My best friend and I have a ritual of binge watching Scandal and promptly turning to each other at the end of each episode to exclaim: "What just happened?!" Seriously, how is it possible to cram that much action, storyline arcs, plot twists, and displays of Jake Ballard's abs (that's my favorite part) into each one-hour installment? Shonda Rhimes is a woman of many talents. Although the show can be more than a little bit unbelievable at times, we all know that Rhimes — who has been at the helm of the equally addictive Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder — is an ace at creating characters who pull at our heartstrings. No matter what confection of chaos happens to be occurring during an episode of Scandal, the characters remain enigmatically relatable through all of it.
My favorite character (other than Jake's aforementioned abdomen) is one Ms. Olivia Pope, the lead protagonist with a penchant for making sure crises are "handled," drinking oversized glasses of wine, and noshing on popcorn. With all her strengths and tenacious resolve, Olivia is far from perfect, but that's what makes her great! Throughout the years, we've watched Olivia's seemingly impenetrable mask of collectedness shatter when faced with romantic complications (hi, Fitz), family drama (hi, B613), and general burnout — seriously, take a day off once in a while!
Hopefully our lives remain much more mundane than even an hour of Olivia's, because that lifestyle looks stressful. Still, there are various qualities in Olivia that we can all relate to.
She Has Her Vices
For Olivia, her vices include wine (seriously, how big are those glasses going to get?!) and engaging in tormented stare-offs with Fitz. For me, it's greasy takeout and long periods of binge watching Scandal.
Dating Isn't Always Awesome
Ugh! Dating, am I right? No, we — hopefully — aren't privy to quite the same histrionics Olivia experiences in her romantic endeavors, but the dating world can definitely be a complicated one for all of us.
She Wants What She Can't Have
As much as we hate to admit it, we've probably all fallen victim to human nature. Oh, you're "not ready" for a relationship? Excuse me while my crush on you grows exponentially.
She Relies On Her Friends
What would we do without our own personal group of gladiators? I went out with one of my said gladiators (I refer to her as "Kelsey") last night and boy was it nice to vent and catch up! Friends #FTW, am I right?
She Can Get A Little Competitive
Admit it: we've all had moments where we can get a little competitive.
She's Prone To Fantasizing About Jake Ballard
OK, maybe I'm being a little subjective with this one. Seriously, though, who could resist that face?
She Needs To Take More Vacations
Remember when Olivia escaped to that super fun-looking island for, like, two seconds at the end of Season 3? Yeah, she needs to take some more time off.
She Gets Stressed Out
Even the queen of "handling" things can suffer stress and frustration from time to time. It's ok, Olivia, we've all been there.
At The End Of The Day, She's Pretty Awesome
With all her complexities and occasional torment, Olivia is a certifiable force of nature. She speaks her mind, puts out a litany of proverbial fires on a regular basis, and understands the value of assertion in and out of the workplace. Then again, being that her portrayer is the brilliant Kerry Washington, it's no wonder we relate to and root for Scandal's leading lady.
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