Fact checking The Bold Type: '#Scarlet'
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.
We kick things off with this episode of The Bold Type in an uncomfortable position for Jane — literally. After testing positive for the BRCA mutation a couple of seasons back, Jane is undergoing a routine breast exam to check for cancerous cells. Luckily she’s brought Sutton and Kat along for moral support and to grimace in sympathy pain with her while the testing contraption painfully compresses her breast. Once she’s done, Jane is dismayed to find out that the doctor won’t have her results for a couple of days. Preoccupied with the pending results, she’s distracted at work and even in her sleep, where she repeatedly has baffling sex dreams about Ryan that wind up with him either in doctors’ scrubs or disappearing mid-act. When she finally calls to get her results, she’s overcome with emotion to learn that she has the all-clear, admitting she was more afraid than she let herself realize. But when the weird dreams persist, Jane realizes they’re actually manifesting her mistrust of Ryan, who cheated on her last season.
On the work-front, Scarlet is gearing up for its first big digital cover now that the print edition has been discontinued. Of course, they need a cover by the launch party on Friday (good ol’ R.J. insists!) so everyone in the room (being all three writers, the fashion director, and social media editor) is brainstorming possible ideas. In the end, it’s Jacqueline who comes up with the concept to launch the digital mag with a tribute to print, by collating all their covers from over the years into one stylized collection, covering 6 decades of fashion along the way. They also bring in Scarlet‘s first-ever editor in chief to interview and enlist celebrities they featured before they were famous — including America Ferrera and Kerry Washington — for video testimonials. Jacqueline also asks Kat to reach out to a singer they previously did a story on named Bella Diaz. Kat hesitates and we later learn it’s because when she last met with her, Bella had asked for Kat’s help in coming out in that issue of Scarlet, but Kat didn’t end up going through with it when Bella’s manager intervened and asked her not to. When Kat goes to the studio to meet with Bella this time, she apologizes for not following through and Bella tells her not to worry because coming out isn’t as important to her as it was then. Later, Kat comes across some old pics of Bella with her pianist and realizes something was going on between them. When she talks to Bella about it at the launch party, the singer tells her they were in love, but the pianist split when Bella didn’t come out. Kat shares her own story about meeting Adena and coming out, but Bella says she’s still not ready.
Speaking of being ready, Richard is very quickly preparing to head out to San Fransisco for the job opportunity at his friend’s start-up. There’s just one problem: Safford no longer offers sabbaticals so Richard is now having to quit his job in order to go. Sutton encourages him to go ahead regardless but then starts worrying about this being a more longterm situation than she originally expected. Her concerns are exasperated by the fact that she and Richard haven’t been having sex recently, and when he blows her off in the elevator for an appointment, she complains to the girls that everything is changing too quickly — indeed, Richard plans to fly out to the west coast that Saturday! But, oh boy, does Richard make it up to her. Not only does he find her at the Scarlet digital launch party (which, natch, is super glam; Billie Jean King, Ayesha Curry, and Margaret Cho send in video messages and Jacqueline’s assistant Andrew appears as a fabulous drag queen) and steal her away to have sex in the conference room, but he also asks her to marry him once they’re done dirtying the boardroom table. It’s pretty romantic since this is the place he first set eyes on her. Plus, the ring is HUGE.
Later that night, Jane is saved from having to come clean with Ryan about her trust issues by a text from Sutton asking her to come over to Kat’s place. Once they’re all there, Sutton shows them the ring and they all jump and scream in excitement. Back at her palatial apartment, Jacqueline isn’t having such an enjoyable time. Her husband quite unceremoniously tells her that — fed up with putting his career on hold for hers — he’s off to Ukraine to cover the Russian invasion. Proshchay, Ian!
A fact check or two:
- Any person who works at a digital publication referring to the website as “the dotcom”: Inaccurate (and yes, I will repeat this every time).
- The editorial team has less than a week to turn around the digital launch, come up with/book/shoot etc. a digital cover, and plan and throw a party to celebrate it: Inaccurate.
- Jane asks the editor in chief (who, as you learned above, has less than 5 days to launch* a digital platform) if she can move back to her old desk: Inaccurate. We have wonderful people called Managing Editors who handle requests like these.
- (*Jacqueline keeps referring to the website “launch” but Scarlet has always had a digital platform so it’s really more of a relaunch or just an upping of their digital game.)
- The social media manager is responsible for getting video testimonials from celebrities: Inaccurate. Scarlet needs to hire a video team STAT, though I’m assuming that’ll come along with the TV studio that’s being set up. Also, there’s no way those celebs would turn in those videos in time, under that crunch.
- Jacqueline tells her staff that the website is a very different beast with shorter pieces, faster turn around, and more POV pieces: Kinda inaccurate. Sure, some of the digital pieces will be shorter, but the internet has infinite space, so often stories that are restricted by word count in book can live in a much longer fashion online. As for turn around, they might find themselves working against the clock in some ways, but often there’s more lead time with long-form digital features because there are no strict shipping deadlines.