TV Club: Scandal: “First Lady Sings The Blues”

Cinematic storytelling offers a wide array of techniques storytellers can use to achieve maximum dramatic impact. One of those tricks is the strategic use of pop music, which Shonda Rhimes perfected with Grey’s Anatomy, though she’s been criticized for using evocative piano rock to convey emotion and significance when the writing and acting fall short. Non-diegetic scoring and pop music cues can be manipulative, and while Rhimes has obviously overshot the mark a few times in the 11-season history of Grey’s, the criticism of that show is unfair. If she hadn’t done it before, Rhimes proved with this week’s Grey’s shocker that she knows how to rouse emotion with words, and the music is just wrapping paper. The irony is that Rhimes is, in fact, guilty of musical manipulation, but Scandal, not Grey’s, is the smoking gun.

The opening minutes of “First Lady …

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