Tuesday, 6 April 2021

The Bold Type


I don’t usually write about TV shows but here goes.


Having noticed the show pop up on Amazon years ago (no exaggeration) I watched the trailer and just felt that it was just another show about women navigating love, life and work in New York at a women’s magazine. This would have appealed to me back when I was teenager but now in my thirties, I really don’t have time for this, what with all the murder mystery documentaries, Schitts Creek rewatches and weird sci-fi in between. I had been craving a show about friendship, particular female friendship for ages and sorry but Sex and the City is no longer for me either. I tried Firefly Lane and hated the format and got very bored with the characters. So, one night, I accidentally pressed play on The Bold Type which is now on Netflix. This was accidental as I’m still getting to grips with my new TV (generously donated to me by a friend). Admittedly I was hooked by the first episode and ended up watching 3 episodes before crawling into bed. And then I came back for more. A short time later, I am now mid-season 3, so the show must have something that keeps me coming back right? Yes and no is the complicated answer.


Just to give context to what the show is about, it follows three best friends, Sutton, Kat and Jane who are all in their mid-twenties and met as assistants at Scarlet magazine (a stand in name for Cosmopolitan). The show begins with Kat, now the director of social media, Sutton, assistant to the executive editor and Jane starting her first day as one of the writers. They all have particular quirks and distinctive personalities that unfold as the seasons go on. Jacqueline Carlyle, is editor-in-chief of Scarlet magazine, a woman all the main characters look up to. Carlyle is actually based on Joanna Coles who was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. The show is also inspired by her and she has an executive producer credit, so guessing there was a little influence there with how this character is represented.


The show focuses a lot on ‘hot topic’ issues of the moment and of our current times. Many things that are brought up each episode, not always the main focus, are relevant now, despite premiering in 2017. Some shows suffer as times goes on, topics become old and irrelevant. Global pandemic aside, nearly every single episode could have been made yesterday. Subjects about discovering your sexuality, body positivity, breast cancer awareness, sexual harassment, bullying in the workplace, whether having children in your twenties is right for you, putting your career before your love life, journalistic integrity, these are just a few covered.


The show makes a huge emphasis on the characters being millennials which, may put some people off BUT this is actually more accurate representation than I’ve seen in a long while and although I don’t work in fashion or publishing, there are many situations that I can relate to, topics I wish came up far more often in shows (especially in the UK). With my age, I am of the millennial generation, no way to avoid it and you can either embrace this fact or brush it off with little regard or appreciation with how much extra work our generation has had to endure. As much as the Gen-Zers like to think they run the world, millennials paved the way for them. Without going on a generation rant, The Bold Type was surprising, to me, at how much it covered in just the first season. Of course, there are scenarios that would never happen in real day to day life, but this is a TV show so you have to expect that.


There are quite a few moments during an episode where I roll my eyes a dozen times but in between all that I get the essence of what the show is trying to do. In all honesty I really don’t think the main characters are relatable, although the show tries to cover all bases with the three of them. I also don’t feel wholly invested in them personally. I much prefer the discussions of the topics of the episode. They are in fact, quite bland, which the expectation of Sutton in various episodes who seems to go through the ringer when it comes to her career (I can definitely relate there). The friendship between the main characters is fun to watch but I really don’t relate to this part either. They seem to have a go through each other for permission or debate on absolutely everything, to the point of co-dependency. The supporting characters in the show are however more interesting, such as Jacqueline Carlyle and her input always makes a great scene. Alex, the only male writer at the magazine, again, has great insight and offers sound advice to the main three. The various other characters that pop up from time to time too, they make the show worth watching.


I’ll continue watching the show as I’d like to see what is discussed next. I recommend this show for the same reasons I watch it, but also if you’re missing your friendship fix. Despite it being set at a magazine, don’t be expecting anything like Ugly Betty or Sex & the City as this is not that show.