Gladiators in Suits: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Representation in Scandal
One of the most popular shows to come out of Shondaland, Shonda Rhimes's production company, is ABC's political drama Scandal (2012-18)-a series whose tremendous success and marketing savvy led LA Times critic Mary McNamara to hail it as the show that Twitter built and Time magazine to name its protagonist as one of the most influential fictional characters of 2013. The series portrays a fictional Washington, DC, and features a diverse group of characters, racially and otherwise, who gather around the show's antiheroine, Olivia Pope, a powerful crisis manager who happens to have an extramarital affair with the president of the United States. For seven seasons, audiences learned a great deal about Olivia and those interwoven in her complex world of politics and drama, including her team of gladiators in suits, with whom she manages the crises of Washington's political elite. This volume, named for both Olivia's team and the show's fans, analyzes the communication, politics, stereotypes, and genre techniques featured in the television series while raising key questions about the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and viewing audiences. The essays range from critical looks at various members of Scandal's ensemble, to in-depth analyses of the show's central themes, to audience reception studies via interviews and social media analysis. Additionally, the volume contributes to research on femininity, masculinity, and representations of black womanhood on television. Ultimately, this collection offers original and timely perspectives on what was one of America's most scandalous prime-time network television series.