Scandal: Analysis

The most difficult part about analyzing any TV show is that every individual’s interpretations are not the same. When a TV show can manage to connect to a wide variety of audiences is when a show becomes successful. When an audience can relate to a show this will give them a sense of belonging and make then want to keep watching. Scandal has become a huge success to the ABC network throughout its seasons. They have perfected this, they have such a diverse target audience that it would be almost impossible for any individual to not connect with this show.

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Scandal is one of the first shows to have an African American female lead role. This was a key component to the success of the show and is not as recognized as it should be. Scandal according to Nielsen is the highest rated scripted drama among African Americans, bringing in about 1.8 million viewers out of its total 8.4 million viewers. Many shows that target an African American demographic are to represent inequality and discrimination. For scandal they took it to the next step and this is what caught many peoples eye. Throughout the show race is never talked about or a factor in any way. They focused to show less about how African American women and other women are represented and more on who they are as people, which is how any show should be. The way Olivia Pope is represented is an inspiration and idol to any race but especially to the African American demographic

Scandals target age demographic is 18 to 49 years old and this is another key component of how they involve their audience. Many of the cases that are involved in the episodes are based off of real life representations. A lot of these real life ‘scandals’ that are portrayed in the show are stories that most individuals in this age demographic can relate to. Most of the cases that have been included in the show are ones that have had a large impact to our society and are now considered history to us. Individuals that have seen the real life scandals really happen can make that connection between real life and the show, thus giving them a sense of meaning. To me this is one of the most interesting parts of the show. When I began watching this show I had no idea that there was so much real life representation. In the back of my head I kept making connections to real life events and thinking to myself ‘Wow something like this happened a few years ago’. As I continued watching I realized that the cases that they chose to include in the show were not random. They were based off of real life stories and crises that us as a country have faced in the past decades. Making this connection early into the show got me really intrigued. I wanted to keep watching so I could see what other parts of our history were tied into the show that I could relate to. This is why making connection to the audience is so crustal because it gives the show a sense of importance and pleasure.

Another aspect of the show is the idea of the corruption of the government. Throughout watching this show I always asked myself this one question ‘Does this kind of stuff really happen in our government?’ I think this is a question that many people have while watching this show. Even though many or these cases that are shown in Scandal are backed up with real life evidence, there are a lot of other cases and crisis that make us question our government. One example of this is when Olivia took on a case in season 2 where she helped the guy that came forth about how the NSA was spying on US citizens. This was one of the stories that was backed up with real life evidence since this same exact case happened a few years ago. But what about the cases that are shown without real life evidence, does that mean things like that really don’t happen or that we just don’t know about it because the government doesn’t want us to know. Scandal has you asking yourself questions left and right and even though there might not be an answer the audience finds it interesting and will keep watching.

The drama aspect of Scandal is a topic that everyone can relate to. Even if government corruption doesn’t appeal to you or if you don’t find the real life representations interesting, everyone can relate to relationships. We all have relationships in our lives weather they are between a family, friend or lovers. Many of us go through difficult times in our lives between these different relationships and Scandal does an excellent job at representing common difficulties that people face. They touch points on affairs, family’s issues, love triangles, backstabbing, jealousy and many more. This gives people a sense of connection because they can relate their problems to the show and maybe even help them overcome issues that are present in their lives.



The way Scandal sets up their episodes and seasons is also very attention grabbing. They will start each episode introducing a new case and at the end of the episode they will resolve the case, giving people a sense of closure. If Scandal focused their plot on simply just opening with a case and resolving it at the end then people would not stay as involved. Scandal recognized this and created many underling plots that continue not through an individual episode but through the seasons and even series. They do this so that you have to stay tuned and up to date with the show in order to understand what is going on. One relationship that I find interesting that they include in almost every episode is the love affaire between Olivia Pope and President Fitz. This affair is revealed in season one and is one of the biggest continuous plots throughout the show. The twist and turns and cliffhangers at the end of the episodes as far as relationships go is what keeps the audience involved.



All together Scandal touches base on personal, cultural and national aspects of our society. This show did such an awesome job at tying in such a diverse audience and keeping them involved. Many shows that start, draw in a large audience but the problem that most of them face is they don’t know how to keep their audience interested, causing there numbers to drop substantially. Scandal found a way to make their show relate to just about any type of person and that is where they got their success.


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