Mellie Grant is the hero of Scandal. The real hero.
Scandal can be viewed as the story of how First Lady Mellie Grant overcomes the oppression of her philandering dullard of her husband and his condescending girlfriend to achieve success, influence and happiness. Each episode reveals how Mellie deals with the latest crisis driving the incompetents around her to hysteria while she calmly pushes forward.
Yes, the writers of Scandal wouldn’t support this interpretation. They have a different view of the show. An Olivia Pope-centric view. They are not the boss of you.
The story of Mellie Grant is the story of a smart woman overcoming the odds against her to achieve success. She has many obstacles to overcome. She’s married to Fitzgerald Grant, a half-soused dipwad who disregards her at every turn. Even though she gave up a successful legal career to facilitate his run to the White House. She gave up power suits and a sensible hairstyle to host banal teas while sporting a First Lady pouf and shoulder pads that would prompt Joan Collins to say “Take it down a notch.”
Instead, Mellie dims her own light, so as not to outshine her less than stellar husband. After all, she finished first in their law school class. Fitz finished… significantly lower. Mellie grasps the concept of things immediately. Fitz usually needs a finger puppet show to get basic points. For years, Mellie endured the presence of the father-in-law who assaulted her, because Fitz needed his money and political influence. Fitz never said “thank you.” Fitz is an inconsiderate chump, you may have realized.
After carrying her sinking anchor of a husband to the Presidency, apparently on the strength of his height and decent hair, Mellie made many sacrifices for him. She bore with dignity his infidelities. Especially his not-especially-discreet fling with Olivia, then his campaign manager. She was even willing to implicitly condone the liaison to keep Fitz on task. If she couldn’t compel him to keep his pen in his pocket, she could at least know in whose ink well he was dipping it. And something about always wearing a pocket protector? This metaphor may be getting away from me, to be honest.
The list of bad things that Scandal his visited upon Mellie is voluminous. The death of a child. Her husband’s shooting. Fitz’s constant belittling and dismissiveness. Unhealthy levels of hairspray. But she’s endured it all. Because she’s strong. Because she’s a champion. Fitz is at least gracious enough to support Mellie’s drive to her own Presidency. Possibly because he realizes someone will need to fix all the things he’s screwed up.
Here are a few ways a Mellie Grant Presidency would be different from her husband’s:
– She wouldn’t invade another country because someone threatened her side piece. In general, she wouldn’t hold policy decisions hostage to the outcome of that week’s “romantic” crisis.
– She would have checked with the Secret Service before she and said side piece got their freak on in the Oval Office. Thus relieving everyone of a very awkward conversation about the Oval Office’s electronic surveillance protocols.
– She would have read the bill she’d publicly made the central point of her second term before it came to a vote in the Senate. She would not have waited until the goofy Vice President did some 11th hour policy wanking to discover the bill was crap.
– She wouldn’t have Vice Presidents who are continually undermining her as part of nefarious plots to seize power.
– She wouldn’t continuously and deliberately use the wrong name for a female staffer just to “put her in her place.” If Mellie doesn’t remember your name, you are genuinely not that memorable.
Mellie deserves her own tenure in the White House. If nothing else, she’ll need something to fill her days, while Fitz is busy running into Olivia’s arms in their Vermont chalet. To make jam. (Not a euphemism.)(Unfortunately.)
The final scene of Scandal will be Mellie Grant, sitting in the Oval Office. Being a happy, fulfilled and effective Leader of the Free World. Anyone claiming there is a scene after that, where Fitz and Olivia unite in some kind of stomach-churning “forever” embrace, will clearly be mistaken.
Originally published at thunderalleybcpcom.ipage.com on April 23, 2015.