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07th Jun 2021

Opinion: The Bold Type is so bad it’s good – here’s why we can’t get enough

Sarah McKenna Barry

In spite of itself, The Bold Type makes for perfect pandemic viewing.

If you’re not familiar with Freeform’s hit series The Bold Type, try and imagine, if you will, a ‘woke’ Sex and the City, but with far less sex.

The show, which is now in its fifth and final season, follows three friends, Kat, (Aisha Dee), Jane (Katie Stevens) and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) living their best lives in New York City.

The ladies work together at a magazine called Scarlet, which is appropriate, because that is exactly how I feel when I watch this show.

On paper, The Bold Type shouldn’t work. The story-lines are predictable, the jokes are distinctly unfunny, and for a show set in a women’s magazine, the fashion is kind of disappointing. When the series goes down a more serious route, it fails to pack a punch. And, no matter how hard the writers try and celebrate female friendship, there is zero chemistry between the leads.

This lack of chemistry is understandable though, when you consider the fact that the majority of the dialogue is the characters needlessly explaining the plot-lines to the viewer.

And yet, I devoured the entire series in just a few weeks. While I can go on and on about its many problems, I genuinely cannot hide my sheer love for this silly programme.

I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve gotten friends and family members hooked as well. “This is terrible,” my mother says, as she plays the next episode on Netflix.

Elsewhere, fans flock to The Bold Type subreddit to ask the important questions.

“I love the show yet can’t stop rolling my eyes?” one fan writes. Another launches a poll to see if anyone else fast-forwards through certain characters’ story-lines. 14% said yes, they fast-forward through some of Jane’s scenes.

When season four ended, fans quickly set up a petition to bring it back. It hadn’t even been cancelled. That’s just how charming it is.

Once I finished every episode Netflix has to offer, I felt completely at a loss. I knew that no other TV show could ever fill that void. I even considered watching it all again from the start.

There’s just something about it.

I’ve come to realise that The Bold Type is exactly the kind of TV show we need in these trying times. When everything’s up in the air, our brains crave familiarity, safety, patterns. The Bold Type ticks all three boxes.

While the girls endlessly find themselves in peril at the climax of each episode, you can relax safe in the knowledge that everything will end up, as it always does, just fine. As uncertainty abounds, The Bold Type soothes our worried heads.

And no, the plot lines are not realistic, nor relatable, but that’s part of its charm. It’s sheer fantasy. Jane, a writer, pens an article every now and then, and yet somehow makes a fictional 30 under 30 list. Kat, meanwhile, with zero campaigning experience, comes astonishingly close to becoming a New York City congresswoman in season three.

On top of that, The Bold Type attempts to cover a number of heavy-handed issues, from gun control to women’s health. Does it succeed in providing any meaningful commentary on the topics it attempts to cover? No, absolutely not, but that’s OK. It doesn’t set out to challenge the viewer. Instead, the show comforts us by quickly resolving each story-line up in a fashionable bow.

The characters aren’t necessarily likable, but this doesn’t matter either. They still manage to draw the viewer in, compelling us to join them on their journey.

In short, The Bold Type is the ultimate comfort watch. It’s a frivolous fantasy that unifies its fans, and proves to be the perfect tonic for the pandemic.

So, while it may be somehow both predictable and contrived, The Bold Type remains a delightful classic, that, in my opinion, is better than Emily in Paris.