Gladiators rally every week on Twitter to dissect and live tweet opinions, quotes and shock for ABC’s Scandal. If you don’t watch it, the basic premise is Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), a Washington Power Player who’s clients messes (from murder to terrorism) she spins into a positive light, is having an affair with the President of the United States, aka Fitz (Tony Goldwyn). Olivia met Fitz on the campaign trail, hired by his Chief of Staff, Cyrus, to help him win the presidential election.
Fitz’s wife, Mellie, is fully aware of the affair. She wanted Fitz to give up Olivia or she would go on national TV and tell everyone the image of them as a happy family, even with a newborn baby, was a sham. When Fitz didn’t cower because he had a fantasy of confessing the affair, getting a divorce and moving Olivia into The White House, Mellie carried out her threat. This season kicked off with Olivia’s name being leaked to the press as the one having the affair. However, Mellie & Cyrus found a scape goat on staff, who, after a small amount of convincing, went along with the whole thing.
Last week Olivia was almost blown up by one of her clients, along with a senator, who strapped a bomb to her chest. In the end (SPOILER), Olivia was fine, but traumatized and Mellie was celebrating her survival. Fitz was confused why Mellie would do that. Mellie, drunk on ‘hooch’ pointed out that Olivia is his weak spot, one she can use over and over as a weapon as long as Olivia is alive. If Olivia had died, there would be no way for Mellie to compete with her memory. Powerful speech. It got me to thinking and talking with a lot of friends whether it is better to be the lover, like Olivia, or the wife, like Mellie.
PASSION: Despite Mellie knowing that she no longer has Fitz’s heart, she wants him to want her. While drunk she asks if he’ll screw her right on the dining room table. Mellie is tough, she is ruthless or as Cyrus said “evil” to which she responded “You’re welcome.” At the end of the day, she still wants to be loved and held or given some kind of rough sex war in the sheets so she can feel like a woman.
Olivia felt Fitz’s wrath when he first, froze her out, ending their affair after he realized Olivia was part of rigging his presidential election. Then he pulled her into an electrical outlet closet in The White House having a bit of rough sex with her last season. It was hot, it was degrading, it was over for him. There is a razor thin line between love and hate when that amount of passion is involved. Liv has had other relationships. First she almost married, for the second time, a senator, and secondly, she dated Jake, (Noel always gets the girl by default, disguarded by her true love am I right here Felicity fans!?) only to find out he is part of a black ops organization run by Liv’s own father.
WINNER: Olivia. The mistress is always going to win out on passion. Her ardor is run down by having to attend press ops, change baby nappies, do his laundry, put down the toilet seat or attend those tedious, and often, tension-filled family barbeques.
FACE TIME:This one is not a slam dunk. Though Mellie lives in the same place as Fitz, she has to manipulate staff members to find out Fitz’s schedule, who he is meeting and turn it into her advantage. When the tough decisions are made, like how to handle the exposure of the affair, she is called into the private bunker with Fitz & Olivia to give her approval of the details- how many times did they sleep together, when, how she forgives him, etc. Mellie’s QT with Fitz is often forced, obtained through subterfuge and full of rage. Cyrus informed Mellie & Fitz, they would be going to Camp David together in order to put on a show for America, of forgiveness. They were both incredibly belligerent, but escaped such a circus of affection when Olivia’s client showed up with a bomb on Capitol Hill. Oh hurrah, saved by the bomb.
Olivia is never sure when she is actually going to see Fitz. She no longer works in the White House. It isn’t as easy for her to roam the halls, especially if she is out of favor with Fitz, Mellie or Cyrus. Many of their conversations take place over a cellphone carried by one of Fitz’s Secret Serviceman.
WINNER: Mellie. Wifey is going to win on this one in general, but the quality of that face time, and the happiness is somewhat of a fantasy. Maybe it’s better a man marries a woman better for his career. According to Facebook executive, Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’, women should be just as strategic when picking their life partner. Sandberg started her career in Washington and is now married to her second husband, Dave Goldberg. Full disclosure Dave was my bosses’ boss when I worked at Yahoo! and I have big affection for both of them. I think Sheryl is right though, if you are a power couple. We can’t always chose who we fall in love with, but we do chose who we date, we can chose who we target right? Is that any different than a political marriage? How about a royal marriage made to keep two countries as allies? Or Prince Charles & Lady Diana, who clearly didn’t love each other, but it was seen as an advantageous marriage for both. Haven’t their offspring revived most people’s love for the future of the monarchy? You can’t tell me you don’t admire Kate Middleton on some level.
Mellie, as First Lady, is stuck in frump-a-licious, conservative, garb with some old school 80’s hair that sometimes calls to mind “The higher the hair, the closer to God.” Oh yeah, Mellie is a mom of three, she dresses well, but it’s a bit dated and rarely sexy.
Olivia Pope is the new Jackie Kennedy. Her fabulous coats and high-end power suits with silk shirts is being emulated by American women all over the country. The white Burberry coat, Olivia wore on the premiere, retails at just under $2600 and is sold out everywhere.
WINNER: Olivia. And of course, the costume designed on Scandal, Lyn Paolo. A mistress doesn’t have to look slutty, she looks sexy and classy. She may be have to wear a suit, but she is able to pick out one with more sex appeal dealing in the private sector of power players instead of constantly in front of the press or the PTA, playing a role that doesn’t welcome such hotness, FLOTUS, being an exception to this in real life. Of course, love the fashion of FLOTUS, however I don’t necessarily find her sexy, just modern and classy. Olivia is sexy on a stick.
CAREER:Mellie has kids, gets the public recognition, but her power plays are done behind closed doors and usually unrecognized. For the public, she has her charity work, but her attempts for more, like going out on the White House lawn or revealing Fitz has been having an affair, have made her look weak and quite frankly, like a desperate housewife. She’s a figurehead with questionable likeability.
When Olivia‘s father was trying to get her out of Washington to avoid her name being dragged through the mud at the exposure of her affair with Fitz, he told he was disappointed in her. He taught her to always be the best and aiming for being First Lady? Liv, how could you be so mediocre? OUCH! Olivia stood up to Papa after a quick chat with Cyrus, and said she would fix it. She is, after all a fixer. That’s what she does for her clients and she could just as easily do it for herself.
WINNER: Olivia. Smart, sexy and sought after, her intelligence has never been in question.
Now, to the roles in general of cuckold vs. mistress.
PROS AND CONS:
Cuckold, maybe he loves her on some level. There is a fondness, duty and certainly his own ego is flattered by the image he presents to the world by putting a ring on that finger. The wife gets the house, the kids and the bank account. Perhaps, two can play at that game. I’m waiting for Mellie to have an affair of her own on Scandal. Cons, she knows her husband has broken vows, she isn’t enough, endless lies and what they had once, is forever changed (and this list could go on but it’s a blog, not a book).
The Mistress may not have the ring, but she gets the passion, free time, the choice to date other men and an element of danger that is kind of hot. The mistress also holds the power, despite what the man thinks, however careful he might have been to separate ‘church and state’, it has never been easier than this technological age to connect digitally, despite any distance. There has to be a trust in that relationship, that no matter what, the mistress will not poison the well. Unfortunately, she probably gets cancelled on a lot, he can’t always take her call, and he may end the affair at any moment because he is scared of getting caught and shove her out the door abruptly, hardly flattering.
Who’s the winner? When it comes to Scandal it’s Olivia and the audience, but in real life, who am I to judge? You have to do what makes you happy.