That scene from Anatomy of a Scandal – is this the dumbest TV moment ever? | Drama

RRight now, Netflix it is a swirling vortex of unanswered questions. There is the question of how you will respond to all your recently lost subscribers. There is the question of whether or not it will start allowing advertising on its platform. But mostly, miles above that, the biggest mystery of all time, is how the heck Anatomy of a Scandal got to be so popular.

If you haven’t seen it, Anatomy of a Scandal represents the latest step in David E. Kelley’s malicious plan to produce nastier hour-long dramas about objectively horrible rich people than any other person in history. This time, David E Kelley’s One Idea has moved to London; or at least a cartoon version of London where the whole world is a cut-glass steeple and the House of Commons looks like it’s been hastily made of plywood.

And it’s terrible. Anatomy of a Scandal is a courtroom drama that revolves around a twist so stupid it can realistically only be answered with a weary sigh. It’s so ridiculously lit and staged that it seems as if the entire series has been dragged into your TV settings and deliberately reinstalled motion smoothing out of spite. The only good performances are those that (like Joshua McGuire’s exhausted political adviser) seem to be aware of the continuing idiocy around them. It’s really not very good at all.

Why then, despite all this, is Anatomy of a Scandal so popular, currently the most watched Netflix show in the world? I’m glad you asked. Here is my theory. It’s because of the final shot of the first episode, which is perhaps the most gloriously stupid thing ever done on television. If you don’t want it to spoil, get out now.

So episode one is about MP charm rupert friend admitting to his wife that he had a brief affair with a colleague. He gets over the scandal but, just as the ruckus begins to die down, he is accused of rape. How does Rupert Friend, the star of this seemingly prestigious and sanctimonious legal drama, react to the accusation? Here’s how: literally flying backwards through the air in slow motion, as if thrown backwards by an invisible explosion.

This happens completely without warning, by the way. Rupert Friend flying through the air comes after a complete episode of almost total nothing. It’s like John Woo found out how boring it was going to be and jumped out of a helicopter to make things better at the last minute.

Now, you’re not going to stop looking after something like that, are you? You’re going to sit on your couch, stunned beyond comprehension, and perhaps inspect your drink like an incredulous homeless man in a 1930s cartoon. rape literally flying backwards through the air, in the middle of the street, like a rag doll, or did I just suffer a debilitating blunt force trauma to the base of my skull? And while you’re sitting there wondering if you really just witnessing something as silly as that, Netflix skipped the credits and started autoplaying the next episode.

Anatomy of a Scandal, still from Netflix, starring Sienna Miller
Sienna Miller, who plays Sophie Whitehouse. Photography: Netflix

And then, just when you barely managed to scrape the erased fragments of your exploded mind, it happens again. Although the second episode of Anatomy of a Scandal is just as sad as the first, it ends (again, with nothing resembling a warning) with sienna miller falling backwards out of an imaginary elevator and falling in slow motion through an empty courtroom. Nobody knows why. There is no explanation. There really isn’t much of a point. It’s just something that happens, presumably to push you back into the same cluster migraine fugue state you just escaped from, so episode three can sneak onto your screen without you knowing.

Of course, by now you will have figured out the formula. Anatomy of a Scandal is a bad Channel 5 courtroom drama buoyed by deeply stupid moments of heavy-handed fantasy sequences. So you check out the third episode just to see how it ends, and it ends with the camera panning as Aimee Mann’s song from Magnolia plays. So you click “next episode” and immediately go to the end and like clockwork Michelle Dockery is facing her younger self.

At this point, you no longer care about the plot of Anatomy of a Scandal. You’re simply fast-forwarding through the episodes to see what moment of ill-adjusted tonal weirdness madness will come next. And, the moment one character says “I can look you in the eye” to another character, before they suddenly plunge into what can only be described as the set of Meat Loaf’s I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Don’t I’ll do that) just so you can stare into each other’s eyes very closely, you’re finally satisfied. You’ve watched an entire series just to see how stupid it can get. And Netflix recorded this data accordingly.

And that’s why Anatomy of a Scandal is so popular.

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