In recent years, the TV industry has shifted to include more female-empowering shows, complete with culturally aware plotlines and women running its production — “The Bold Type” is no exception. It gained traction on Freeform’s network for how well it creates a modern “Sex and the City” landscape with Kat, Sutton and Jane navigating the world of mass media.
Expectedly, season 3, which premiered Tuesday night, should’ve followed the same path and creative liberties taken with the first two seasons. But with the premiere, viewers are left more with disappointment as the characters become drier than a slice of rye bread with no butter.
Fans became used to the conflict intertwined with each character’s personal life, complementing their strive toward becoming boss women. It’s what kept the people at home thinking, “If Jane can freelance her way through the publishing world and Sutton can prove herself as more than just a fashion assistant, I can get out of bed today.”
Granted, the show’s depiction of the editorial process in the Cosmopolitan-inspired “Scarlet” newsroom has always been iffy and left people wondering how Kat leaves her job as a social media director of a major corporation to go on a road trip. But that goes more into the reality gap that’s always made the show enjoyable. It doesn’t strip it of its charm.
Now, “The Bold Type” feels more like One Tree Hill, and not in a way that makes you Amazon Prime a life-sized poster of Chad Michael Murray. Each woman in this premiere seems to exist only in the realm of their current relationship; Kat and her recent breakup with her girlfriend Adena in Paris, Jane with choosing Pinstripe over the stable Ben and Sutton with her soon-to-be live-in CEO boyfriend, Richard.
All roads lead to romantic strife, and in any other moment, that’d be fine — if this is what viewers watched the “The Bold Type” for.
The premiere felt slow and dragged on without mentioning what to look forward to. There aren’t any uncomfortable but needed conversations — such as the ones on gun laws or inherent racism in Season 2 — or the push to make leaps forward in the company’s health insurance policy through the written word a la Jane Sloan. There’s also only one fashion closet moment.
It briefly mentions the workplace hostility women are used to when it introduces the new digital editor, Patrick Duchand. Jane is the first to mention her displeasure of a man being at the helm of a woman’s magazine and rightfully so. He trumps Jacqueline, the editor-in-chief of Scarlet, at every turn, and it’s difficult to tell yet if he’s a worthy villain or just another representation of ageism and the patriarchy. He’s more of an annoying presence, especially when he jokes that the magazine’s fashion section was his sexual awakening.
Duchand’s attempt to connect with women only creates a trivialization of the female experience. Although he’s not as easy to hate as a misogynistic tyrant, his low-key jabs and arrogance overwhelm his push for gender equality in the workplace. It’ll be interesting to see how his role in the upcoming season will unfold.
The episode feels more like an epilogue to the season 2 finale rather than a new chapter of each individual’s lives. There’s still that touch of reality when Kat mentions the looming impact of social media and the fakeness that accompanies it, especially when going through a breakup.
But none of this new. She establishes a social media campaign, #BeReal, in an effort to combat it. Hopefully, this storyline weaves itself in more throughout the season and builds on the originality that made the show exciting in its first two seasons.
Despite not portraying the show’s emphasis on powerful career-driven women in the premiere, there’s still hope for that “oomph” viewers may have been craving. After all, Kat, Sutton and Jane have never let “The Bold Type” stans down.
Contact Sabrina Moreno email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.