This past week in television has been absolutely devastating for fans of ABC's Scandal and CBS's The Good Wife. If you watch either show, you're probably still reeling from the most recent episodes, both of which included death sentences for beloved characters. And if you watch both shows, you're probably reading this from the glass case of emotion from which you cannot remove yourself.
First, let's discuss Scandal. Last Thursday, Gladiators everywhere tuned in to find out #WhoGotShot. Some of us were expecting the end of white hat-rocking David Rosen. Others thought James Novak should take the bullet, especially since he was flip-flopping (once again) over what to do about his political animal of a husband, Cyrus Beene. We were ready, weren't we? We were ready for someone to die because we'd been told in the previous week that someone was totally going to get shot!
But then it happened, and we were slapped in the face with the cold, hard reality of the end of James, lying face-down in the concrete. Really, truly, actually dead. Actually, even this wasn't so bad. But when Jake walked over to him at the end of the episode, and we had to watch him talk James through his final moments? And promise him that his daughter would be fine? And kind of, sort of, legitimately apologize for having to kill him, and having to make him suffer so the murder could look like a car-jacking and not a job done by a professional? The worst. The absolute worst.
Or was it?
Don't watch this video unless you're in a place where it's okay to start inexplicably crying:
Sunday night, fans of The Good Wife waited for an eternity for that ridiculously annoying show that shall remain nameless to finally roll credits so that we could see what was up in the land of Alicia and Will. And whaddayaknow? Out of nowhere — seriously, we were not warned, there were no hints in the previews — Will gets shot. He's moments away from winning the big case, but the kid he's defending (Hunter Parrish, who many of us know as Silas from Weeds) can't take it anymore and opens fire on an entire courtroom.
We might have been able to predict the death of James, but the death of Will was a horrifying, horrible, horror-inducing horror. Yes, that many variations on horror are necessary to explain the shock and awe of that character's final moments.
But every dark cloud has a silver lining (allegedly), so let's look on the bright side. We'll get to see more of James A.K.A. Dan Bucatinsky in an upcoming NBC series Marry Me. And he also has another project in the works with Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes. There's no word for sure on what's next for Josh Charles, but he did stop by The Late Show With David Letterman and made it clear that he's been wanting to move on for some time now. So here's hoping we get to see him in something new soon. Not that anything could assuage the loss of Will Gardner. Case in point:
How Alicia looks at the 1:27 mark? Yes. That's exactly how 99% of us feel right now. So basically... The Good Wife and Scandal writers? You are all the worst right now.
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Look. We know you love Scandal. We know you kind of want to be Olivia Pope. And we get that your Christmas wish list consisted of mainly Scandal-related paraphernalia. But the ABC drama series, now in the midst of a pretty epic third season, is a dangerous show to get addicted to, especially if you've been taking any relationship cues from the main characters. We love these guys, but here are a few Scandal folks you probably, definitely, should not call if you need some healthy advice on love.
Abby (played by Darby Stanchfield) has put her boyfriend through the ringer so many times, it's sad. Poor David Rosen can't get a break, with Abby stealing Cytron cards from him, lying to him to cover for Olivia Pope & Associates, and asking about a gazillion favors from him now that he's the U.S. Attorney for Washington D.C. Now that the two are open about their job descriptions, Abby and David are a much better couple. But Abby's a Gladiator first, which could prove detrimental to this relationship (again).
Cyrus has done so many horrible, awful, grimey things to his husband James, it's difficult to know where to begin. There was that time he put a hit out on him. That time he got him a baby, just so James would stop working as a journalist and stop dipping into all of Cyrus's political dirt. But all of that paled in comparison to the stunt he pulled this season. If you were ever thinking of getting ahead of your political opponent, probably don't use your husband as sexual bait for that opponent's closeted gay husband. Bad idea.
We love Fitz. But seriously. In three seasons we've watched him bounce back and forth between Olivia and his wife Mellie (okay, more Olivia than Mellie), plus there was that Amanda Tanner situation. We know he loves Olivia, but there was that one unforgivable, postcoital conversation they had in which he told Olivia, "I may not be able to control my erections around you, but that doesn’t mean I want you. We are done." Ouch. And no.
Olivia herself has openly admitted on the show that she is a hot mess when it comes to love. She's kind of a mistress, kind of not. She dated Senator Davis and pretty much led him on, refusing to tell him that she was totally still in love with the President. Then there was the Jake versus Fitz fiasco (actually, that may still be ongoing). Now don't get us wrong -- this all makes for great television. And this character has had some wonderful, empowering moments on the series. But we think it'll be a while before Olivia finds herself in a drama-free relationship.
There are a lot of things that ABC’s Scandal gets right. Their lead character Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) is practically a lifestyle guru, and the way in which creator Shonda Rhimes works race and racial politics into the drama is also pretty brilliant. Like any good drama there are plenty of complex relationships that drive the storylines; Olivia Pope is in a relationship with President Fitzgerald Grant, and her faithful Gladiators find themselves in all kinds of complications due to love interests who always seem to clash with their professional lives. But there’s one couple in particular that deserves our attention, and that would be the one between Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) and James Novak (played by Dan Bucatinsky, who was nominated for a 2013 Emmy for the role).
On the one hand, Cyrus and James are obviously not the first well-written gay couple on television. But they are different. Cyrus is, for one, a villain of sorts. He’s the White House Chief of Staff and the President’s right-hand man. He’s an admitted political animal, a monster even; he’s terrifying and brutal, and he’s totally in love with his husband. But because James is a correspondent for the White House – and constantly looking for the very truths that his husband is constantly trying to cover up – their relationship is beyond complicated. In one unforgettable second season episode Cyrus literally puts a hit out on his hubby, in an attempt to keep a very damaging story about rigged votes from becoming public. Don’t worry -- they work it out in the end, but it's all very intense, to say the least.
Shonda Rhimes handles the relationship between Cyrus and James in a way that is similar to her treatment of Olivia and Fitz. For her two main characters, the interracial aspect of their love affair is not where the complication lies, although it is a fact. And for Cyrus and James, their attempts to live and love together in a predominantly heterosexual environment is sometimes an issue, but also not the source of the drama. As a result, they cease to be ‘the gay couple’ on the show and become, rather, one of our favorite couples to watch. As the third season takes off and the couple continues to work out their issues (with a new baby on board, no less), we can’t wait to see where Cyrus and James take the ever-exciting series that is Scandal.