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27 June 2018

Amazon’s journalism comedy The Bold Type is bright, cheerful and often ludicrous

The comedy drama series is based loosely on the life story of former Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

There’s something about journalism and romcoms: from Sleepless in Seattle to Never Been Kissed to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Even in romcom-adjacent TV shows such as Sex and the City, journalist is a go-to profession for the glamorous urban woman. Journalism, Maggie Fremont wrote recently in Vulture, “is as innate to romantic comedies as falling in love”. She was discussing the Netflix film Set It Up, but she could have been talking about The Bold Type – a comedy drama series based loosely on the life story of former Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles. It follows three young women navigating the beginnings of their careers at women’s mag Scarlet, and their burgeoning romantic relationships.

In both The Bold Type and Set It Up, the majority of the action happens in the workplace. The narratives are formally and often tonally traditional, but also reflect societal shifts. Both feature millennial women in assistant jobs dreaming of something more creatively stimulating, women for whom romantic satisfaction is important but secondary to job satisfaction.

The Bold Type, in its first few episodes, explores salary negotiations, how to manage a team of inexperienced staff, men speaking over women at work, and the looming threat of redundancy in digital media. It also features an entire episode about orgasms featuring a Yoni egg getting stuck up someone’s vagina. It contains multitudes.

The show is bright, cheerful and often ludicrous, and bears little resemblance to the reality of working for a magazine (if my experience at the New Statesman is anything to go by). It has few grand, insightful statements to make about modern society. But every episode has surprised me, and (sometimes despite myself) I’m hooked. 

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This article appears in the 27 Jun 2018 issue of the New Statesman, Germany, alone

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