Scandal's Bellamy Young Reveals Why Mellie Remains 'Hopeful' — Plus: Wiggy Flashback Alert!

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Scandal Preview Mellie Fitz OliviaOn ABC’s Scandal (Thursday, 10/9c), First Lady Mellie Grant made the ultimate sacrifice by inviting arch rival Olivia Pope to stand at Fitz’s side for the foreseeable future, running his reelection campaign. And while Liv has yet to accept the assignment, the overture crystallized the lengths to which Bellamy Young‘s Machiavellian magnolia will go to get what she wants — especially if, someday, maybe, that includes her husband’s affections.

TVLine invited Young to preview Mellie’s imminent foray into “fixing” a First Lady problem, reveal who’s about to “wig” out and ruminate on whether the First Marriage might possibly last.

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TVLINE | This week, it sounds like Mellie has some “image-improvement plan” in her head.
Well, it’s more thrust upon her. It’s Mellie trying to win back America’s hearts after they blamed her for Fitz’s adultery. So, she’s doing a documentary in the style of Jackie O, trying to curry favor by giving the public a behind-the-scenes tour of the White House.

TVLINE | And is Cyrus (played by Jeff Perry) on board with this?
Cyrus is happy that Mellie is busy, because idle hands and Mellie…. It’s not a good combination. Cyrus has his own game running on the sidelines, so he’s very, very happy that Mellie has got a ball of twine to be batting around.

TVLINE | Speaking of Cyrus, in flashbacks we’re going to learn how he, Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Mellie came to be this “team.” Will that include Cyrus realizing he’s got a handful in the prospective First Lady?
Cyrus is more focused on Fitz, sizing him up as a candidate and deciding whether or not to hitch his wagon to Fitz’s future. But what you will get is Jeff Perry in a spectacular bit of wiggage. If people just tuned in to see that, it would almost be worth it.

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TVLINE | What are we going to do about Sally Langston’s handsy husband? He seems sweet on the First Lady….
I can assure you that knowledge is power, and that Mellie and Cyrus will capitalize on that bit of knowledge. They know that Sally has a weakness, and you do not want to show a weakness to Mellie or to Cyrus.

TVLINE | I can’t imagine that you hire Jack Coleman to just play a flirty rube. He probably has some sort of game of his own in play, right?
Yeah, he’s no joke. He’s formidable, you’ll see. The storyline is worth the wait. You find out a lot this week.

TVLINE | It was rather magnanimous of Mellie to court Olivia (Kerry Washington) to run Fitz’s campaign. Do you think that’s because, above all else, Mellie’s a pragmatist?Scandal_Mellie_Asks_Olivia
It’s as if Mellie is chewing razor blades to have to ask anything of Olivia, much less that, but sometimes when you love someone, you have to do things that absolutely kill you. Mellie has a thousand-yard stare. Mellie’s playing the long game. Short-term casualties, herself included, don’t factor in her algorithm at all. She wants Fitz to love her yet sees how miserable he is without Olivia. She is, I think, hopeful that this Olivia thing will run its course, and when he comes to the other end of it, he will remember who was by him, who had his back, who was steadfast — and that’s Mellie.

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TVLINE | Even this many years into it, how much hurt do you think Mellie feels each time she looks at Olivia, each time she looks at Fitz looking at Olivia? As we saw in the bunker, she’s not numb to it.
No, no, no, not at all — every time is like a needle in the eye. Every time he gives Olivia a look that Mellie’s never seen… that’s a horrible, horrible thing to see happening in a man that you’re married to. It’s the greatest pain.

TVLINE | She can probably almost hear the “Olitz” musical cue whenever they look at each other.
[Laughs] Exactly, exactly.

TVLINE | Do you ever have trouble getting the word “whore” out?
[Joking] No, it seems to roll right off the tongue, Matt.

