I had absolutely nothing to write today. I was thinking hard. Because I had a great weekend celebrating my birthday, I wasn’t really focused on finding connections. And also…I was cheating on Carrie with the new love of my life – Olivia Pope. BET showed a Scandal marathon, and I got caught up in it. It was like Law and Order for a second…if I didn’t hurry and change the channel, I was going to get caught up for the next 14 hours and miss my birthday dinner, lol. But as I re-watched Season 1 on Saturday and parts of SATC2 tonight to try and find inspiration for something to write, I realized something: Carrie and Olivia have a few things in common.
These are two seemingly very different women in exponentially different personal spheres. What could they have in common? Here is what I thought: First, they use their avenues of influence as personal therapy. Carrie’s column took the brunt of most of her “in my head” analyzing. Olivia’s relationship issues turned out to be her best advice to her clients. Everyone remembers the advice of the century to the guy who was in love with his brother’s wife…and the best line ever?
I remember saying out loud, “Encourage yourself, girl…speak over yourself.” Then I thought…it’s very similar to what Carrie said to Aidan when he realized she was “cheating”. Cigarettes became the allegorical symbol for her infidelity.
Second, neither of them could make what they knew was right stick. How many times did both Carrie/Olivia say they were done with Big/Fitz? Eventually, Carrie and Big married, but when things got too happy and comfortable, she lived for the spice up. They made an entire storyline out of that for the Sex and the City 2 movie (Really? She was bored. That was all that happened for her in the second movie. She was bored.) For different reasons, Olivia won’t let she and Fitz get to their happily ever after. She pulls out at the end each time. I’m pretty sure this just makes the show work, but work with me here.
Third, even with the ideas of their fathers, I remember when the guy who worked with Carrie at Vogue told her she spends her whole life asking questions about men because her father left without answers (Season 4, “A Vogue Idea”). I wonder how Olivia’s relationship with Rowan affects how she interacts with guys. She couldn’t make the relationship with Edison work. You could argue that he was like Carrie’s Aidan. Additionally, you can’t refute the effect that both shows have had on women. Pope’s power is the new Carrie’s fashion. I swear when I went to DC this summer, I just wanted a white coat so I could walk around posing by things. With gloves. Totally with gloves. In a heat wave. That’s the kind of nerd I am.
Lastly, the thing they have most in common is that they are flawed. Very flawed. Carrie is there for her friends, she’s a successful writer, and had wonderful shoes…but she didn’t have the greatest moral compass. Same with Pope…smart and powerful with a fly wardrobe, loves the family she created at OPA, but finds it exceedingly difficult to turn away from One Minute moments. Olivia’s very emotion-filled “I don’t show up to places just because you want me,” was convincing, but short-lived. Same with Carrie’s “You can drive up this street all you want because I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE!” (Season Six Part 2, “An American Girl in Paris – part une”) only to find herself laughing with him on the floor of a Parisian hotel. That’s women. That’s people. We are flawed. We’ve announced to the world, our friends, or at least to ourselves that we are done with some person/place/thing only to answer a text, be caught in an Instagram photo, or have it in our hands again. we mess up. Maybe not on the scales that get to be discussed incessantly by bystanders who claim they’d NEVER be in that situation, but we do.
I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between two of the most discussed woman characters on television of past and present. I love both of the women, but I appreciate that the characters are flawed. That’s life. Big had to travel to Paris and Fitz had to wait out a clock, but the stories and cycles are similar. I’m curious as to how Pope and Fitz’ stories will turn out. Carrie got married and her happy (ish) ending, but I doubt Shonda will let it be tied up with that pretty a bow.
Come on October 3rd.
Do you watch Scandal? Do you see any other comparisons? Shout ’em out.