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‘The Bold Type’ is a stylish new take on the floundering women’s magazine world

‘The Bold Type’ is a stylish new take on the floundering women’s magazine world
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Freeform’s newest summer drama “The Bold Type” is TV’s newest attempt to portray the glamorous yet turbulent lives of magazine writers in the New York City publishing world.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The show follows a young assistant named Jane who just got promoted to a writer spot at Scarlet magazine (loosely based on Cosmopolitan magazine, the No. 1-selling women’s magazine in the world). Jane isn’t exactly nailing the new gig with her pointy-toed stiletto wearing boss. She quickly becomes the “how-to” girl, and her first story involves stalking her backpack-wearing, Brooklyn hipster ex who isn’t on social media.

The glitzy world of magazine publishing has been chronicled time and time again in movies like “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Trainwreck,” and “13 Going on 30,” and TV shows like “The Hills,” “Ugly Betty,” and most recently in an E! reality series about Cosmopolitan called “So Cosmo,” which aired in the spring.

“The Bold Type” seemingly has plenty of credibility behind it, as it’s executive produced by Joanna Coles, the Chief Content Officer for Hearst Magazines, and former Editor-in-Chief of...you guessed it, Cosmo.

The show’s two-hour premiere checks all the boxes: gorgeous mag staffers teetering around in their highest heels, a sordid office romance, potentially dashed hopes and dreams. But in order for this series to thrive among the ones that have come before, it’ll have to bring more than just a Miranda Priestly knockoff and platform-wearing glamazons. It’ll have to get real.

It’s ironic, given that print magazines are a dying industry, bested in the past decade by digital media, Snapchat, and even podcasts. If glossies like Cosmo will even exist in 10 years is impossible to predict, but it seems Coles herself is hell bent on creating Cosmopolitan “the brand”...even if Cosmopolitan the magazine ultimately becomes a relic of its time.

Coles has tried just about anything to make Cosmo not just survive but thrive in the fading magazine industry since she joined staff in 2012. There was the aforementioned reality show, a short-lived clothing line at the decidedly unglamorous mall staple JCPenney, and even Cosmopolitan The Fragrance, which seems to only have existed in the U.K.

But “The Bold Type” is Coles’ first shot at a thinly-veiled fictional account of her team at Cosmopolitan, and so far, it seems to be a juicy summer dramedy worth tuning into. After Freeform’s rebranding from ABC Family to slightly more mature fare, the show should hold its own, even though it’s much of the same old, same old.

In fact, ABC Family had its own TV movie version of a magazine writer’s plight back in 2010 with “Beauty & The Briefcase,” starring Hilary Duff, who is currently starring in “Younger,” the delightful TV series about the high-wattage world of NYC book publishing.

“The Bold Type” feels like a full-circle moment, as it’s already seemingly fresher more self-aware than its predecessors. It treats women with a great amount of respect, showing the three leads’ close bond and openly discussing their career goals and aspirations. In a post-”Lean In” world, it may just work.

Check out “The Bold Type” Tuesday nights on Freeform.

Photo credit: Freeform

‘GLOW’ shines brightest in the main characters’ lowest moments

‘GLOW’ shines brightest in the main characters’ lowest moments
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If you’re looking for something to binge-watch when it’s too hot to venture outside this summer, you should get comfortable on the couch and watch “GLOW,” Netflix’s newest offering.

Set in Los Angeles in 1985, it’s inspired by the real-life campfest known as “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” so there’s plenty of colorful spandex, teased hair, and metallic lipstick...but the show doesn’t rely on camp for entertainment, which is no easy feat given the schlocky subject matter at hand.

The first episode introduces Ruth Wilder (played by Alison Brie), a struggling 20-something actress who ends up auditioning for the low-budget female wrestling series unwittingly out of sheer frustration of the acting offers she’s relegated to (one-line secretary or porn). She’s given the opportunity after showing up to another audition to try and nab the meatier “man’s” role, but her brazen move convinces the casting director to pass along a new wrestling series her way. Alison gives the show a chance against all odds because, well, why not?

Her best friend Debbie Eagen (played by Betty Gilpin) is a fellow actress going through her own struggles, as her recurring role on a soap opera is drying up amid marital problems and the birth of her first child. Things immediately get worse for both women when Debbie realizes Ruth is sleeping with her husband Mark.

After a real-life brawl in the ring over the affair, the two ladies end up starring together in “GLOW,” and the 10-episode season chronicles a crew of underdogs like Ruth and Debbie navigating their broken friendship, dealing with sexism and stereotyping at every turn, and figuring out how to turn such a ridiculous spectacle into something they can make their own.

The dramedy highlights how much has changed for women since 1985, and sadly, how much hasn’t. From a misogynistic male director named Sam (played by Marc Maron) to women being placed in boxes based on looks and appearance, the show ultimately wins because of the resilience of its characters, even when they’re not very likeable.

Ruth’s actions are pretty reprehensible, yet “GLOW” shines in the moments where she’s learning how her actions affect those closest to her, especially Debbie.

The show’s first season tackles other weighty topics, like the episode where Ruth realizes she’s pregnant and decides to have an abortion. Watching the story unfold through a 2017 lens is eye-opening, as we see her take ownership of her decision, simply saying, “It’s not the right time. Not the right baby."

Sam even has his own glimmers of humanity, accompanying Ruth to her abortion appointment, and supporting her, without judgment, despite his horrendous treatment of the women much of the time. Planned Parenthood has even praised the show’s “authentic depiction of abortion,” releasing a statement that said, “While the show takes place three decades ago, the story line remains relevant today, as politicians continue to attack women’s health and chip away at access to abortion in America.”

“GLOW” is a great springboard for a diverse group of women — and while the nods to ‘80s culture keep it fun and lighthearted, it’s the little moments among the amateur wrestlers that give it its depth and soul. The show depicts women quite literally fighting an uphill battle, doing everything they can to succeed in a world that only wants to knock them down, figuratively and literally.

After the lightning rod success of Netflix’s first female-led ensemble series, “Orange is the New Black,” it’s great to see OITNB creator Jenji Kohan, producer Tara Herrmann, and writer Carly Mensch at the helm of “GLOW” too.

“GLOW” is an easy summer watch even if you’re not a wrestling fan (perhaps especially if you’re not a wrestling fan!). It’s funny without being silly, optimistic without being sappy, and shows how fun it can be when women band together and reclaim their power...neon leg warmers and all.

"GLOW" season one is now streaming in full on Netflix.

Photo Credit: Netflix

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