TVLINE | You manage to turn it into a multi-syllable word.
I’m Southern, so we like to add a whole symphony of vowels into even a monosyllabic word. We have a lot of emotions we need to get out, so we need more vowels!TONY GOLDWYN, BELLAMY YOUNG

TVLINE | Do you think that Mellie, deep down, craves the proper love of a better man? Does she harbor no illusions about her and Fitz finding “happily ever after” with each other?
No, I think she hopes, in that regard. As pragmatic as Mellie is, she is the eternal optimist when it comes to Fitz. She loves him to her own detriment. Someone asked me the other day, “If you could have a superpower, what would it be?” I said, “Bending other people’s will to my own” – and I think that’s really where she is with Fitz. She thinks if she is loyal and stoic and committed and sort of selfless, in a really embarrassing way, he will eventually love her. But you can’t make anyone’s heart do anything it doesn’t want to.

TVLINE | [Series creator] Shonda [Rhimes] was recently quoted as saying she has a specific, finite run in mind for Scandal. At the end of the day, when that final episode rolls around, what’s more important to you — that Mellie ends up with Fitz or that Mellie ends up happy?
Oh, what a good question….

TVLINE | Or that Mellie ends up triumphant, in case that and happy are not the same thing?
Right. And it’s interesting to parse that alone. I’m greedy, so I want both. I want her happy. In my perfect world, I’m president and Fitz is the First Gentleman and he loves me.

TVLINE | I think you’ve got Political Animals at that point.
[Laughs] As we said on our show, life is not a fairy tale. So, golly, I don’t know. But knowing Mellie, she’s a born survivor. She’s born to fight. I think she would choose Fitz, because he is a harder get and she’s always going to try for the brass ring.

TVLINE | You, Kerry and Tony have this fun, infectious rapport when working press events together. Does that obvious affection help you get through the gnarlier confrontational scenes?
It’s a cast of not-children, so we all are pretty grounded and pretty grateful. Everyone harbors no illusions that this moment that we’re in, 2013 Television Critics Association's Summer Press Tour - Disney/ABC Partywhich is so extraordinary, will be going on for the rest of our lives. Because of the quality of this material and the way that the Gladiators have found the love, we’re very, very, very blessed. On top of all of that, we genuinely love each other, because this whole bunch of people — writers, cast, crew, producers, everyone — is lovely. That makes for the greatest foundation, because you feel so safe. You never feel like you’ll be judged. You never think any risk is too risky. So when you’re on set, all you’ve got to do is live in the other person’s eyes, because they are there for you 1,000 percent, the same way you’re there for them. That makes everything be able to take flight.

TVLINE | If you and Kerry were each a diva, and you did not like each other at all off camera, I feel like your scenes would almost ring hollow, because there’s not that underpinning of warmth.
That’s interesting, and that’s awesome, and I’ve never thought about that. Thank you. I’m also going to say, from a pragmatic point of view, that because we talk that fast and because our scripts are really long, and because we go nine and 10 days-an-episode as it is, if anyone were pulling any attitude on set, it genuinely wouldn’t make our day. There’s just not time for it. You’ve got to work hard, and you’ve got to have fun, because we are lucky people.

Want more scoop on Scandal, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.



Comments (40)

  • Gosh. I may be in the mimority, but I love Mellie. And based on this interview, Bellamy seems to be a delightful woman too.

    Comment by Jon – November 13, 2013 07:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I do too! She’s my favourite character, I always look forward to her scenes.

      Comment by Cheli – November 14, 2013 12:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She´s my favourite caracther on the show, so I suppose we both are in the minority:)

      Comment by Mary – November 14, 2013 03:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I love to watch Mellie. I don’t know if I want her plans to ultimately succeed, but I love to watch her try.

      Comment by Alice – November 14, 2013 09:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You’re definitely not in the minority. She’s awesome!

