Over the past few years, reboots, revivals, and retellings have proven to be The Hot New Thing. In fact, even Showtime’s The L Word is set for a brand new season, eight years after it went off the air in 2009. But, the latest heir apparent for HBO’s iconic Sex And The City isn’t simply another season of Sex And The City (or a third movie). With its big two-hour premiere last night, Freeform’s summer drama The Bold Type unofficially announced it’s coming for the SATC crown. And no one can say the new series didn’t make a good case for a seat at Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda’s brunch table.
The pilot of Bold Type — at which viewers had the chance to take a sneak peek last month following Pretty Little Liars — easily sets up the SATC rubric. The show follows three close female friends (it eschews an SATC fourth), who all work at fictional feminist magazine Scarlet, as they deal with the ups and downs of love, careers, and sex in New York City. Each young woman has a wildly different personality, but they’re still BFFs anyway.
Sound familiar? Thankfully, there’s more to The Bold Type than its Carrie-and-the-gang-adjacent premise. During the premiere, we learn Kat (Aisha Dee) isn’t only Scarlet’s confident social media head. The self-described heterosexual woman is also experiencing a whole lot of sexual confusion as she begins to catch feelings for an enigmatic lesbian photographer named Adena (Nikohl Boosheri). Sutton’s (Meghann Fahy) secret office relationship with board member Richard (Sam Page) could come off as a forgettable fling, but it gets interesting, and more complex, when the assistant reveals she wants more than sex — she wants the two to actually date. And newly-minted staff writer Jane (Katie Stevens) is merely trying to break out of her Charlotte York-with-better-eyebrows shell.
Jane gets fleshed out in second episode "O Hell No," as The Bold Type drags its characters into some very modern stories about both sex and the city. The installment centers on Type-A Jane’s latest assignment: writing a feature story on her best orgasm ever. The only problem is, the Colorado native has never actually hit the big O with anyone, including herself. Hey, it happens. After freaking out about having to reveal such a personal truth to the entire world, a very anxious Jane goes on a series of hilarious misadventures that would make Samantha Jones (Kim Catrall) proud.
First, Jane screams into her phone about a possible "problem with her vagina" in front of a prospective new love interest. Once it’s confirmed nothing is medically wrong with her "va-jay-jay," she goes to see a sexologist who recommends a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved yoni egg to "strengthen the vaginal muscles and increase sensitivity." Next up, all three of the girls end up watching porn together to support finding Jane’s hidden fantasy. Cue the emotional conversations over the sounds of probably fake moaning and explicit sex. The journey ends with that aforementioned yoni egg getting stuck inside Jane, meaning the journalist has to lie spread eagle in the Scarlet fashion closet as Kat is forced to pull the device out. At least this a good way for Kat to find out if she’s interested in lesbian sex. The verdict is currently not quite.
The rest of "O Hell No" offers up relatable millennial stories that don’t involve GOOP-ready sex toys and loud porn. Sutton is offered a great job in advertising sales, but couldn’t care less about the "boring" topic, since she secretly wants to go into fashion. At this point, every millennial has faced a similar issue and come out on the other side of it. While a lot of us have probably said "Oh hell yes" to a job offering the kind of salary Sutton’s possible new gig boasts, she still says no. Those of us with real-life student loans and rent payments can’t be so cavalier, but it’s pure wish fulfillment to see Sutton turn down the job in favor of chasing her dreams and buying expensive Champagne. It’s equally empowering to see Kat question her sexuality so publicly and with the support of her friends. Neither Sutton nor Jane criticise the social pro’s relationship quagmire, and they genuinely feel bad for her when it’s revealed Adena already has a very loving girlfriend.
And the trio's friendship when it comes to Kat’s heartbreak is so important. If Bold Type actually plans to have the kind of staying power Sex And The City still possesses — a 15-minute "Are You A Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, or Miranda?" conversation broke out in the R29 offices just this week, a full 13 years after the 2004 finale — it’s going to have to focus on the relationships of these three young women. The best moments of SATC were the times its quartet of women came together to demonstrate the astounding strength of female friendship. Take Miranda’s mom’s heartbreaking funeral or the entire girls’ trip in Sex And The City: The Movie, which only occurs because Carrie was abandoned at the altar. All of the show's wild sex stories were an important, ground-breaking addition to the HBO comedy, but SATC’s real success was proving just how valuable and complex female friendships can be. The Bold Type is well on its way to picking up that mantle. Just consider the "Pilot" blowup over Sutton's secret relationship with Richard, which was made all the more difficult by Kat's heightened anxiety over Adena being detained in her conservative home country. Instead of holding onto their anger, the women let go of their bad blood to hold hands and scream on the (impossibly clean) subway platform. That's how real friendship works.
After just two episodes, The Bold Type clearly isn’t as iconic as the greatness that is Sex And The City. But, if it stays on this track, it could certainly try.
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