Secrets of Scandal: Boom Goes the Dynamite

By Jess Brownell, Researcher Feb 22, 2013

ScandalA big part of working on a television writing staff means sitting in a boxy little room for many hours of the day. There, the writers hash out our storylines, breaking them out beat by beat on huge whiteboards and finding the perfect moments for Olivia to say, “It’s handled.”

So, as you can probably imagine, the writers need occasional diversions. Our writers’ room is packed full of snacks, puzzles, and magazines. Lots and lots of magazines. Mostly, the gossip glossies are there to give us a look at the latest break-ups, make-ups and celeb babies, but occasionally, the pages of pop culture give us our first glimmer of inspiration. After reading one too many stories claiming that certain celebrity marriages may have been arranged for publicity, we got to thinking.  The details of celebrity couplings aren’t exactly Olivia Pope’s wheelhouse (at least not that we’ve yet seen). But these rumors made us wonder – what if there are arranged political marriages? And if there are, wouldn’t it be cool to see Olivia acting as marriage broker in auditioning wives for a political candidate?

The likelihood that there are hush-hush arranged political marriages, while unknown, is at least totally possible, because the fact is, getting elected to high level political positions without a spouse is pretty difficult these days. This country has only elected two unmarried presidents in its history – lifelong bachelor James Buchanan in 1856, and Grover Cleveland in 1884 (although Cleveland actually married Frances Folsom about a year into his first term). But these two men served in the 1800s; the electorate hasn’t put an unmarried or even a widowed president into office in over 125 years. (Ronald Reagan, while neither unmarried nor widowed when elected, is notable for being the only divorced president.)

Certainly, the electorate is a little more lax on putting single Congresspeople and Governors into office. But, still, in the last ten years, there has not been one single single man elected as Governor of his state (say that five times fast). Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona from 2003-2009 is the only never-married woman elected in the last ten years. There are some widowers and divorcees currently serving as Governor, but the fact is, it’s a tough road for the single people of the world (as I’m sure many of the Associates might tell you).

So, when Olivia takes on Congressman Will Caldwell as a client – sexy, smart, and single – she knows that the best way to take him from the House to the White House (with a stop at the Governor’s Mansion in between) is to find him a wife. It’s no easy task finding the perfect woman who is politically savvy, media ready, and willing to sign a contract for what is essentially an arranged marriage. But Olivia and the Associates find a way, and after rehearsing potential candidates and soaring through a fundraiser with the winning woman, Will Caldwell looks like he’s on his way to joining the leagues of successful, married political men.

But, all you single Gladiators out there, don’t worry. The single characters on Scandal are still representing what it means to be unattached and fabulous – or, you know, unattached and getting over an affair with a married President, while being spied on by the new guy in your life. Olivia’s totally a good single role model, right?