The Bold Type Recap: “Pilot”

by Kayla King, Editorial Assistant for Harlequin Intrigue

Welcome to something totally new for SYTYCW! Today we kick off a brand new recap feature and I’m honored to give it a go with a show that premiered just this past summer on Freeform: The Bold Type. Inspired by the life of former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, this is an American drama series that follows three friends who all live in New York City and work at Scarlet, a global women’s magazine. Thinking about giving The Bold Type a go? Love the series and looking for a place to gush? Enjoy our recaps of each episode up to the season one finale and follow Jane, Kat, and Sutton in one of the best darn portrayals of modern relationships this editor has seen!

I haven’t tried drowning my screams in the screeching vortex of a passing subway yet, but I’d love to give it a try. (Also, 59th St is not and has never been that clean.  Where is this magical station?)  Our first glimpse of the girls tells us something very important—and not just that they’re incredibly fashionable.  That whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it together. Portrayals of solidarity should not be as rare as they are in entertainment—especially among young women.

We join in right as Jane has clinched her spot as a staff writer, moving above her previous assistant position. She will also be showing us a narrative we’ve seen before: aspiring young writer at a trendy magazine becomes the “how-to” girl.  “How to Stalk Your Unstalkable Ex” is How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.  But the conflict here isn’t that Jane was saddled with a “how-to” article.  It’s that writing the article involves hunting down her ex, who, as Sutton says, “was the first guy you ever said ‘I love you’ to. You don’t just get over that.”  Arguably, that relationship is a bit of a red herring to the one we should actually be focusing on.  To me, this episode was all about Jane’s relationship with Jacqueline Carlyle, the editor-in-chief of Scarlet and who holds Jane’s creative future in her well-manicured hands—and who doesn’t seem to be interested in making things easy for Jane.

“Here’s a fabulous pair of jeans, now, go climb a mountain.”

I thought for sure Jacqueline Carlyle was going to be a Miranda Priestly (read: running the show like a boss but unnecessarily abusive toward her underlings). Amazing, scorching, commanding…but not supportive. But Jacqueline flattens that notion by taking on an approach that more says, “yes, I’m tough, but that’s because you have to be airtight in front of this board of men who use Scarlet as a cash cow and not a valuable resource to women.”  She’s an example of a character who knows how to work within the system to enact change (with infinite patience, it seems).  Jacqueline is intimidating and encouraging.  She’s not punitive.  She’s strict and clear, and says what she means, but anyone calling her a dragon lady would be way out of line.  These characters (aside from their flawless skin and runway wardrobes) are quite real—nobody is ever just the boss.  Take notes for writing dimension!

Here we have Sutton, confronting another trope we see so often in romance—the young assistant (secretary, back in the day) sleeping with an executive. But Sutton’s hardly being compromised by authority and in fact we hear her declaring her relationship with Richard as casual.  She reminds him, and so often that conversation goes the other way.  But it’s clear that they’re both emotionally vulnerable, both looking to see if their relationship is strong enough to grow.  Lots of promise!

Kudos to Sutton for asking for what she wants. “I want to go out on dates.  I want to be asked out on dates.  I want to be the girl you can’t stop thinking about.  I deserve to be that girl.”

A million crying, clapping Anne Hathaways to that, Sutton.  It’s a big deal to be the one to say something in a relationship with someone who could ruin your career without breaking a sweat.  Not that Richard would do that…right?

“I want to be as confident as her. How did she get to be so confident?” Kat’s friends admire her, as they should.  My favorite Kat moment in this episode is when Laura berates her in front of the rest of the office for being too much of a loose cannon with #FreeAdena, and Kat shows Laura that she knows exactly when to post and when not to—by faking Laura out with a cat meme.  Kat oozes confidence, like I said, as she should.  Because Kat is the Social Media Director of Scarlet as a young twenty-something.  Ten points to Gryffindor.

“People tend to get uncomfortable when they cannot put you in a box, but I always like to make people uncomfortable.”

Speaking of Adena. I may or may not have cheered just to hear the phrase “lesbian Muslim artist” on TV.  She reminds me of people I actually know, in real life and online.  People who are out in the world but that the television doesn’t often show us.  If you can do that with your characters—do that.  Her storyline in this first episode is very powerful and ripped-from-the-headlines, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from her.

Jane’s well on her way with her first Scarlet article, Sutton may be getting out of her assistant position but at least is calling the shots in her personal life, and it looks like Kat’s going to be seeing much more of Adena (maybe as much as she showed Adena of herself?).  And that’s episode one, folks! So far, The Bold Type appears to be all about showing us the stories we think we already know, but updated, subverted, and brought to life by characters much more dimensional than we’ve been given in the past.  This editor, for one, looks forward to more.

Champagne in coffee mugs all around.

“I expect you to have adventures. I expect you to fall in love, to get your hearts broken. I expect you to have sex with the wrong people, have sex with the right people. To make mistakes and make amends, take a leap and make a splash. And I expect you to unleash holy hell on anybody who tries to hold you back because you don’t just work for Scarlet, you are Scarlet.”

The Bold Type is available for streaming on Freeform and Hulu.

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Comments

  1. THE BOLD TYPE does look like it would be an interesting show to follow. Does it portray publishing pretty accurately? Anyway, the girls screaming at the passing subway reminded me of when I was in my twenties working at a restaurant. Lunches were hectic busy with people demanding, demanding, demanding and impatient. Talk about stress. Then one day I learned the walk-in freezer was sound-proof and went in there and screamed. Best stress reliever I ever found, lol.

    • LOL Awesome Maurine! What a great scene to put in a novel – an exasperated chef heroine venting about the hero trying to buy the city block her restaurant is on so he can build some modern monstrosity.
      I do love how a single anecdote blossoms with endless plot possibilities.
      Thanks for making me laugh.

  2. Hi Kayla
    The Bold Type isn’t a show I’d heard about before, but I think it sounds great. As I am often reminded, fiction is at the forefront of social awareness. It’s a pet peeve of mine that women are portrayed as succeeding only through tearing down their competition. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the case and it shouldn’t be something to strive for. Strength comes from unity – not because we are all the same, but because our diversity makes us stronger. It’s a goal in my writing to have inclusive stories, celebrating love in all its variations – romantic, familial, platonic, sensual. You can never have too much love.