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Friday, May 3, 2013

Will Scandal change the way you read romance novels?

I love Scandal. Every Thursday, I'm sitting in front of my TV watching Shonda Rhimes work her magic. This show is so well written, the story lines are layered and it's never what you expect. But at the heart of this show, we're rooting for one of the most flawed couples on TV since JR and Sue Ellen Ewing.
Olivia Pope is cheating with the President --uh, of The United States. No, this isn't one of those judgmental posts about the show. Because we all know cheaters: either you are one, have been on the other side of cheating or had to stop yourself from going all Carrie Underwood on his ass. But are we are readers and writers ready to look at the complexity of all kinds of love?

Yes, a married man can fall out of love with his wife and love another. Why did we love E. Lynn Harris’s books so much? If you didn’t cry at the end of Invisible Life, I don’t know if we can be friends.
But guess what, women can cheat and have sex for fun. But when those characters are on TV and between the pages of novels somehow they become a case study on women or the subject of Facebook memes. Sure, side chicks down the street don't get the Olivia Pope treatment, and there isn’t a Batman waiting around the corner to save me from a masked gun man either -- but I digress.
As a romance reader, could you support a couple who had shades of Fitz and Olivia? And here's my favorite: Where is the love for the cheating heroine?  Or even the cheating secondary character.

In my novel, Second Chances at Love, Calvin’s ex-wife was supposed to cheat on him and have a mental disorder. My former editor wasn’t having it. It was better to make my –ironically Olivia—rude and bitchy than to add another layer of drama. In fiction -- books and TV-- women who cheat take it on the chin. HARD.
I've always wondered why.
I hope the popularity of Scandal will allow other creative minds to push the envelope when it comes to telling love stories. Love is hurtful and messy, it's time to read and write more of those stories.

PS: I promise that I won't touch Kenya and Maurice if  when, while I write about a cheating wife. :)

3 comments:

Ronda Tankson said...

I'm not as addicted to Scandal as so many others I know, but I do watch it on occasion! It won't change the way I read romance novels because though romance novels can have a harsh side, there is still some softness to them. Scandal has no softness! All I see is this white man totally fixated on this amazing black woman and her constantly trying to fight it, ain't sh*t romantic about that!!!!

Synithia said...

I love Scandal and still can't believe how wrapped up I get in a romance based on infidelity. I guess it's because their love is complex and it didn't start as just two people trying to jump each other's bones. I don't condone cheating, but I know that it happens (a lot) and for many reasons. I would love to read more romances with these type of complex stories. I still need the HEA, but the heroine doesn't always have to be a picture perfect ideal of womanhood and the man a fantasy that can't get a boner unless he's thinking of the heroine. Mix a little reality in so I can relate.

Cheris Hodges said...

Great comments ladies. I still need my HEA as well, even if I have to shoot a few people -- the book (let me be clear) -- to get there. :)