kerri majors

May 6, 1998

Cubs’ rookie Kerry Wood ties a major league record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game as he one-hits the Astros, 2-0. In addition to matching Red Sox fireballer Roger Clemens’ feat (Mariners-1986 and Tigers-1996), the 20-year-old Texan breaks the National League record of 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game shared by Steve Carlton, David Cone, and Tom Seaver.
My thoughts on advocacy for Olivia Pope in the Scandal fandom

So…in the spirit of full disclosure, I hate it when there is a single thread on a topic that breaks off into a million other threads carrying on side discussions of the same topic. However, Tumblr is refusing to let me be great this morning, and I’ve tried several times to post this to @back-of-the-bus’s original thread, with no success. So I have no choice but to create a separate thread here.

@back-of-the-bus I’ve read your original post several times along with responses, and I’ve tried to condense my thoughts into something that will fit in this space. It’s a challenge, honestly, because there’s just so much. I joined the Scandal fandom in April 2013, just prior to the end of season 2, though I’d watched the show from the beginning. IMHO, this fandom has not ever been united along a single theme or cause outside of liking the show itself in that entire time. From the outset (I.e., my observations of the fandom since its beginnings), it seems, this fandom always had factions that pulled it in several directions. Still, it was tenuously held together by the unifying theme of liking the show itself, despite having different viewpoints on the show’s direction and varying favorite characters, among other things. The subsequent underlying focus on the personal lives of Kerry and Tony badly strained the threads tenuously holding the fandom together. With Kerry’s marriage in the summer of 2013 and her pregnancy - along with the attendant speculation about all that - the tenuous threads holding the fandom together broke irreparably, fragmenting it and creating warring factions that remain today. This all eventually drove people away, including me.

Normally, I would never tie a star’s personal life to their professional one in this manner (I find it incredibly distasteful) and it would never occur to me to insert this kind of discussion into an appeal to a fandom to rally support around a character. But the Scandal fandom has got to be the textbook case about the dangers involved in conflating public and the private lives of celebrities. Many of us tend to view celebrities with rose-colored glasses anyway, but members of this fandom have such deeply entrenched and emotionally invested opinions/viewpoints of these actors and their roles that objective, reasoned discussion is often simply not possible. In the case of Kerry and Tony, several of the fandom fragments have imputed characteristics of their onscreen characters - strongly positive and equally strongly negative - to the actors themselves and vice versa, again making it often impossible to have a reasoned, thoughtful discussion about the show and its portrayal of their characters. I think that any discussion about fandom support or lack thereof for the lead cannot separate itself from the acknowledgment of the extent to which the conflation of the onscreen and off-screen lives of Kerry and Tony came to dominate and eventually irreparably break the fandom apart.

That said…there were numerous hashtag campaigns on Twitter led by several fandom members to direct attention to the problematic writing for Olivia Pope beginning at the end of Season 2. As stayingwoke said, open fandom criticism was often met with disdain or invitations to stop watching from Shonda herself. @mintymiscellany , tweeting as JuliaonTV, routinely challenged Shonda on Olivia’s characterization, and others did as well. I tagged @scandalabc in my most scathing comments about the show here on Tumblr, and others did the same and tweeted them directly about it. Several fans wrote ABC via email and/or wrote/tweeted specific writers of episodes with specific comments and concerns regarding Olivia’s treatment. People have chosen the medium that they’re most comfortable with and made their voices heard. And so despite its deep fragmentation, this is NOT a fandom that has been silent. Shonda’s own lack of responsiveness and often outright rudeness in the face of criticism haven’t endeared her to the fandom members who care enough to try to respectfully engage her. Additionally, ABC doesn’t seem poised to intervene despite falling ratings because the show is still doing well in its time slot, and Shonda remains ABC’s most prolific hit maker.

And then there is Kerry herself. You indicated in your initial post that you were not willing to entertain discussion of how Kerry’s failure to advocate for herself or her character could have affected things because she would not jeopardize her job by creating outright conflict over the writing. That’s fair, but in all honesty, I don’t see how we can ignore the extent to which Kerry’s continued vigorous outward support for her character and the direction Shonda has elected to take for her have created a disconnect between Kerry and many fragments within the fandom. Whether we understand what she risks in openly challenging Shonda or not, it’s very difficult to reconcile brilliant Kerry, advocate for (insert her major causes) Kerry, smartest-woman-in-the-room Kerry with the Kerry who is equivocating and rationalizing the degradation of her own character. And the dual agenda present in the vast majority of her print and face-to-face interviews since 2013 - which started out as deflecting any and all personal questions while promoting the show and her projects, and then suddenly shifted in the past several months to “let me tell you about my wonderful husband, baby and life that includes this incredible show with the amazing Shonda Rhimes” - has (fairly or unfairly) caused people to tune Kerry out. All the way out. And that, along with Shonda fatigue, means that the desire to go to battle over this once iconic character wanes with each passing day.

Lastly, I just want to point out that several people, me included, have had good discussions here on Tumblr of how Kerry opened doors for other black actresses on television, and that they would likely reap the benefits of her hard work in ways she would not because of Scandal’s horrible writing. I’m bad about tagging posts, but I know I’ve participated in a few discussions about this. You may not have seen or participated in them, but they definitely took place. Last summer lazyexceptwhencooking and I talked about grief over the show and how we were all cycling through the various stages at different times. Perhaps this is your grieving period, and none of us can begrudge you that. But many folks have likely reached the saturation point with all things Scandal, and moved on or are in the process of moving on. Only you can decide if this is right for you and if so, when it should happen.

I apologize for the long post, but this isn’t a simple topic, and there are no easy answers.