      Comment by knd – November 14, 2013 12:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ‘sometimes when you love someone, you have to do things that absolutely kill you’
      Procuring a woman for your husband is a sign of love? Wow! That’s just twisted. And untrue. Mellie’s acting out desperation and ambition, nothing more. As women we need to stop lying to ourselves. Painting Mellie as a victim and Olivia as sexual labour is subscribing to ugly patriarchal stereotypes. Anyone who supports this should be ashamed of themselves.

      Comment by Bubble – November 14, 2013 12:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mellie Cyrus…

    Comment by Jon – November 13, 2013 07:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I had to LOL at that!

      Comment by Gina – November 13, 2013 11:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wish Bellamy Young would stop talking about how much Mellie loves Fitz since it makes the Mellie character less interesting and just pathetic. Especially because Mellie’s definition of love is skewed and we have not seen her be “selfless”. If you love someone, you want them to be happy so you let go and not hang on to make that person miserable. You cannot force love. Mellie is hanging on because she loves Power and cannot accept losing to Olivia.

    I preferred her character when she was cold and calculating in season one. She needs to focus on her own political career and stop talking about her brilliance and start actually doing something constructive to start a career. Mellie seems only willingly to ride on Fitz’s coat tail to political success unlike Sally and Josie Marcus who are out there battling without a man fronting them.

    Her ranting monologues are now boring. I don’t enjoy them anymore.

    Comment by Anon – November 13, 2013 08:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I detect no lies in your comment….. I concur

      Comment by Trini – November 13, 2013 08:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Omg. Thank u. I find Mellie ridiculously pathetic. And bellamy repeating the same thing all the time doesn’t change that.

      Comment by Lainey – November 13, 2013 08:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I loved S1 Mellie. I’m one viewer who did not ever need to see a “in love” Mellie. For me not the giving a damn about what Fitz did or Olivia is what drew me to the character of Mellie in the first place. It’s so many other directions they could have taken this character instead of making her the typical scorned bitter TV wife who’s hubby doesn’t want her. These writers could have found better/smarter/different ways to have a “struggle” for Mellie and loving somebody who doesn’t love her didn’t need to be that. Why does Mellie pain gotta be about a boy??? lol. Like BY acting but I’m so over her characters over blown speeches w/ no real reach or follow threw. I’m just ready for something NEW for Mellie.

      Comment by JH – November 13, 2013 08:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Exactly, Mellie is now portrayed as the stereotypical pathetic political wife – needy and clinging on for residual power. That is not the picture of a strong woman. I wish the writers had not done this 180 change on her character.

        For a woman in her late 40s maybe 50, she sounds like a whiny teenager waiting around and pining for the attention of someone of does not want her anymore. I get the impression that she only wants Fitz now because he found someone else and her ego is taking a beating. Mellie needs to Get a Life.

        Olivia may love Fitz but she is an independent successful business woman who and gets the job done for her clients and shows she can survive without him.

        This show needs to get back on track and have the women (Mellie, Olivia, Abbie, Quinn and even Sallie who the writers are now portraying as a jealous wife) focus less on the men in their lives.

        Comment by Anon – November 13, 2013 09:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • While Olivia Dad was telling her growing up that she needs to be twice as good to even get half, I guess Mellie Dad was telling her the only way you can achieve anything is by being the appendage of a powerful man. Sad!!!!!! You got Olivia who like you said while she does love Fitz has a whole life outside of him and then you have females like Josie and Sally trying to run the world Hell Abby left an abusive marriage & is now doing her thing. So what is Mellie doing again exactly? lol

          Comment by JH – November 13, 2013 09:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • No matter how indifferent you may feel toward your husband, you don’t want him falling in love with another woman. Mellie had no problem with Fitz screwing Olivia as long as it was just a booty call. When they fell in love it changed the whole game.

        Comment by Cheyenne – November 13, 2013 09:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Anon, I couldn’t have said it better myself. The “Mellie loves Fitz” and Mellie being “selfless” comment had me thinking what alternate universe is her version of Scandal playing in. Mellie has never done anything that wasn’t moving toward what benefits her and plays her ultimate agenda of having and/or being in power. And if Fitz is the idealistic idiotic man-child she says he is why does she want him? And since she claims to have made him what he is today and pushes him to be/do whatever she wants and he is less than ideal, why does she want him?

