Stop Being Such a Snob

I love Downton AbbeyThe Newsroom, and Game of Thrones. They’re all shows deemed worthy of watching by my friends and family even if they don’t partake themselves. Not everyone is a fan of costume dramas, politics, or warring kingdoms, but the series are respected in their own right. If I care about public opinion, I’m on solid ground with these three.

Where I venture onto shakier terrain is mentioning that I follow Scandal, a show that follows the misadventures of a “fixer”, Olivia Pope, who happens to be having an affair with the President of the United States. It’s a soap oprea/thriller that English teachers are supposed to be above.

I happened on the show one night last spring and was hooked on the premise. My friends at school were already watching it, so I decided to give it a go. Thanks to Netflix I got caught up on all of the past episodes over the next few months while watching the new ones too. Talk about confusing.

What was also confusing was the absence of logic in the plots. Murders are frequently committed, prominent people kidnapped, Presidental elections rigged. There’s also a lot of sleeping around. Don’t these people ever govern? Don’t forensics labs ever pick up on the mismatch between DNA evidence? Doesn’t anyone ever go to jail?

Once I gave up on looking for ordinary consequences for extraordinary behavior, I enjoyed it far more. Things happen so quickly in each episode that it’s a bit of a thrill ride to watch. In fact, the show’s production company, Shondaland, includes a roller coaster in its logo.  It also frequently features Joe Morton as Olivia’s father. I could watch this guy read the phone book. And every once in a while, we get to see nuanced character development as we did at the end of this week’s episode with Jake consoling a dying James.

While The West Wing and House of Cards are where I turn when I want a true political drama fix, the former being how I hope government is run and the latter how it probably is, Scandal is just fun fodder for discussion during lunch duty.

It just occurred to me that Scandal is the equivalent of the Percy Jackson series. I’ve long regarded these books as too action-laden with very little character development. Generally, they are harmless, but I’m happy when my kids move beyond them. But if Scandal is a guilty pleasure I’m allowed to indulge in as part of a more “rigorous” body of TV shows that I follow, shouldn’t my students be afforded the same latitude as part of a healthy reading diet? It seems maybe I have learned something about real life from Scandal: stop being such a snob.

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Published in: on March 30, 2014 at 12:31 pm  Comments (5)  

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A good reminder that our students need to be able to read a variety of materials, just as we enjoy a variety of reading and viewing choices!

  2. I LOVE the Newsroom. I mean, SO MUCH. I follow them on Facebook and… well, I won’t go on. I don’t want to sound like a huge Newsroom groupie.

    That being said, I watch “Big Bang Theory” reruns just so I can laugh.

    And then I also watch one reality TV show that I can’t even fess up to with my name attached. 😉

  3. I’ve never heard of this show but you make me want to hunt it down. I love a little good “junk” in my reading and/or television lives. And yes, I think kids should be allowed, maybe even encouraged to have that same latitude!

  4. I admit that I am a Scandal follower. I’m waiting for a meeting between Olivia and her mother. That should be interesting.

  5. Love this post. I just finished reading Divergent because several of my students recommended it. Not sure why 10 year olds were reading this book, seemed a little racy to me, but I enjoyed the plot and stayed up late to finish it. That said I kept thinking, “Boy, this writing in pretty weak. The description and detail are not there.” But I still read it and enjoyed the ride. It is kind of like eating chips or pizza for dinner- not a five star meal but makes my mouth happy:0


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