If you can’t do it with feeling, don’t do it at all. That’s the takeaway from this week’s The Bold Type.
All three of our leading ladies showed raw feeling, emotion, and vulnerability this week, which only added to their likeability. The series may have been appealing because of the women’s magazine industry angle but viewers will stick around for the ambitious and sassy women who don’t take “no” for an answer. They’re curious, they’re invincible and they’re bold – a fair representation of what the “woke generation,” as Jacqueline calls it, and the Scarlet readers, see themselves as.
Sutton, Jane and Kat’s determination to reach their dreams and succeed even put to bed my concerns about how unrealistic key moments in the series are. When Jaqueline informed Jane that she would be included on a “young influential political writers” panel after just ONE article about a congresswoman’s fashion, I scoffed. “Are they kidding me?” I mumbled at the TV while sipping on some pineapple tea.
They were kidding me, for the record. They knew how ridiculous it was but they were trying to get a point across to millenials that I believe often goes unsaid – you don’t always have to be an expert to score a seat at the table. Is it realistic in the competitive fashion and magazine world in New York? Highly unlikely but for a naive millenial who still wants to believe at times that the world isn’t inherinetly bad and opportunities will come your way if you project the right vibes, it did the trick. Sometimes, you’d like to believe that if you work hard and put your best foot forward, you’ll be rewarded over the person who maybe has more experience but less heart.
Jane, who finally achieved orgasm greatness, twice, goes from feeling super confident, to owning her political piece, to freaking out about the fact that her boss and someone from the board will be in the audience, to feeling down in the dumps for not being as assertive as she should have been to FINALLY realizing that aside from all the political mumbo jumbo, she said what people wanted to hear – people want to be heard. If the magazine’s political future really was in her hands, I think she did it justice.
As did Kat, unknowingly of course. While Jane assertiveness was gaining her recognition in the industry, Kat was struggling with finding her voice. Like mentioned above, people want to be heard but what happens when no one wants to listen? Adena reached out to Kat in hopes of scoring a letter of recommendation to get her visa renewed while Kat hoped to score in a different way, still trying to deconstruct her feelings for the self-described “Muslim lesbian.” I call Adena that not only because that’s what she referred to herself as in the show but because it’s an important description for this episode. Kat takes advantage of the opportunity to spend some time with Adena, getting to know her on a deeper level, connecting with her and completely unplugging from the noise of social media. The good times are cut short when Adena is attacked by a man on the street who tells her to “speak English” and calls her “towel head.” Unfamiliar with that level of hatred, Kat knows she must do something and reacts by punching him and getting arrested.
Mother Hen aka Jacqueline is on hand to bail her out and is impressed with Kat’s passion for “wanting to do something” and “fighting for what’s right.” But knowing that you can be right and still wrong is a hard lesson for Kat to learn and she isn’t happy with Adena for ditching her before the cops showed up. Despite being a woman of color, Kat’s grown up privileged and with freedoms that don’t apply to a “Muslim lesbian.” After Jacqueline explains to Kat that getting involved in an assault case would have been grounds for Adena’s deportation she feels terrible and apologizes by telling her the how she really feels – “I like you a lot.” I’d say Adena had enough of Kat squirming her way through the confession because she cut her off with a kiss. Lesson #2 – sometimes, you can say a lot more with fewer words. #Kadena shippers everywhere are jumping for joy right now.
Meanwhile, Jacqueline, the woman of limited words, is inspired to ignore what the “board” says and starts up a political vertical anyway. She sees these women who are passionate, involved and want to be heard and knows that the political angle won’t isolate readers, it will give them exactly what they want – a platform to share their fears, concerns, and dreams of the world, relationships and themselves. After all, Scarlet’s are ambitious and opinionated AF.
Speaking of ambitious, Sutton spends the whole episode, lying, sulking and then kicking ass – in that order. When Oliver informs her that she’s being considered for the assistant’s job, he seemingly gloats about hiring someone with FIT experience. The Fashion Institute of Technology, if you weren’t looped in. The only problem? Lauren recommended two assistants and the one that went to FIT and he mistook Sutton for the other girl, whom she apparently gloated about. Thanks a lot Lauren. She flips back and forth between telling the truth and taking advantage of the situation and eventually settles the latter. She’s exposed when Richard decides to be the subtle, but proud, boyfriend by putting in a good word for her with Oliver to make up for the “lack of fashion school experience.”
She alternates between telling the truth and taking advantage of the situation and eventually settles for the latter. The truth eventually gets out when Richard decides to be the subtle yet proud boyfriend and puts in a good word for her with Oliver hoping his recommendation would make up for the “lack of fashion school experience.”
Oliver confronts her and she fesses up to the lie but it’s too late – she’s already burned her one and only bridge. No boss is ever going to hire a liar. Fibbing about knowing Photoshop is one thing – what? we all did it – but exaggeration your education is a big no no. Sutton realizes that she can’t just let her DREAM job pass her by because she didn’t follow her gut so she gets down to it and creates the baddest, most authentic mood board Oliver has ever seen.
When he told her that he wanted the board to make him “feel something,” he had NO IDEA that she was going to dig right under his fur coat and designer frames to reveal a small town boy from Oklahoma who also had absolutely no experience with the fashion industry prior to his position. Coming clean and stepping up proves to him that she’ll go above and beyond for him and the position, which eventually lands her the gig. Lesson #3, which is very similar to #1, sometimes, you just need to want something bad enough and not let the limited experience stop you from pursuing it.
The episode came full circle with the ladies starting on a high note, crashing and burning in the fashion closet and redeeming themselves as I’m sure they will time and time again. The Bold Type is proof that millenials have to constantly fight for what they want while putting aside the need to constantly give into the pressures of society.
As for Jane, she came a few more times. We know because the walls are paper thin, remember? Also – why don’t they just have sex at his place? It seems like he lives alone so there’s really no need to come crashing through the door every time Sutton’s on the couch just trying to zen out.
While we’re on the topic of sex, I’d like to add that I love how the show normalizes sex, something that’s often taboo and censored. This isn’t HBO so we can’t get too graphic but it’s nice to know that there are writers out who acknowledge that women like sex; that they’re empowered by it.
Thoughts? Do you think the series is too optimistic or is it the kind of inspiration that millenials – who are trying to make it in a cutthroat industry – need during such trying times?