Despite identifying myself as a non-materialistic male metal-head, and scruffy country bumpkin to boot, there’s a part of me that yearns for the glossy metropolitan glamour of shows like Sex and the City and Cashmere Mafia… because apparently my “feminine side” is a frustrated fashionista, with a weakness for lifestyle-porn!? For better or worse, it’s been almost a decade now since any show/movie really scratched that itch for me… but the pilot for a show called The Bold Type just reset the clock. Created by Sarah Watson, this shiny new Freeform series was inspired by the life of former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, and centres on three photogenic young gal-pals working at a global women’s magazine in New York City, where (according to the blurb) they will “learn to find their own voices and explore their sexuality, identity, love, and fashion.” Woo, and indeed, hoo!
The lead trio (Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, and Meghann Fahy) are all very winning, and I appreciate the fact that their characters are smart and established insiders, already working their way up the career ladder, rather than a bunch of clueless newbies stumbling around asking “What are ‘fashion’?” Of course they aren’t always on top of their game, otherwise there’d be no drama or character development, but they still manage to demonstrate enough general competence and professionalism to convince their bosses (and me, as a viewer) that they’re worth investing in over the long haul.
By the same token, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, played by Melora Hardin, isn’t some cartoonish villain, bullying and belittling her underlings on a whim… she’s a tough cookie, who knows what she wants and doesn’t have time for excuses, but also acts as a compassionate mentor to the men and women under her command, who repay her with their energy and inspiration. Even the trio’s “office nemesis”, an executive-editor played by Emily C. Chang, is really just doing her job (and making some valid points in the process), rather than actively trying to crush their dreams, or sabotage their careers. They clash, but it’s not personal or petty… they’re co-workers who loudly disagree, rather than children squabbling in the playground. In that respect this show actually seems a little more “mature” than some others that I’ve seen aimed at an older/swearier audience.
Of course, at this point I only have a single episode to go on… but if the rest of the season is as fun and affirmative as the pilot was, then this could well become my second fave show of the summer (after Game of Thrones, natch).
[Note: Confusingly, the series doesn’t officially “premiere” until July 11th, but the first episode was given an early “preview” airing on Tuesday (June 20th)]