Costume Idea: Gladiators in Suits

Step One: Wear a sharp suit. Okay, if you’re Huck you can wear a flannel.
Step Two: Answer urgent calls on your cell from other Gladiators in Suits.
Step Three: Walk briskly, hurriedly, purposefully at all times.
Step Four: Never be afraid to flaunt your intelligence and know-how.
Step Five: Fix any manner of crises that come your way. 
Step Six: There is no smiling this Halloween; there is only Serious. Face. Even when you win. A Gladiator does not gloat.

Note: This costume works best in a group of three or more Gladiators in Suits. Work as a Team, people!


If you’ve watched Scandal, the above should all makes sense. If you haven’t watched Scandal, do yourself a favor and stop whatever you are doing right now and effing watch Scandal. Season Three premiered last week, and it’s somewhat overdue for RLB to take a look at this wonderfully engaging show.

Scandal is incredible for many, many reasons. Today we shall highlight a few:

1. Olivia Pope. The protagonist of this show is a black woman, and while the fact of her being a black woman does come up as a matter of course in the world she lives in (she’s a key operative in the highly political realm of Washington, D.C.), this is not a show that is About the Fact that Olivia Pope is a Black Woman.

It is my firm belief that one of the most successful ways to remove the concept of Other from a marginalized people is to saturate the culture with their (our) very Human stories. I tend to side with Edward Albee on the subject of creative identity. Of course our experiences help to define who we are, but they do not have to limit who we are. The more we limit ourselves, the harder it is for us to empathize with people who do not fit in the small definition of what we’ve chosen to understand.

Side bar: Olivia Pope looks Amazing in her frequently all-white outfits and I don’t know how she never spills red wine on her clothes, but, Addendum to Side Bar: I can personally attest to the fact that red wine and popcorn is a truly delicious and satisfying meal.

(twenty bucks says there’s a bowl of popcorn on that table)

2. Shonda Rhimes. The creator of this show is an accomplished writer and producer who also happens to be a black woman. The gossip columnist I read has mentioned that Ms. Rhimes is “…still a kind of TV writer punchline when, as the New York Times points out,  she’s the only one who has any idea how to make network TV actually work for her.”

Clearly I am no Hollywood Insider, but when deciding to write this post, I became determined to find out what was meant by such a statement. Time for rayseearch! (this is how we say research around these parts to make it more fun)

Okay, so she wrote Crossroads (which I indulgently and happily watched on my 23rd birthday – Britney 4 Eva!), and The Princess Diaries 2. Not exactly mind-blowing material. BUT she also co-wrote Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, and created/produced/wrote episodes for Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and now Scandal. So now that she is one of the most powerful show runners in the business, why wouldn’t she get the respect she deserves?

Well, let’s see. She’s black. She’s a woman. Her shows unapologetically feature genuinely diverse casts, female protagonists, and story lines that reflect a human experience, not just a male one. On top of that, the large viewership and high ratings that her shows continue to rake in prove that her formula works. If you were a white, male, misogynist, Hollywood executive, how would you feel about Shonda Rhimes? My guess is that she would scare the piss out of you, and you would go to great lengths to belittle her in an attempt to mask your fear.

As for race not being a key component of Scandal…

“I’m a black woman every day, and I’m not confused about that. I’m not worried about that. I don’t need to have a discussion with you about how I feel as a black woman, because I don’t feel disempowered as a black woman.” – Shonda Rhimes


3. It’s Delicious. This show is indulgent, engrossing, and surprising. Sure, it’s a little soapy with its far-flung plot lines, but please. How many of you love Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Or The Walking Dead? Or even The West Wing (like that administration would ever actually be elected into office in this country). Let’s agree that realism is not a requirement for great television.

Don’t let the word “soapy” fool you – this is no guilty pleasure. There is no shame in admitting that you love Scandal. If you want to talk guilty pleasure, we can talk about how often I listen to One Direction.

Bottom line: Scandal is quality entertainment. If you enjoy intrigue, politics, clever twists, secret pasts, shifting loyalties, wildly sexy affairs, covert identities and high-level conspiracies, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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