“The Bold Type,” premiered on June 20 on Freeform, ranking second behind the network’s five year veteran, “The Fosters.” The show features Katie Stevens as Jane, Meghann Fahy as Sutton and Aisha Dee as Kat and explores issues that many other series have botched. These best friends work at “Scarlett,” a fictional magazine similar to “Cosmopolitan,” and deal with relationships, self-discovery, sexual assault, online threats and the Islamophobia present in America.
The various roles the characters play in the office represent the different facets of working for a publication that isn’t traditional journalism. Kat, the 21-year-old Director of Social Media, is young but quickly learns that being a director isn’t easy. Sutton, an editor’s assistant with an edge for fashion design, sets out to earn and navigate a job in the fashion department. Jane, unsatisfied with writing sex pieces, aims to interview an upcoming state representative — following her dreams no matter what it costs her. While these three women have their differences, as close friends they learn how to solve their problems together.
One of the main and most elaborate storylines follows Kat who pushes a story about a Muslim, lesbian photographer named Adena (Nikohl Boosheri) only to end up questioning her sexuality after spending time with her. In one episode, viewers see Adena speaking to her mother in her native Arabic when someone tells her to speak English or go home because she’s in America. Kat, having heard of things like this happening but never witnessing them reacts, and punches the man, only to turn around and see Adena has disappeared.
While Kat spends the night in jail, she doesn’t understand the reasons Adena gave her for running away and becomes upset. She tells Kat that if she had been taken into police custody she would have lost her visa and had to go back to a country that doesn’t accept her for who she is. Their relationship follows a realistic political story arc that doesn’t overdo it or come off as fake and pushy.
The show doesn’t shy away from breaking stereotypes. The Editor-in-Chief of “Scarlett,” Jacqueline Carlyle (Melora Hardin) doesn’t follow the typical Devil Wears Prada female boss trope. While the series introduces her in red heels that made most viewers expect her to be horrible from the beginning, she is anything but. Instead, the writers give viewers a woman who balances being the boss by giving advice and even extending herself as a friend on bad days, using silence in conversation to let her writers figure out exactly what they need.
The show also respects journalism as a career. In shows like “The Carrie Diaries” and “Girls,” writers often live lavish lives off one piece every two months. But in “The Bold Type,” it’s easy to see that these girls would love these shows but laugh at the idea as they share a cramped apartment in the city.
“The Bold Type” isn’t just another feel-good teen show. It stands out because of the way it handles touchy subjects in a way that viewers can relate to. Viewers watch Jacqueline admit to Jane that she was sexually assaulted and Adena cries when she’s been sent back to the Middle East. The show makes it easy to connect with these characters and their stories in a time when these issues are prevalent.
That’s not to say there aren’t moments that are a little too unbelievable, like Kat’s boss bailing her out of jail or Sutton managing to find a $5,000 necklace she lost in a cab by getting access to security cameras. But it’s nothing that would make viewers stop watching.
There’s no return date, but as of Oct. 4, “The Bold Type” was renewed for two more seasons. While season one ended with the characters moving along paths that neither they nor viewers expected them to take at the beginning, it’s easy to see why “The Bold Type” became one of summer’s top television shows.