With the third season wrapping up with a bang (seriously, that cliffhanger was super unfair, guys!) just last month in June, The Bold Type is on my mind and I can’t help but thinking about it pretty much all the time and there’s a huge question that replays again and again and again – why is this show not watched more and talked about more?
If you’ve been paying attention to my GoodReads or even just my reviews lately, you’ll probably notice a pattern. I’m in the mood for contemporary! Even though fantasy is my favorite genre with science fiction coming in at a close second, it is literally the last thing on earth I want to consume right now. I’m eating up all of the contemporary right now – Kasie West, Sandhya Menon, Aminah Mae Safi, and so on.
I was in the mood for a contemporary TV show after putting so much time and emotion into Game of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale. My best friend, Meghan, recommended The Bold Type and I forgot about it for a week or so until it was my day off and I needed something to watch while I got some things done around the apartment. I remembered the recommendation and decided to put it on.
I was hooked IMMEDIATELY. Where had this show been my whole life? Why weren’t more people talking about it? I’m not sure if its because its a female heavy show or because its on Freeform but genuinely, why are people not talking about this more?
The show chronicles the lives of three best friends – Jane, Sutton and Kat, who all work in different positions for the same magazine, Scarlet. Jane has just been promoted to a staff writer and is struggling to find her place – she wants to write serious journalism but she also knows that Scarlet is all about every aspect of feminism, including sex and beauty, etc. Sutton has been stuck in a personal assistant’s position for years and is dying to get into the fashion department. Kat is the confident social media expert but goes through a lot in discovering different parts of her identity, including her biracial background and her realization that she is capable of falling in love with anyone, regardless of gender.
The show itself is loosely based on the life of real life former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Joanna Coles, who is also an executive producer for the show. In fact, a huge number of women are involved in the making of this show.
And seriously, what a show it is. Its funny. Its bold. The fashion is to die for – and this is coming from a girl who is strictly jeans, a tank top and converses allll the time. Its witty. Its relevant. Its refreshing as all hell. I genuinely wish more people were talking about it!
First off, I love that each character is so dynamic and, while they could have each easily fallen into stereotypes or tropes, they don’t. There are definite moments where they are typical of their characters but they really stand out as these real women with hopes, dreams, likes, dislikes, mistakes, and so on. They face these real situations. Of course the plot lines of the episodes are dramatized for television and story and to keep us watching but at the very base of each story is realism and I think the genuine nature of the characters and what they go through is really relatable. A lot of the contemporary television shows that I’ve watched in the past with characters around my age or a bit younger tend to make me feel like…that’s not life. That’s not how my life works. That is not what I go through, what I struggle with or even how I live and this show completely does that. Whether its something the girls are dealing with in their relationships, their jobs, their social life, the political environment, social media, whatever it is – I honestly felt like it was something I could relate to.
Secondly, everything about this show is so positive when it comes to women and their relationships with each other and others. Jane and Sutton and Kat have such great conversations with each other and they’re so positive with one another. Of course, they are friends, they disagree, they say the wrong thing, they make mistakes but at the end of the day, they are completely about lifting each other up, giving each other support, choosing their friends, being there for their friends. It was so beautiful and so refreshing to see friendships like this portrayed on screen.
I also love how strong the women are individually. They know what they want and they go for it and when they don’t, they work really hard to figure it out. They make hard choices, whether to step away from a relationship that could hold them back from their career or stepping away from a job they love to learn more and gain more experience, and I really love that. They’re real women. They embrace everything that is wonderful about being a woman, and really are multi-faceted. I love that. I hate this idea that you can’t be many different things. They’re fierce feminists, they drink, they’re smart, they have sex, they wear great clothes. Its just so refreshing. I feel like I may repeat that over and over again but its so true that its refreshing. They are from different backgrounds, they are diverse, they are queer, they are different and I love it.
I also loved the relationship that they had with their boss, Jacqueline Carlyle, and her relationship with them. She was tough on them, pushed them, encouraged them to get out of their comfort zones, had them asking questions and learning but was always encouraging, always cared about them as people, was always compassionate and understanding. Look, Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada is a fantastic character and Meryl Streep cannot be touched but there’s just something about Jacqueline that I love and that I really feel like is needed, both on screen and off. So often, we’re just this world of push, push, push, compete, compete, compete and its nice to have a show that showcases a boss who cares about her company, her magazine and the employees who make it all possible.
Something that I think a lot of TV shows do but sometimes fail to do genuinely is tackle real world issues and current topics of conversation. The Bold Type takes on a lot of things that are current to our world and to the conversations we are having and all of them feel genuine and so timely and they not only continue the conversation, but they potentially open it up for those who may have not been included before. There are episodes that tackle gender inequality, sexuality, race, religion, reproductive health, sexual harassment and abuse and rape and so much more. There’s are episodes where Kat encounters racism and sexism and homophobia. A male coworker learns a lesson about how a sexual encounter wasn’t the same experience for his female companion. Jane deals with having the BRCA gene and making the decision to freeze her eggs. Sutton has a gun and loves the memories it has for her when she was in the shooting club back at her high school but it becomes a difficult topic for her and Jane. So many relevant stories in the show and it feels so timely and right to have them there.
Lastly, and perhaps this is my absolute favorite part of the show, is the fact that this show is so incredibly sex positive. I cannot describe how blown away and happy and impressed I was with the way this show handles sex in that it treats it like it should be. Its natural, its fun, it can be a complicated experience, it requires consent, always, but its something that’s hugely important when it comes to relationships (unless, of course, you are asexual! That isn’t something they’ve tackled yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did!). Sutton is the more promiscuous and sexually adventurous one, even when she’s in her long term relationship with Richard but never once do you feel like this is a negative thing. Sutton likes sex, she uses toys and watches porn and is unashamed and its just the best. Jane is a person who takes a little more time to discover her sexuality and I love that there’s a whole episode about her striving to have an orgasm and the difficulties that can be there when trying to achieve an orgasm. I love that Kat has to discover what sex is in a queer relationship and how that is a conversation she has with Adena because this is not something we see enough and its so needed. This show displays three mature responsible adult women have sex, in relationships, not in relationships, and being safe and open and honest about their sex lives. I think that’s fantastic, not only as an adult now, but as an adult who knows her teen self would have loved this. I’m grateful that teens now have this.
I could honestly go on and on and on and on about this show and I feel like I have already but I truly love it. I cannot wait to get more. Yes, the stories are great, yes, it keeps me hooked. Yes, that cliffhanger in season 3 makes me want season four RIGHT NOW, but its more than that. This show is different, different from shows I’ve seen in the past, even the shows I’ve already liked. Any show that can keep me interested with good stories about strong, independent, sex positive, feminine, amazing women who are also diverse in race and economic background and sexuality and so much more. I truly love this show and I cannot even begin to explain why you need to stop reading this now and log onto Hulu and start watching it NOW. You’ll fall in love with it, just like I did.