      I’d like to see BY’s interviews align with how the character is portrayed on TV and the dribble she spouted in this interview does not square up IMO. Mellie is manipulating, vindictive and feels threatened by Liv and how Fitz feels about Liv. She does everything to undermine Fitz as she tries to bend him to her will.

      When has Mellie ever had a plan that worked? She claims to be looking long range but when has Mellie ever thought long-range? She is all about the now. She claimed to be so intelligent yet she lacks common sense. She’s been involved in committing treason twice and is an accessory to murder after the fact, she induced Baby Teddy to hang on to Fitz, spoke out of turn to families of hostages in Afghanistan, tried pushing Fitz to act against Sudan…hell,the list goes on. And to think she wants to be President or run a war or the CIA. As Liv told Josie, I wouldn’t trust Mellie with the security codes.

      Comment by ebrown1206 – November 13, 2013 08:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • In the above interview BY says if Mellie could have a superpower it would be bending ppl to her will. That does not indicate love but the need to control everyone & everything around her.

        I don’t buy into the illusion that she loves Fitz. Everything he tries to stand for (idealism, optimism) she berates & puts him down eg the speech she gave when she confronted him about leaking Liv’s name. She is in love with the idea of what she wants him to be. She believes she is better than everyone especially Fitz because he is not like her or Big Jerry.

        Comment by anita37 – November 14, 2013 06:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Interesting cause I don’t get the vibe that Mellie loves Fitz at all. I think she’s just very driven and cold but somehow has managed to delude herself into thinking she loves Fitz idk. I do like her though.

    Comment by Catelyn – November 13, 2013 08:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t like how she said saying the word “whore” rolls off her tongue. It’s an ugly word and it makes me uncomfortable just hearing it every week. I know she’s just acting and understand she’s playing a “woman scorned” but Mellie uses it every week.

    Comment by Rcw – November 13, 2013 08:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I thought it was quite obvious she was joking, but I have qualified her response for maximum clarity.

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – November 13, 2013 08:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • it was obvious lol

        Comment by Phi – November 13, 2013 08:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Yeah. Thought so. Agendas!

          Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – November 14, 2013 07:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I can’t speak for anyone else but it wasn’t obvious to me either, till I read your ‘qualification’. This from someone who likes BY but has a love/hate relationship with Mellie.

            Comment by Euvee – November 14, 2013 09:05 AM PDT  
          • Nope. Wasn’t obvious to me at all. It’s a derogatory word. As a female, I’m offended. Don’t hate the actress or the character. But hate the word. It’s demeaning.

            Comment by Me – November 14, 2013 10:28 AM PDT  
          • It wasn’t obvious to me, and in a world so ready to call women whores at the drop of a hat, perhaps the only reason it’s obvious to you, Matt is because it’s a word you’ll never be called.

            Comment by Bubble – November 14, 2013 12:55 PM PDT  
      • It was very obvious, Matt. The tumblr group just hates Bellamy and Scott.

        Comment by Amy – November 14, 2013 08:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mmm yeah, I’d have to agree that I’ve never felt like there was a real unrequited love there in Mellie for Fitz. I actually find her almost psychopathic with that and how there isn’t a maternal bone in her body and how she looks down at everyone. Someone above hit the nail on the head with saying it’s just like she’s made herself believe she loves Fitz because it’s the way it should be and she isn’t truly self-aware.

    That being said though, lol, I think Bellamy Young’s a brilliant actress and a class act. She makes Mellie so fascinating and charismatic, you can’t help but respect and be in awe of her.

    Comment by Ian – November 13, 2013 09:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • THIS!!!

