The first scene of The Bold Type’s second season, which premieres tonight, stays true to the show’s essence. In it, Jane (Katie Stevens) and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) are posted outside an airport gate waiting for their friend Kat (Aisha Dee) to return from her international flight. A 30-minute wait morphs into two hours. Then three. They’re exhausted, but they keep waiting. After all, Kat was abroad to win back her maybe-girlfriend Adena (Nikohl Boosheri). An intense situation like that warrants an immediate update, so Jane and Sutton wait.
When Kat eventually comes through the gate, Jane and Sutton’s energy resurges. They’re so happy to have their friend backâ€”happy to again be the trio thousands of people grew to love when The Bold Type premiered last summer.
That, in a nutshell, sums up the appeal of this glossy Freeform show that follows three twenty-somethings as they climb the New York media ladder. You might have caught the show when it debuted in June 2017, but most likely watched on Hulu several months laterâ€”that’s really when The Bold Type gained its feverish following. And rightfully so: It’s quite simply one of the most delightful shows on television, one you shouldn’t sleep on anymore.
Especially not this season, when the stakes and the drama are higher than ever. You’ll be pleased to learn the two-hour premiere of The Bold Type‘s second chapter is goodâ€”very good. The show picks up where things left off last year: Jane quit Scarlet magazine to start work as a writer for the political website Incite. Sutton’s now a fashion assistant at the magazine and figuring out her relationship with Richard, an older executive within the company. Meanwhile, Kat traveled to South America to be with Adena, an artist who she may or may not be in love with. These issues are all addressed in the premiere, and fully resolved in surprising ways.
Fans will have a blast watching The Bold Type this season, but they don’t need more incentive to tune in. My goal here is to appeal to those who wrote the show off as just schmaltzy, shallow fare. While, yes, there’s definitely an element of froth to The Bold Typeâ€”the fictional world of Scarlet is very glitzy and celebrity-filledâ€”it’s more than just pure escapism.
At the center of the show is an unbreakable friendship between three young women. The first season threw everything at Jane, Sutton, and Kat, yet their loyalty to each other never wavered. Sure, that might seem a bit overly earnest, but it’s actually pretty radical for a female-centered show, especially one that’s set in the world of magazines. The Devil Wears Prada, The Hills, Ugly Betty, and countless other shows set in fashion infamously presented a frigid, woman-eat-woman universe.
Then there’s female-driven programming at large. Gossip Girl, Big Little Lies, even The Real Housewives franchise: All these shows zero in on the catty behavior among its protagonists, who are, by and large, women. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that; it’s unrealistic to expect characters to get along all the time, regardless of gender. You need conflict to move a story along, and watching a rich bitch on screen is, admittedly, so much fun.
But it’s nice that The Bold Type doesn’t have one. There’s this problematic idea in our society that women can’t get along with each other in the workplace. Take the Ocean’s 8 cast members, who were plagued by rumors of on-set feuding for months. “Certain members of the media have wanted us to fight each otherâ€¦. They wanted there to be competition and catfights,” Anne Hathaway said on the Today show in May. That mentality filters into so much of the content we consume daily. We’re inundated with catfights.
Which is why a show like The Bold Type is such a breath of fresh air. For a series this dramatic and dishy and delicious to feature virtually no female fighting is exciting. It proves female-centered narratives can be captivating without the cattiness. Of course, Kat, Sutton, and Jane will most likely have an argument at some pointâ€”it’s inevitableâ€”but it’s fine because the first point of entry for their characters isn’t “They hate each other.” That’s important, and it will fuel how all the conflict unfolds this season. No matter what storylines come their way, Jane, Sutton, and Kat will be OK. It’s just in their DNA.
If more shows like The Bold Type existed (alongside The Real Housewives; I’m not ready to give them up), then maybe these preconceived notions about women at work wouldn’t exist. Ocean’s 8 is certainly eradicating those notions. “We were all collaboratingâ€”all the time. Now we’re friends. We genuinely love each other and weâ€™re so there for each other. Itâ€™s a beautiful thing,” Hathaway said about her Ocean’s 8 costars.
And so is The Bold Type. What the Ocean’s 8 women had offscreen is what The Bold Type leads have on, and we need to see more of that. Showcasing all types of female relationships on TVâ€”the good and the badâ€”will certainly help debunk the reductive stereotypes that’ve existed in pop culture for eons. To believe it, you have to see it.
The Bold Type airs Tuesdays at 8:00 P.M. ET on Freeform.