We gave it a B+
Based on Joanna Coles’ experience as editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Bold Type — on which Coles is a producer — takes viewers inside the world of a women’s magazine (one of pop culture’s favorite settings). More specifically, the new Freeform show follows three twentysomethings as they navigate careers at the fictional Scarlet Magazine — and, of course, romance in New York City. Those twentysomethings are Jane (Katie Stevens), the newly promoted writer; Kat (Aisha Dee), the social media director; and Sutton (Meghann Fahy), the assistant who’s trying desperately to find her next step.
In the two-hour series premiere, we watch as Sutton navigates a relationship with a superior; Kat begins to question her sexuality when she meets Adena, a Muslim artist who gets Kat to think about bigger issues than digital traffic; and Jane’s journey as a writer forces her to reveal personal details about herself to the public. Together, the three women are just trying to make it. Sure, they’re trying to make it while living in amazing apartments and wearing designer clothes, but taking the fantasy out of it, The Bold Type offers a modern take on both the journalism industry and the issues facing young women today. The role social media plays in our jobs (and lives)? Kat’s got it covered. The fact that not all women voice their grievances in the bedroom? Welcome to episode 2.
At the center of it all are Dee, Stevens, and Fahy, whose characters are just as concerned about their careers as they are their love lives and whose chemistry will determine the show’s success. Thankfully, the three actors are easily believable as friends, and with each episode, that chemistry grows, helping make even the more out-there stories — Jane needs help removing a Yoni egg from her, um, nether region — work.
It’s natural to draw comparisons to other pop culture that has touched on similar stories: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days — Jane’s a writer who wants desperately to get her hands on something meaningful! — or Sex and the City (but with millennials and a focus on empowerment). At different points in time, I got both of those vibes from the premiere (along with about 10 more). The Bold Type isn’t reinventing the wheel, but what it is doing is providing a female friendship that’s easy to root for and a show that’s easy to watch.
At times, its women-supporting-women message is a bit cheesy — particularly when it comes to Melora Hardin’s Jacqueline, who’s more of a mother figure than a boss — but when set in today’s world, it can also be a welcome bit of fantasy.
More than anything, The Bold Type is just plain fun. There are no murder mysteries or shocking twists. But in a television landscape filled with post-apocalyptic dystopias and life-or-death scenarios, The Bold Type is your chance to kick back and just enjoy. It’s like a cool breeze on a humid New York day (though, to be clear, a humid day wouldn’t stop the women of The Bold Type from looking fabulous).
We wrote a react for this episode, which means we’ll just be checking in occasionally, but if this is a show you’d like to read about each week, please let us know! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback and suggestions.