‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 19 Recap: “I’m Just A Bill”

With Scott Foley’s track record on Shonda Rhimes shows, I have to wonder if he’s her new Katherine Heigl. Or is it that there’s just something so satisfying about killing off characters that seem so inherently good, despite being an assassin?

For the second time on one of Rhimes’s show, Foley — who also played Henry, a terminal patient who fell in love with his doctor, on Grey’s Anatomy — was offed by Rowan (via Olivia’s new boy-toy), to what I imagine will be the dismay of fans. It’s hard to hate a good guy, even if he isn’t so good. Jake Ballard’s death was not the right thing to do. And so, “I’m Just A Bill” spent the other subplots holding on tightly to those white hats, so much so that it came at a detriment to the episode. (Though real talk: Susan Ross insisting to critique the implementation strategy of a 1400-page bill before signing it made me feel good about the American legislative system for a second, which pretty much never happens on Scandal.) … Read More

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ABC’s ‘Cristela’ Is the Smart and Necessary Diverse Sitcom That You’re Not Watching

During the current 2014-15 television season, ABC successfully bet huge on diversity with three new sitcoms about multicultural families. Black-ish, about a well-off black family assimilating into the very white suburbs while struggling to maintain their cultural identity, and Fresh Off the Boat, about an Asian-American family trying to fit in when they move from DC to Orlando in 1995, have both received plenty of well-deserved praise and attention. The third, Cristela, about a multigenerational Mexican-American family living under one roof in Dallas, may not have received the same amount of buzz as its peers, but it’s no less deserving. In fact, while viewers were looking elsewhere, Cristela has stealthily become one of the smartest and funniest comedies on television, as well as one that deftly tackles race and gender.   … Read More

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‘Black-Ish’ Doesn’t Perpetuate Racist Stereotypes; It Expertly Demolishes Them

The headline “Shows like ‘Black-ish‘ perpetuate racist stereotypes” is so far-reaching and so desperate for controversy clicks under the pretense of being a conversation starter — it’s no surprise it comes on the heels of Deadline’s recent article about “ethnics” on television — that it almost reads as master satire. In, of course, the NY Post, Andrea Peyser puts forward the idea that ABC’s Black-ish, a sitcom about a middle-class black family and one of the many wonderful diverse shows from this season, “promotes ugly racial bigotry” but seemingly ignores the fact that Black-ish is dedicated to openly discussing and breaking down racist stereotypes, that the show promotes non-stereotypical black characters, and that the writers place racial issues at the forefront of many episodes in order to open a dialogue and introduce the larger, whiter world (the world that still makes up the vast majority of TV) to the intricacies and specifics of the black community.  … Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 18 Recap: “Honor Thy Father”

The closer a drama gets to its season finale, the more crazy is expected — and tolerated — for the sake of plot movement. Folks, Scandal was five episodes out from the finale this week — and they pulled this? I’m frankly scared to see what’s coming.

The A-plot, B-plot, C-plot, and D-plot — which you didn’t… Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 17 Recap: “Put a Ring on It”

Is this the calm before the hurricane? After last week’s kinky Lena Dunham interlude, and with just four episodes left before the Season 4 finale, it seems like a fair question to ask. Though “Put a Ring on It” began on frantic note, with Olivia dragging all the Gladiators plus Abby and Cyrus out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, it turned out to be a relatively low-stakes episode focused on developing Cy’s character. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. … Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 15 Recap: “The Testimony of Diego Muñoz”

Well, B613 had a good run. Now that Huck’s focusing on himself and David Rosen’s rocking a white hat, B613 is on the brink of being exposed. It’s the one lie that could dismantle everything in the Scandal universe, the one truth that if told, could make everything fall apart so fast. B613 is so far outside of the law, and all the characters are so entrenched, it’s hard to imagine what would happen if the truth came out. Something so extreme, it would probably require the clean-up muscle of one Olivia Pope. … Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 14 Recap: “The Lawn Chair”

Last night’s Scandal ended with the embrace of two men who know what it means to lose their sons, Nina Simone pleading that she shall be released, and tears on the keyboard.

I found myself crying not for Brandon Parker, the 18-year-old black boy whose death at the racist hands of D.C. police stood at the center of last night’s episode. I found myself crying for Michael Brown, for Trayvon Martin, for Tamir Rice. And that’s exactly what Scandal had intended in this ripped-from-the-headlines episode. I’m just not sure there was any way to tackle America’s Black Lives Matter problem in a single episode without it seeming at least a little cheap. At times “The Lawn Chair” was not enough to capture the weight of this real-life epidemic, other times too overblown in the usual Olivia Pope ways (i.e. monologues that inspire preacher-like delivery). … Read More

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ABC’s ‘American Crime’ Is an Ambitious Exploration of Race Relations

If ABC is seeking the title of best network of the 2014-15 season, then American Crime is just the show it needs to push it over the edge. Granted, ABC has already been on fire with its new programming — diverse successes How to Get Away With MurderBlack-ishCristela, and Fresh Off the Boat all more than made up for the poor Manhattan Love Story. Yes, it’s sad the network didn’t give Selfie a proper chance — but the others were all surefire hits (three are family comedies that generally work on ABC, while one has the massive power of Shonda Rhimes behind it). All that’s left for ABC to prove is that it can find success outside of its usual fare. American Crime, its entry into the prestige drama category, suggests that it can and will. … Read More

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