This post includes spoilers for Thursday night’s episode of Scandal.
With all the nude selfies getting leaked on the Internet and hacks of the supposedly self-destructing pictures and videos on Snapchat, parents have a reason to be worried about what their teens are recording and sharing. Our private lives aren’t so private anymore. That’s even true for the President’s kids — or, well, a fictional president’s kids.
Last night on Scandal the president’s daughter Karen filmed what D.C. fixer protagonist Olivia Pope called “the dirtiest sex tape I’ve ever seen in my life.” I know, it sounds like a problem you’ll never have to deal with in your life. But if a teen can slip her secret service detail to attend a party and “Eiffel Tower” with some guys (look up at your own risk), then parents should be in full-blown panic mode about what their non-guarded kids are doing.
Olivia’s job is to manage crises, and Karen’s dad Fitz is the damn president of the United States. Surely we can learn a little something from them about what to do if your kid makes a sex tape. Here’s the step-by-step list:
1. Be outraged
The mean parent, in Scandal‘s case President Fitz, should yell things like, “Start talking, now,” to get a clear idea of how bad the situation is. You may uncover information like that your daughter hitched a ride on “someone’s father’s jet” to get to the party in question. (N.B. Apparently if your kid does not attend the most expensive boarding school in the country, you’re already ahead of the game.)
2. Flirt with the “fixer” handling your child’s case
Oh, you didn’t hire Olivia Pope to handle this? Good luck.
3. Lie to other parent about why child is home
Because there’s no way she’s going to find out about this eventually, right?
4. Use hyper-advanced computer software to locate the other people in the sex tape
Apparently typing in a lot of code with the words “tattoo” and “arm” can determine whether a guy in a blurry party pictures tagged #swaggapalooza has a tattoo or not, give you all his information and thus help you track down the tape. Sure.
5. Be forced to admit that there’s a sex tape to your spouse because she thinks you’re having an affair with the fixer who is suddenly hanging around the house all the time (which you are…but whatever)
In defense of yourself, you should probably accuse your spouse of being a bad mother and thus being ultimately responsible for the sex tape. When tempers are high, it’s always best to blame someone else. Expect a response from your spouse like, “She takes after her daddy, then, doesn’t she?”
6. Have one of the fixer’s assistants intimidate the guy in the sex tape
May I suggest saying things like, “I know who you are, Bobby,” and then listing off a bunch of personal factoids about the person in a fast, staccato voice. That tends to scare to crap out of people. Oh, grabbing them by the throat and threatening to destroy their lives works, too.
7. Once that person has coughed up the name of the third person in the sex tape who actually has the video (scandalous, right?), bring in that teen’s parents for a negotiation
These parents will probably blackmail you for a lot of money because people are the worst.
8. Kiss the fixer
This will take your mind off of the whole blackmail thing.
9. Deal with the parents
When the parents ask for another $500,000 (again, people are the worst), photograph them with the check and say that you will send it to the tabloids, who will write that they are child pornographers. See, this is why you hire a fixer.
10. Talk to your kid
Actually, the best parenting advice comes from a surprising source in this episode: First Lady Mellie Grant.
Mellie doesn’t slut-shame her daughter. She tells her that if she felt empowered and happy by her sex act she would “have a tiny seizure inside,” but still be supportive of Karen and happy for her. “But I don’t think that’s why you did it,” Mellie says. And the two talk about how Karen has been depressed since her brother died in front of her, “which means you get one free pass. This was it. You do not get another.”
Mellie also teaches Karen the life lesson that the world sucks: “It’s definitely sexist. If you were a boy, they’d be giving you high fives.” Well played, Mellie.
So there you have it: hire a fixer if you can, turn the tables on anyone who tries to blackmail you and don’t slut-shame your kid. As Olivia Pope would say: “It’s handled.”