Category Archives: Racialicious Roundtables

Open Thread: Scandal S03E01; It’s Handled

Contrary to popular belief, nothing has actually be handled all that well.

by Kendra James

“You seem to do a lot for a show you say you don’t even like,” one of my friends observed as I explained how I’d bought an Olivia Pope sized wineglass and an all white lounge ensemble (which I can’t wear yet because it’s October 4th and 80 degrees in New York City) to prepare myself for Thursday’s Scandal premiere.

No lies detected there. I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m not quite sure how good Scandal is. Entertaining? Certainly. Good? Questionable in my mind.

What makes the whole sordid affair (literally, as the saga of Olitz treks on) worth a new wine glass and pajamas then? Twitter. Unlike other ABC shows that I assumed would improve with good livetweet –Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD comes to mind– my enjoyment of Scandal really does hinge on my being able to sit down with a glass of wine and the whole of Black Twitter at my fingertips. If nothing else, Scandal provides a unique sense of community that shows with even the largest fandoms could only hope to achieve.

All of that said, the online reactions to last night’s season 3 premiere did not disappoint. And, you know, the show itself wasn’t bad either.

We’ll have our Round Table up sometime next week, but until then feel free to discuss last night down below and have a few stray observations for the road:

  •  How many of us are explaining “work twice as hard to go half as far” to white friends who can’t make that math work at the water cooler this morning. Daddy Pope’s air hanger speech not but 4 minutes into the show proved that Scandal is here to go hard this season.
  • Speaking of Daddy Pope, that is one terrifying man. Terrifying, but I’m going to guess predictable. 10:1 odds that he had something to do with the later mentioned plane crash that killed Olivia’s mother. This is a soap opera after all, and so far no one’s been thrown into a coma.
  • And a final note on Olivia’s background: I was vindicated when her isolated prep school background (which I’ve been calling since S1) was finally revealed.
  • Huck’s presence was missed this week, but as it’s only the season premiere we can cut them some slack for that.
  • Mellie is that mother who will beat you right here in the aisle of this fancy grocery store with all these people watching if you don’t stop acting up right. now. She is tired, she will make a scene, and she’s smart enough to take you down while doing it. Can you imagine Mellie actually in charge of the CIA?
  • Fitz once again prattled on to his VP about “the leader he’s always wanted to be.” We’ve yet to hear what that actually means, but I’m guessing in Fitz’s brain it means “fixing racism by being a Republican with a Black girlfriend.” That’s not a platform.
  • Fitz also proved, as he tried to deal with Olivia, Sally, and Mellie throughout the night, that he sees himself as a master manipulator of women. But I’m sure that’s something we’ll touch on more in the roundtable.
  • The White Burberry Coat That Broke Twitter is listed at Neiman Marcus for the blowout price of $908, which is down from the regular $2595. The matching Prada purse is going to run upwards of $1500, depending which model you want. This reminds us that not only can you probably not afford Olivia Pope’s services, you also can’t afford to be Olivia Pope.
  • Finally, a few good Scandal reads to tide you over into next week: Why Liberals Love TV’s Fictional Conservatives, by our own Tami Winfrey Harris, Twitter, Fandom, and Why ABC’s Scandal Matters by Chicago’s WBEZ blogger Britt Julious, and Olivia Is Back! Why We Love Scandal, by friend of the blog T.F. Charlton.

 

Table For Two: Pacific Rim

By Arturo R. García & Kendra James

(L-R) Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako (Rinku Kikuchi) team up to save humanity from an extraterrestrial scourge in “Pacific Rim.”

Pacific Rim was introduced as an oddity and emerged as even more of one, but in a good way.

While the film was promoted as an homage to the Japanese Kaiju films of old (even outright integrating the term into the story), what audiences actually got was a movie that owed as much to anime classics like Neon Genesis Evangelion as it did to monster smash-’em-ups. And even more surprisingly, one that managed to use those tropes in a thoughtful, downright progressive fashion (albeit while using some wonky dialogue) without skimping on the action the trailer promised us.

Which makes it doubly disconcerting that the movie couldn’t even win its opening weekend at the U.S. box office, finishing second to, of all things, Grown Ups 2. Luckily, the movie’s doing well enough internationally that there’s already talk of a sequel.

But is it worth that kind of effort? Our intrepid reviewers suit up and tackle these questions under the cut. Heavy Spoilers from this point on.
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True Blood Table For Two: 6.1 “Who Are You, Really?”

Hosted by Joseph Lamour

billith

Image via True-Blood.Net.

So, another season Of True Blood has started! While I was writing the recap, I had an issue or two with possible plot holes and general wolf weirdness and Luna. Oh, Luna. While I haven’t changed my mind on much, I have on the actions behind how Jason reacted in the opener. Carly Mitchell joins me to discuss the episode before Sunday night.

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Table For Two: Man Of Steel

Hosted by Arturo R. García and Kendra James

Henry Cavill as Superman in “Man of Steel.” Image via filmofilia.com

It’s not that surprising that the latest Superman movie, Man of Steel, had a, well, super opening weekend. With the hopes of fans of not just this franchise but an eventual Justice League movie for DC Entertainment to assemble, the collaboration between Batman producer Christopher Nolan, writer David Goyer and director Zack Snyder had to deliver, and well.

