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Fancy-Free Freeform Feminism in ‘The Bold Type’
July 11, 2017  | By Ed Bark

The women -- and men -- of Freeform cable’s The Bold Type (Tuesday 9 p.m. ET) are uniformly equipped with sculpted bods, great looking wardrobes, and gorgeous good looks.

Impervious to “fat-shaming” and other physical denigrations, they outwardly appear to be fully loaded with whatever qualifies as empowerment these days. Still, this series is intent on winning empathy points for the denizens of self-important Scarlet magazine, a stand-in for Cosmopolitan with three million subscribers and a reach of twice that many via various social media outlets.

Editor-in-chief Jacqueline Carlyle (Melora Hardin, right), modeled after former real-life Cosmopolitan head Joanna Coles, champions “self-feminism” as a means for women to please themselves first and foremost. Furthermore, “I expect you to unleash holy hell on anybody who tries to hold you back,” she pronounces at a posh heart-of-Manhattan party commemorating the magazine’s 60-year anniversary. “Because you don’t just work for Scarlet. You ARE Scarlet.” Carlyle preaches to this choir while standing next to an oversized Scarlet cover depicting a cleavage-brandishing Demi Lovato and her companion story on “How to Get Everything You Want.”

An intrusive blend of throbbing pop tunes -- “Make him whistle like a missile,” for one -- just can’t restrain itself during The Bold Type’s otherwise featured adventures of three young, ambition-pumped women staffers, who also are the best of friends.

Jane Sloan (Katie Stevens, top) has just been named a full-fledged staff writer, which affords her the chance to author first-person stories such as “How to Stalk Your Unstalkable Ex-.“ Or, in Tuesday night’s second hour, getting to reluctantly pinch-hit for Scarlet’s regular sex columnist with a treatise on why she, Jane, still hasn’t experienced an orgasm.

Kat Edison (Aisha Dee, top), the magazine’s social media maven, branches out in hopes of persuading openly gay Muslim photographer Adena El-Amin (the recurring Nikohl Boosheri) to reconsider a decision to withdraw her socially conscious pics from next month’s issue. But will the avowedly “hetero” Kat also consider something she’s never tried before?

The third wheel is Sutton Brady (Meghann Fahy, top), a receptionist yearning to move up the ladder. She’s otherwise breaking bedsheets with an almost impossibly handsome Scarlet higher-up named Richard Hunter (Sam Page). He seems awfully nice, and so far he is through the first two episodes.

There’s also hunky Alex (Matt Ward, above), a thoroughly sensitive African-American heartthrob and staff writer. Even editor Carlyle, a stern taskmaster at first brush, quickly melts into soft-hearted nurturer. Her heart-to-hearts with employees can’t even be cut short by a staffer interjecting, “I’ve got Beyonce for you.”

The Bold Type, in fact, seems to have one type in mind -- and it isn’t anyone with even a remotely plain face or a few extra pounds. Whatever points it labors to make are blunted by all its beautiful people. Their problems aren’t our problems. Instead, they’re problems that most people would love to have within the sleek corporate offices of Scarlet magazine, and all the attendant creature comforts both within and without.

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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post


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