Review: The Bold Type – Season 1

“These are the ladies of The Bold Type“. I really couldn’t tell you why they chose a British lady for the weekly recap, but I’m not mad at it.

One of this summer’s most popular new shows is Freeform’s The Bold Type. A feelgood young adult drama series that focuses on the daily lives of three women working in different departments of the same fashion/lifestyle magazine. Yes, the plot is exactly as cliché as it sounds. And yet, I actually quite enjoyed myself watching the first 10 episodes that have aired so far.

Our three protagonists are:

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Jane Sloan, a writer who is looking to make a name for herself as a journalist. It is rather quickly established that Scarlet Magazine isn’t only there to give out diet tips and love advice. Jane has to work (semi-)hard and write unusual pieces and is often not too comfortable with the rather personal assignments she is given. However, she shines through her original and unexpected approaches to lifestyle as well as political topics.
Of course, we can’t leave out the dashing love interest for this young woman in the working world (#ignorethesarcasm) and thus we are privy to the insta-romance between Jane and the sex-columnist of another magazine.
Something I did not expect from this show is the actually quite empowering message of Jane’s story arch in terms of career choices. Because while she has been a fan and avid reader of Scarlet for many years, she does, in the end, decide to leave the company for a position that could further her career. The fact that she chose success over loyalty made her rather stereotypical and sweet but, frankly, a bit boring character more interesting.
I already enjoyed the actress Katie Stevens in MTV’s Faking It and this show allowed her to explore a more mature, sophisticated side of her acting. Good on her.

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Next up is my favorite character of The Bold Type: Kat Edison. Portrayed by the wonderful Aisha Dee, Kat is the incredibly confident, hard-working and creative social media director at the magazine. From the first episode on, she is shown as someone who is not afraid to speak up for herself but also accept criticism, someone with a big heart and many flaws. The writers did a stellar job crafting this character because out of all three she seems the most realistic. Unfortunately we do not get to see much of her day-to-day professional life other than the odd tweet. Unless she’s on the warpath against the patriarchy – that was a dope episode, not gonna lie. What we do get to see is her budding relationship with the Iranian artist Adena. Their romance is less clear-cut than Jane’s and raises a number of questions like “How much should I risk for love?”
Another aspect of her personality I quite enjoy is that she is very protective of her friends. Kat seems to thrive on difficult challenges and she deals with them on her own as best she can simply because she can (and she does not want her friends to worry, that too). She shows so much strength in situations where others might turn into a messy heap of tears.
Kat’s fashion sense is at times…let’s say futuristic. I’m not a huge fan of most of her outfits (some look just really unfortunate on her) and they seem a tad too laid-back for the workplace. But that is really the only complaint I have about this protagonist.

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Last but not least, Sutton Brady. She is probably the most honest and straightforward of the three. Sutton has been part of Scarlet as an assistant for a few years before a job opportunity opens up for her. Now, this is probably my biggest issue with this character. She went to business school and is looking for a stable job. But instead of making such a job seem fun and exciting, the show decided to take the obvious route and make Sutton’s passion fashion. We have seen this so many times in film and television and we GET IT. Fashion is glamorous, it’s luxurious, every girl wants to be surrounded by fancy ballgowns and go to Marc Jacobs’ runway shows and influence the current trends yada yada yada. For the entire second half of the season I had zero interest in following her storyline because it offered absolutely nothing new. And not only in terms of career, also in terms of Sutton’s love life. She had a relationship at the company that she had to keep secret, they split but it’s ‘true love’ so they decide to try it again. Yeah. Wake me when something more compelling happens.
It’s a shame too because Meghann Fahy is very likable in this role. I appreciate her ‘I get shit done, just watch me’ attitude. Hopefully her arch will have something different to offer next season.

Visually, this show is quite stylish. Especially the magazine party in episode 10 reminded me of those fancy Pretty Little Liars school dances – with more adults and less drama forced down your throat. And the magazine HQ showed a comfortable, professional and open atmosphere in which it would be a joy to work. As for the soundtrack, it fit well but wasn’t particularly memorable. What was memorable, however, was that, for the most part, the dialogue was good. It wasn’t incredible but it certainly didn’t make me cringe like Shadowhunters or roll my eyes like Riverdale (which is a series that I wholeheartedly enjoy, don’t get me wrong).

One area, however, in which this show needs a bit of improvement is the lives of our protagonists. While the audience gets to explore the working and dating world with Jane, Kat and Sutton, we don’t get to see much else of their lives. What are their hobbies, their passions (other than work), what are their families like, what do they like to do on a day off? Many TV series use the first season to establish the characters, the environment and relationship dynamics and then the second season to bring more depth and variety to the main characters. Thus, I’m hoping to see more of that side in the next season. Fingers crossed!

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On the surface, The Bold Type is your garden-variety ‘young women in New York’ type of show. But I believe it has a lot of potential to be actually inspiring. Especially these days when young people looking to be in the fast-paced fields of journalism and the magazine industry do have difficulties finding and then navigating jobs, making challenging decisions and trying their hardest to make a name for themselves. The Bold Type won’t make those struggles easier, but it might instill a bubbly, cute, cupcake-y attitude to get your mind off of them. Plus, the strong message about the importance of friendship prevails throughout. The show is quite delightful and a fun, entertaining watch so let’s hope we get to see Jane, Kat and Sutton return to our screens soon!

by Leonie
Pictures:
http://freeform.go.com/shows/the-bold-type/episodes
http://freeform.go.com/shows/the-bold-type/news/everything-we-know-so-far-about-the-bold-type (2)
http://freeform.go.com/shows/the-bold-type/news/the-bold-type-official-music-guide-season-1

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