And it did, financially. Critically? That’s another matter entirely. When outlets like Newsarama, which are usually DC-friendly, give the film a 3 out of 10, that points to how split the opinions have been on this movie.

Racialicious is no different, as our panelists came out of their respective screenings feeling differently about it. Heavy spoilers under the cut.

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Scandal Roundtable 2.22: “White Hat’s Back On”

Hosted by Joe Lamour

image via ABC.com.

Last week Arturo Garcia deftly laid out what happened during the season finale. Thanks Art! Before we break for the summer, Jordan St. John, Loree Lamour, Johnathan Fields and I talk about the things that surprised and delighted us during the last episode of Scandal Season Two.

Jordan: For a second, I just have to call out this early scene with the Knights of the Fitzian roundtable with special guest – Fitz himself. In this scene, I remain firmly Team Mellie. Can you imagine having your husband openly cheating on you and then, when having a discussion about something illegal you did for the betterment of his (and your) life, he sides with his mistress? Mellie would be well within her rights to call both of them out of their names in the room.

Loree:  Well, well. A lot of things have come to pass. I think the most disturbing is how Quinn is slowly transforming into a little Huck and how you can see Huck is not comfortable about it. Makes me wonder if “the gladiators” are all capable of inflicting that kind of physical pain to another person and even take it to the level of killing and just will plain on do anything for Olivia.

Joe: Yeah, Loree- this goes with my theory from a few weeks ago that Shonda Rhimes or the writers think that literally anyone can become a serial killer if they have a drill and some heartache. I really don’t like the continued assertion.

Jordan: I don’t know about every person being a serial killer, but Olivia Pope does not exactly surround herself with sane people. I think they make a jump here from Quinn liking to trail people to Quinn gleefully drilling into someone’s leg but everyone in Olivia Pope’s world, including Olivia, has to have a stomach for justifying WHATEVER they need to do to get it done. What I found fascinating about the David Rosen storyline wrap up is that he finally proved he belonged. He could have gotten Billy Chambers murdered in a dark room and Rosen chose not to worry about all that. No matter what his new title as District Attorney is, welcome to Pope and Associates.

Normally by now I would assume that you watched the season finale, but the twist ending was so big, I’m putting a SPOILER ALERT here as well! 

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Scandal Roundtable 2.21: “Any Questions?”

Image via ABC.com.

So Scandal last week. Like… OMG, right? So much to say, so much to spoil in this introduction if you haven’t watched last week. I ask, however: why haven’t you? Go, now. I’ll wait.

If you’re back, (or if you’ve never left,) join Kendra James, Jordan St. John, Zach Stafford, Loree Lamour, Johnathan Fields and I as we talk about last weeks game changing episode and our expectations for tonight’s finale.

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Retrolicious–Mad Men 6.7: “For Immediate Release”

Hosted by Tami Winfrey Harris and Andrea Plaid

A Judas kiss, if we've ever seen one.

A Judas kiss, if we’ve ever seen one.

It’s a minute after Dr. King’s assassination, and the Sterling Cooper Draper Price gang are back to business as usual: Don does his usual dick-swinging; Pete fails in coming for folks far more grown than he; Roger Sterling goes after a woman young enough to be his daughter. And Joan and Peggy…well, check out what Tami and I, along with Renee Martin from Womanist Musings and Fangs For The Fantasy, said about those two, complete with spoilers.

Tami: Oh, Pete…naw! He was totally creeping on Joan. I think we all realize that Don Draper is a horribly broken human being, but what is it that makes Pete feel so much more objectionable? Is it just that he is soooo bad at being the alpha? Is it that his privileged disdain for most everyone seeps through in every interaction? You can just feel him feeling he is better than you. Is it that he rarely–save the occasional monologue on racial equality–shows a shred of human decency? The bank guy compliments Joan on being an effective CFO; Pete makes it about the man “wanting” her. Ugh.

Renee: For me part of it is that Pete is a rapist.  As bankrupt as Don is, he has never raped anyone.  Like Pete, Don has had his moments of basic human decency as well.  For me it comes down to how low each individual man is willing to sink.

Andrea: Renee, Don did use sexual coercion to make an ex-lover, Bobbie, get in line. So there’s that.

As for Pete…I think his leering is more along the lines of his always angling for a moment to lord something over someone than creeping on Joan specifically. Coming for Joan was his latest lording attempt. And, as you and I have discussed before, Tami, Vincent Kartheiser possesses that physical trait that creeps you the hell out: the baby head on a man’s body. (Cf: Leonardo DiCaprio.) So, Pete looks like a 12-year-old trying to get shitty with grown-ass Joan. As always, my reaction to Pete’s attempts is, “Really?”

An object lesson of what happens when you try to come for grown folks.

An object lesson of what happens when you try to come for grown folks.

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Scandal Roundtable 2.19: “Seven Fifty-Two”

Hosted by Joseph Lamour

Image via ABC.com.

As I said in my recap last week, “Seven Fifty-Two” is all about Huck–as much as Fitz wanted to weasel his way into the story…and Olivia’s life. Of course, Olivia wasn’t having it, and neither was Mellie. Loss was the thread that wove the disparate stories last week.

After the jump. Jordan St. John, Loree Lamour, and T.F. Charlton join me to break down another engaging episode of Scandal. Continue reading