      Comment by Euvee – November 14, 2013 11:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Precisely. Mellie’s a dreadful, unbalanced woman, but she is VERY well acted by Bellamy Young.

      Comment by Bubble – November 14, 2013 12:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Another formidable character by Jack Coleman? This makes me very happy. I love that he is always bad news. :)

    Comment by dref22 (@dref22) – November 13, 2013 11:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bellamy’s rocking this role. Mellie has so many layers to her to just pigeon hole her into “scorned wife” or something similar is doing both her and the writers a huge disservice. That drunk table scene alone is worth a best supporting actress nom…

    Comment by sladewilson – November 14, 2013 02:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love Mellie, and Bellamy plays her with such depth and range. Easily the most interesting character on the show.

    Comment by Liam – November 14, 2013 02:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow! It definetly sounds like Bellamy Young knows the ending to Scandal. You would think such a strong character like Mellie, would have some pride amd dignity about herself, and would not want to constantly beg a man for his love.

    Comment by BJ – November 14, 2013 04:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Reading this thread it doesn’t sound like any of you have ever been in love. Sometimes you love someone and they don’t love you back. What Bellamy is portraying in ‘mellie’ is the most realistic type of love there is and a so ‘Un-Hollywood’ type of love story. This backstory episode might help you understand that.

    Comment by Shonda – November 14, 2013 07:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • No, Mellie is Not showing ‘realistic type of love there is and a so ‘Un-Hollywood’. She is showing the Hollywood myth about dysfunctional “love” – just hold on and he will come back to you.

      A real woman would kick his ass to the curb on her terms and move on to her own career. This image of Mellie is wrong on so many levels – a perversion of a strong woman. She is now shown as weak, needy, clingy with her endless ranting and raving. No, that is not the Mellie I want to see on Scandal.

      Comment by Anon – November 14, 2013 08:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I’m going to pretend like I’m Mellie and ride the coat tails of agreeing w/ your post instead of forgering ahead and creating my own……lol. If Mellie version of love is the defintion of so called RL or un-hollywood love you keep that mess. Can’t identify w/ the Mellies of the world version of love and damn sure don’t want to.

        Comment by Ricky – November 14, 2013 09:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh please, Mellie doesn’t love anybody but Mellie. She doesn’t even love her children and she definitely doesn’t love Fitz. She just hates him being in love with another woman.

      Comment by Cheyenne – November 14, 2013 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Mellie and BY’s portrayal of her. But I don’t think Mellie loves Fitz. I think she is codependent. They said vows, they decided on the white house run together. She had his kids for political gain and because she thought it would make him happy. To her that is love – choosing to hook your wagons together no matter what comes. Some small infidelities are allowed even expected but how dare Fitz break the pact and give his love to another woman?! He belongs to Mellie and therefore she will fight to keep him. And in her softer, defeated moments she’ll tell herself she is fighting for love. When all she really wants is to ride out on the horse she rode in on.

    Comment by bj – November 14, 2013 08:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I enjoy Mellie because I think she is entertaining. While I am a Fitz and Olivia fan, I could see where it would be hard for Mellie to give up on her marriage. I am not saying that she loves him but she probably does but we just don’t see it. Everyone says if you love someone you don’t do this or that but you just divorce them and be done with it? They are in politics, and he is the president, obviously divorce is probably not an option at this point considering he wants to run again.

    Comment by cas – November 14, 2013 09:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mellie said that life is a fantasy, because how do people live together for years knowing you hate certain things about people but you go on in order to get what you want. She appears to be a cold, calculating woman who will go to any means to get what she wants . She plays her part beautifully. I will be glad when Remington is over, it’s getting to the point where it’s getting tiresome every week to see Liv’s father have someone else killed.I cannot stand Eli or Rowan whatever his name is, it’s sickening to see how he kills people without any body being able to do anything about it. He is nothing more than a murdering undercover demon. I will be glad when he is gone.

    Comment by Lolita – November 15, 2013 06:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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