TV Review - Scandal: Season 4 & Nashville: Season 3

Jeff Perry and Dan Bucatinsky in "Scandal"
Recently, an entertainment news story was reported about the negative reaction to the gay scenes being in the forefront this season on two shows on ABC, specifically two shows on Thursday night by super TV producer Shonda Rhimes. Those shows are Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. This comes on the heels of what was perceived as racism on the part of a news article about Rhimes and those two shows that have a black woman as the lead. However, the reaction to the gay scenes was something that was blatantly more bigoted and homophobic.

If you haven't been watching Scandal in Season 4, the gay scenes in question involve Cyrus, the Chief of Staff at the White House, played by Jeff Perry, and Michael, a MBA student, played by Matthew Del Negro. Cyrus is recently widowed and vulnerable in that he's lonely. Michael is a prostitute who unbeknownst to Cyrus has been employed to entrap Cyrus in a political scandal to control or neutralize him.

If you haven't been watching How to Get Away with Murder, the gay scenes in question there involve Connor, a law student competing for the approval of his law professor, and Oliver, a computer technician who can help the law professor with an actual case. Connor seduces Oliver as well as other men boldly in order to get them to do what he wants.

If I were to criticize these scenes in these shows, I wouldn't criticize them in saying it's too much gay stuff. I would criticize them in that they're not scenes of true love on any one's part. It's instead manipulation on top of manipulation.

In Scandal in particular, the main character of Olivia Pope, played by Emmy-nominee Kerry Washington, is in a bit of a love triangle. On one side is her love of the President of the United States, President Fitzgerald or Fitz, played by Tony Goldywn. On the other side is her love for Jake, played by Scott Foley.

Both Fitz and Jake have their own agendas, but it's clear both love Olivia in their own ways. In the scenes between Cyrus and Michael. It's not about love. Michael doesn't love Cyrus. Right now, it's all about sex, and setting Cyrus up for a trap. That doesn't mean that couldn't change. HBO's Oz had two male characters who fell in love have a similar starting place.

The same could be said about Connor and Oliver on How to Get Away with Murder. The only reason I'm watching is to see if love between gay men can be what translates into a full-fleshed storyline. Scandal had that previously with Cyrus' prior relationship. It's curious to see if that can be replicated.

Chris Carmack in "Nashville"
Shonda Rhimes could give lessons though to Callie Khouri and her series Nashville in Season 3. That series is centered around a woman too, a country superstar named Rayna James, played by Connie Britton. The show follows her music career, as she launches her own label and release a new album. The challenges she faces in the business like rivalries are explored, as well as her family life, which includes a divorce, and a current love triangle between two musicians, one who is more successful than the other.

There are several subplots with younger musicians. The major subplot, which is actually not sub but on par with Rayna's storyline, is Juliette Barnes, played by Hayden Panettiere. There are other younger musicians who the show follows, but the least among them is Will Lexington, played by Chris Carmack. What's notable about him is he's the show's gay character.

Unlike Rhimes, Khouri and her writers don't want to put Will in the forefront, let alone show him having sex. Purposefully, it could be because he's still in the closet and is personally trying to hide his homosexuality, but it doesn't mean he isn't having sex. The show doesn't even acknowledge real-life country artists who have come out as gay like Steve Grand, Chely Wright, Eric Himan and Matt Alber.

There are and have been so many gay musicians in other genres, but like rap music, there's almost a difference when it comes to country. Yet, the show wants to delay or draw out attacking this issue. We'll see how it goes by year's end.

Scandal: Season 4.
Three Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14-DS.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Thursdays at 9PM on ABC.

Nashville: Season 3.
Three Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-PG-LS.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Wednesdays at 10PM on ABC.


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