Fact checking The Bold Type: 'Legends of the Fall Issue'
Welcome to Fact-Checking The Bold Type! A weekly post where we recap the week’s episode, but also add some insight into which of the editorial storylines would actually happen at a magazine — since, you know, EW is one of those! Let’s get into it.
Jacqueline is out immediately: Accurate
Last season ended with Jacquline going behind the ever-present board’s back and publishing (or at least attempting to) an inclusive fall issue they had not approved. As a result, she’s no longer editor in chief of Scarlet Magazine and when the girls show up to work in the season 4 premiere, her office is already being packed up and her treadmill wheeled out. Sadly, this is a pretty accurate representation of how quickly people leave magazine jobs once they’re let go. What does seem a little odd is that the staff only found out about the firing after they arrived at the office to find boxes, but no Jacqueline. Surely, there was time to call an all-staff meeting to let them know they were about to be leader-less?
We convene in closets for secret convos: Accurate
Left feeling lost, the girls — of course — head to the fashion closet to come up with a plan. Not going to lie, secrets being shared in a closet is pretty much a daily staple at EW. Sadly, we don’t have a fashion closet here, but we got books! Lots of them! And they need a home. Oh, if those pages could talk… Anyway, while the gals chitchat, Alex utters this absolutely devastating truth: They’re going to “fire half of us, turn the other half into freelancers churning out spawn con 24/7.” In magazines? Never! I digress, the ladies come up with a plan to talk to Richard, Patrick, and Jacqueline. Naturally, Jane leaves work in the middle of the day to go see her former boss without so much as telling anyone. Here’s the thing about magazines, just like any other job, WE CAN’T JUST WALK OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MORNING TO DRINK WINE IN A LUXURY CONDO. We also, ya know, have bosses to report to, and stories to report, and constant deadlines to meet — pretty sure Scarlet didn’t become Safford’s best-selling mag with that lax attitude to work, Tiny Jane. Meanwhile, Alex and Sage taste wine for a roundup on rosés (a dumb, done-one-million-times-before story that would only need one writer) and Kat is summoned by the head of the board, R.J. He informs Kat that they will not be publishing Jacqueline’s last issue. I’m pretty sure Kat is not the most senior person left at Scarlet so it seems wildly inaccurate that she would be the first on the team to hear this massive news. Also, it seems unlikely she would have to be told to make sure her tweets etc. were consistent with Safford’s message regarding Jacqueline’s departure. Surely, the publisher’s PR team would handle all of that and give her the statement to relay, which she would whether she likes it or not.
Uber-ing from the city to New Jersey and back again on a junior(ish) journalist’s salary is do-able: Inaccurate
Having sipped morning wine with Jacqueline, Jane gathers that her former boss is feeling okay about her termination because she knows the magazine is coming out and everyone will see the important work. Eek, about that… Since the groundbreaking issue isn’t actually being published, (after much rosé) Jane, Sutton, and Kat come up with the masterplan to head to the printing facility in Piscataway, N.J., to grab a few copies so Jacqueline can at least see it. Since they don’t have an ID pass to get in, the girls sneak in under the gate and “flirt” their way to a few issues. On the way home, they realize that Jacqueline isn’t the only one who needs to see this issue: everyone involved in making it does too! So, they decide to drop some mags off in Tribeca, Bushwick, and Queens. Can we talk about how much that Uber ride would cost? I looked into to it and it’s at least $150 one way. Maybe Kat makes okay money, but a writer who’s only been on the job a couple of years and a fashion assistant would absolutely be taking good old N.J. transit to the Garden State and back, and then the subway to dot around the boroughs making deliveries. Sorry to burst that glamorous bubble.
The unissued magazine is leaked and The Cut publishes it: Accurate (mostly)
The next morning, Jane wakes up to find that the unpublished issue has leaked online with The Cut posting Jacqueline’s editor’s letter. A version of this would 100 percent happen in real life. Another publication could publish an editor’s letter or even an internal memo, or the issue would find its way online and an outlet like The Cut would write that story up. Regardless, the fact that Jane can’t believe it happened is kinda hilarious. Everyone at Scarlet is pretty delighted the magazine got out, apart from maybe Patrick who announces there’s a team working on the leak and they’ll find out who was behind it very soon! He doesn’t understand why someone would risk their job over it, so Kat explains it’s about more than a job, it’s about the soul of Scarlet Magazine. Then she pretty much tells her new boss that he’s soulless. Girl, he’s your BOSS!!
Meanwhile, Sutton confesses their crime to Richard, who is more than a little alarmed. He lets them know that it’s only a matter of time before they’re caught and if Safford presses charges, they could lose more than just their jobs. But, hey, at least the social media reaction has been fab! Indeed, people from all over the country are coming out against Safford for censoring the issue. Kat, as always, is struck by a masterplan! What if they can make getting caught not matter? Since R.J. only fired Jacqueline for business reasons — advertisers in middle America worrying the issue wasn’t in line with their brands — Kat figures that once he sees the tweets from all over the country supporting the unpublished issue, he’ll realize it’s actually bad business to keep her out. So, once more, Kat gets in front of the board (seriously there has to be at least one person more senior at this magazine?) and successfully argues that the old E.I.C. should be reinstated and the issue released. R.J. goes in person to tell Jacquline the news. (Pretty sure he could’ve delegated that task!) Also, how is everyone on first name terms with R.J.? I guarantee you no social media editor, writer, or fashion assistant would so much as recognize the company’s CEO in an elevator, let alone storm a meeting and tell him his game plan isn’t working out.
The magazine becomes “dotcom” only: Accurate
First, let’s just say that no one, ever calls the website the “dotcom.” It’s been a point of ridicule on Twitter for seasons — just say online or the website or digital! (Granted they don’t actually use the term in this episode, but I’d bet the price of an Uber to Piscataway, N.J, it comes up a bunch of times this season.) Anyway, part of R.J.’s deal in reinstating Jacqueline was that the magazine would be solely digital now. By this point, countless magazines have gone from having a print and digital component to just existing online. It’s a sad truth. What’s less truthful to real life, is Jacqueline — who admits it herself — doesn’t really know much about the digital side of things, and since Patrick is opting out, is pretty much left alone to helm this transition. Also, it’s likely a LOT of jobs were cut when Scarlet lost its print side, but we hear nothing about that…
Sutton orders the second-cheapest tequila at the bar: Accurate
What? This is New York and we work in magazines, of course we’re not ordering top shelf! The girls gather to celebrate saving Jacqueline with nasty tequila and Ryan shows up too, having cut his book tour short. They all luxuriously stand around in a very spacious NYC bar (inaccurate) and Richard tells Sutton he’s going to take a sabbatical soon to help with his friend’s startup in San Fransisco, then heads off to buy them all a better class of drink. Just then, Luke, one of the guys who modeled in the fall issue, comes over and lets them know it was he who sent it to The Cut. Hold up, Richard! Luke needs a drink too!