviews and social media analysis. Additionally, the volume contributes to research on femininity, masculinity, and representations of black womanhood on television. Ultimately, this collection offers original and timely perspectives on what was one of America’s most “scandalous” prime-time network television series.
Simone Adams works at the Center for Digital Teaching and Learning and teaches American studies at the University of Graz, Austria.
Kimberly R. Moffitt is associate professor and chair of the Language, Literacy, and Culture PhD program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Ronald L. Jackson II is professor of communication at the University of Cincinnati and past president of the National Communication Association.
Series: Television and Popular Culture
6 x 9, 440 pages