I have a few movies that I have on my laptop for watching on plane purposes. They are PG13 and generally inoffensive because I don’t know what kind of person will be sitting an inch to my left, so I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with anything that had nudity or a lot of violence in it. One of those movies is The Devil Wears Prada – which is, in general, a better movie than it is a book, but I have a lot of thoughts about the expectations of friends and boyfriends when it comes to young women and demanding careers.
When I first saw previews for The Bold Type, I thought that maybe it was a Prada-esque set up. It was billed as “inspired by the women who write at Cosmo” and I was a little concerned. It’s on Freeform, the cable channel that used to be ABC Family. ABC Family shows tended to be a mixed bag WITHIN THE SAME SHOW (the hyper-moralizing and hyper-tawdryness of Make It or Break It was a MESS). So I had questions.
Y’all, The Bold Type is my show of the summer.
The Bold Type is about three young women working at Scarlett, one of the leading fashion magazines published out of New York City (So, Cosmo). When the series starts, Jane just got promoted to staff writer, Kat is the Social Media manager for the magazine, and Sutton is an assistant with dreams of moving into fashion.
Jane’s true calling is political writing, and one of her challenges is figuring out the balance between the articles that get attention (BUTT FACIALS) and the ones that are pure politics. She’s driven but also young. Kat is very good at her job, and a big part of her arc has been through a Muslima activist she met in the course of her job, where attraction and sparks fly. Kat has to negotiate a first same sex relationship (QUEER POC REPRESENTATION WHAT) when she’s just not good at relationships. Sutton is my fave: she goes for a job as a fashion assistant, ends up learning how to negotiate and advocate for herself, and those skills branch out into other parts of her life. My precious baby, you’ll be running that place someday.
The true love story of this series is the friendship between these three women. They are the kind of friend who will help you remove a yoni egg when it gets stuck in your vagina. They’ll drop anything to support each other. They know each other’s deepest secrets, they celebrate their successes, and they comfort each other in losses. They are ride-or-die. It’s the best. The chemistry between the actresses is off-the-charts, and only makes the true love of the three more textured and layered.
The editor-in-chief, Jacqueline, is played by Melora Hardin, from The Office and Transparent. Like Miranda Priestly, Jacqueline wants a fantastic magazine that’s relevant, profound, and high-quality, but unlike Miranda, she rules with respect. She supports her writers, while also pushing them to be the best she knows they can be. She recognizes that a lot of her staff are young and still figuring out the world, so she gives them some structure to grow while still setting expectations. I love that she is a strong, female boss giving explicit lessons on how to handle oneself in a career to both our heroines and the audience. Jacqueline sees her job as making sure there’s a next generation to carry on, and that they’re prepared. I love her character so much. She is based on Joanna Coles, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmo. Coles is an executive producer on the show.
One of the more recent episodes was full of young women making healthy good, choices: ending relationships that aren’t giving them what they want, or learning how to be a good boss and manage people. It was so refreshing to see our heroines making good choices, even if the bad choice would be better for “Drama” or whatever.
This being set at a fashion magazine, there’s some GREAT clothes happening (there’s also some….questionable…. things happening, but what do I know about high fashion? Nothing. Not a thing). The show never insults our heroines for working at a fashion magazine. The show doesn’t insult the audience either. The show touches on special topics, like the BRCA gene, female orgasm, and internet harassment, along with a constant threaded pairing of “Choices you make about your career are important” and “You have to be on your own side.”
I love this show so much. It’s so good, and so respectful of its characters and audience. And it’s fun! It will give you representation of women, friendship, queerness, strong female bosses, good relationship choices, good career choices, amazing shoes, and the power of standing up for yourself and standing up for your friends and fighting the patriarchy and standing up for the less privileged.
You guys, I’m crying trying to tell you why I love this show so much and I swear to God I am not drunk right now.