‘Scandal’: Why Do the Characters Talk So Fast?

Scandal is a political thriller that earned legions of fans during its time on the air. Starring the beautiful, talented actress Kerry Washington, Scandal was created by Hollywood heavy-hitter Shonda Rhimes and received a slew of awards over the years.

Although the show went off the air several years ago, fans still love the show and many are just as invested in learning everything that they can about the intriguing thriller as they ever were when it was airing new episodes. This includes the fascinating reason why all the characters on Scandal seem to talk so insanely fast. 

When did ‘Scandal’ debut?

Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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Scandal first debuted on television in early 2012. When it premiered, there was nothing else like it on the air, and to this day, it stands as a sterling example of a political thriller combined with a juicy romantic drama.

The show, which is set in Washington, D.C., centers around the character of Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, and her crisis management firm. Olivia, who is tasked with aiding the President of the United States, ends up forming a relationship with the president, and must then balance the perils of romance along with maintaining her professional life.

Scandal ran for seven seasons and over the years, it focused on different characters in addition to Olivia Pope and her interpersonal relationships. This character-driven drama enabled the show to develop layers of intrigue, keeping viewers entertained week after week. The work that showrunners did served them well — and Scandal ended up receiving a boatload of awards and honors. 

‘Scandal’ received many awards

Washington received acclaim for her portrayal of Olivia Pope and was honored with an Emmy Award nomination, a People’s Choice Award, nomination, and many others. She also received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series in 2014.

In addition to Washington’s honors, showrunners like Shonda Rhimes received many awards, including the Peabody Award for Excellence in Television.

Sadly, Scandal went off the air in 2018, after one hundred and twenty-four episodes of thrilling political intrigue. While talk of a potential reboot still swirling, fans’ interest in Scandal hasn’t abated over the years.

The showrunners know just how beloved their series is as well — and in a 2017 interview, Shonda Rhimes opened up about Scandal, and revealed the interesting reason why all the characters seem to talk so rapidly. 

Why do the characters in ‘Scandal’ talk so fast?

There’s no doubt about it, the characters in Scandal seem to talk a mile a minute. As it turns out, the reason for that has to do more with the showrunners themselves than the actors delivering the dialogue.

In a 2017 interview, Shonda Rhimes and a handful of other executives on Scandal revealed that from the very beginning of filming, the fast-paced dialogue was a talking point behind the scenes. The pilot director stated that “the first couple of days, Shonda kept saying, “Faster, faster,” and I was running around like crazy trying to get everything done quickly. A day or so later, she said she was talking about the dialogue speed.”

Katie Lowes, an executive on the show, chimed in to say that “most drama scripts are 60 pages, and ours are 80 and change. The note every time: ‘Say it faster!'” Clearly, the fast dialogue didn’t lose the show any fans, and if anything, viewers got used to the way that the characters spoke.

These days, fans still recognize Scandal as one of the greatest television shows of the past several decades.