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Scandal: When Shonda Goes Sorkin, You Get Our New Guilty Pleasure

Shonda Rhimes has stepped out of her comfort zone of soapy medical dramas and into the world of politics with her new show Scandal. And while it isn't The West Wing by any means, it's definitely got the addictive qualities that have kept us watching Grey's Anatomy all these years, along with a cast that we might have assembled for our TV Fantasy League (maybe she can find a way to work in Adam Baldwin as a Secret Service agent at some point?). We've seen a few more episodes beyond the pilot, and though the series isn't groundbreaking or landmark television by any means, we're still hooked. Here's why:

Familiar Dynamics
Shonda does well with wide-eyed new girls in over their heads when they meet their mentors. She also does well with women having affairs with their male professional superiors (who just happen to have amazing hair). A character who doesn't believe in crying also sounds more than a little bit familiar. So this show, while not revolving around young doctors in love, is well within her wheelhouse in the interpersonal sphere.

The Aforementioned Fantasy Cast
You give us Desmond from Lost, West Wing's Will Bailey (not to mention Sports Night's Jeremy Goodwin), Paris Gellar from Gilmore Girls and throw in Mary Cherry from Popular and we're happy.

Strong Female Lead
We're girl-crushing hard on Olivia Pope. Kerry Washington is gorgeous and gives this character the formidable qualities she needs. She's got that "Don't fuck with me" look down pat. As we said earlier this week, we loved Dr. Bailey when she was tough-as-nails, and we're hoping that Olivia stays tough despite her flaws (occasionally screwing the President being among them).

The Romantic Entanglements
There are a lot of hookup possibilities here given the large amount of attractive people and longing glares that the first episode had. And the President seems like a bit of a whore, so that's definitely got potential. How many dogs has he bought, exactly?

The Gut
Olivia says about a million times that she has a gut instinct about people that she just trusts implicitly. Somehow here it doesn't annoy us the way it does when Emma on Once Upon a Time goes on about it. And, if the fate of our lives, or town, was in the hands of someone's ability to read people, we'd go with Olivia every time.

It's a Non-Legal Law Show
We're fans of legal dramas, but some are a bit dry. This one has a fresh twist. We could do without the overstated "gladiators in suits" assertion, but we do like that they skirt the law to manage a wide variety of crises, from a gay solider on a murder case to an infant held hostage to the next Monica Lewinsky scandal. It keeps us guessing and is far more entertaining than having to watch someone present a case before a quirky judge. Instead of being purely about the law, it's politics light.

The New Girl
There's adorably eager Quinn (Katie Lowes), who's in too deep and has an unhealthy obsession with Olivia Pope. She's got some Meredith/Lexie Grey qualities about her, but with a little dash of Alicia Florrick's idealism for good measure.

It's Fast and Flashy
The episodes move quickly, pack a lot of information into short scenes and cover a lot of ground. The pilot alone juggled three major cases while also establishing the personal backgrounds of countless characters. We can appreciate the frenzy, and if they could find a way to put in some more walking and talking, we'd like it even more.

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