Saturday, March 29, 2014

Obsession of the White House

We’ve all noticed the current trend in television shows lately. They usually involve black suits, black cars, fancy clothes, and of course a White House. I’ve recently finished watching two shows on Netflix that are based in the White House and there are even more shows that fulfill the same trend. It’s amazing what the writers can engrave in your mind that there is a ever current hidden power that needs to be shown on TV, concerning the power in Washington D.C. I believe this sets an obsession to learn about the real scandals that go on in the Washington D.C. and how it may not be all known to the public eye. There’s a hidden truth that we want to find and after seeing these shows the obsession continues.
The first “popular" show that involved a political drama was The West Wing. It was on air a while back but the show lasted from 1999-2006. It was primarily viewed in the West Wing of the White House, Oval Office, and dealt with Presidential campaigns, issues, and rumors that surrounded the capital. Since I was still pretty young to understand what was really happening I didn’t engage much in this show than the recent presidential shows I’ve seen. The West Wing really did start the upcoming trend as viewing power in the White House in a whole new way.

So, I must admit, I was highly obsessed after watching the first two seasons of Scandal on Netflix. I couldn’t stop watching it until I finished all the seasons on Netflix, and sadly there are only two as of now. I became addicted to the theme of knowing that something was going on in Washington D.C. and I knew Olivia Pope would fix it. She is the main actress in Scandal and is played by Keri Washington. She’s powerful, determined, and knows her way around the White House. The show plays with the idea that there are clients that need their identity protected or saved and Olivia Pope’s “gladiators in suits” can help fix the situation. It truly is a scandalous show and the name of it plays true to the direction it’s going.

An article that was written by Alessandra Stanley says, “Even the most apolitical of viewers are savvy about the packaging and puppeteering that goes on behind the scenes to keep public figures aloft. In a culture where presidents, celebrities and products alike are assessed as brands, it’s perfectly natural to be more fascinated by the people shaping the image than the ones who merely claim it in public.” Yup. I find myself wanting to dress like Olivia Pope and be as kick-ass as her! She has definitely shaped the images of many females in society by the way she dresses and uses her power. Also, the fact of being curious and skeptical about real life situations in Washington D.C. continue after watching shows like The West Wing and Scandal.
If you search Olivia Pope’s wardrobes there are several websites that have tutorials on where to buy outfits that look just like hers on Scandal. Yes, they are pricey but there’s even other websites that give similar outfits without having to break your bank. This article I found by Diana Elbasha says, “but more than anything, Olivia’s stylish outfits reveal to us viewers that behind the tough, all-business front is a person—one who enjoys shopping and sometimes just wants to kick it in silk PJs with some popcorn.” It’s hilarious to me how we always think that actors on TV can be just like us, normal people. But in all seriousness, they’re TV stars and they really will never live a normal life.
Scandal has taught viewers that there can be high’s and low’s in the lime-life in Washington D.C. The public really will never understand what all goes on in that part of the United States but it gives us an obsession that we think something scandalous is going on but we truly never will find out. There is so much power that is in the White House and it’s never clear to us how things get done and who’s undermining the rest of us.
The last show on Netflix that I recently finished washing was House of Cards. Wow...the addition was real, and it happened fast. Although, after watching the first episode of House of Cards I didn’t think I’d like the show but I gave it the benefit of the doubt and kept watching it…until I got to episode four of the first season and I knew I would have to binge watch the rest.

House of Cards is based on political drama that is revolved around the White House and how Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, works his way up the political latter. This series literally left me speechless after the last episode of the second season on Netflix. The difference between Scandal and House of Cards isn’t really justifiable. Both lie heavily on showing the viewers the real power that comes from Washington D.C. yet they are both so different from each other yet it’s hard to examine definite differences.
I had a hard time understanding the differences in House of Cards and Scandal so I found an awesome article that stated it perfectly. The article is by Ryan McGee and he stated that, “This fundamental difference in approach to their characters results in House Of Cards being a handsomely mounted but often hermetically sealed program, while Scandal is an open wound, one that not only doesn’t try to hide its baldly emotional underpinnings, but instead draws strength from them. Neither show particularly yields true insight into the ways in which Washington operates. But Scandal has quite a bit to say about how people in general operate.” It’s so true.
The obsession with Washington D.C. and the ways it operates our nation really does have popularity when it comes to TV and how it can get people to think one-way or another. Scandal makes the viewers realize that people itself operate a certain way and is portrayed to act proper and hold power tightly. While, House of Cards is hard to relate to because of all the serious backstabbing and ways to come up as a main attraction in the White House by using your power to manipulate people. Regardless, the obsession we have in Washington D.C. will continue to circulate throughout TV-land. Our thinking towards the White House will always leave us to be questionable about what is really goes on. 

Works Cited

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