In season 2 of The Bold Type, it’s more about personal growth than season 1’s professional. Which, for some, comes with a whole lot of pain.
|Ben||Luca James Lee|
|Oliver||Stephen Conrad Moore|
After a year of starting new jobs, ending relationships, starting new ones, and just chaos, everyone is trying to just regroup. Kat and Adena are trying to be the best couple they can be, Sutton is trying to make a name for herself and Jane is trying to maintain a job. Which she doesn’t because she gets fired. However, thus begins the importance of networking for Ryan, aka Pinstripe, happens to pop up at the coffee shop Jane toils her days away at. Leading her to try to do what he does, which is gossip mag stuff, and he does get her an interview, but because they are looking to diversify their ranks, that doesn’t go down well. Luckily, being nominated for a Mandy pushes Jacqueline to rehire her and thus the three musketeers are reunited.
Which couldn’t have come at a better time for while Jane’s life is getting better and better, including Sutton hooking her up WITH A DOCTOR! Oh, and Ryan getting serious about her. Making her BRCA status the one thing which makes her life difficult. However, while things are certainly on the up and up for Jane, for the most part, things for Kat and Sutton aren’t on the same upward trend. Work wise, Kat remains a boss. She even begins hiring staff and gets a hard-fought exception for one young lady to work with her. This is on top of going to battle with Jacqueline and coming out on top. However, as for her personal life? Well, things are a bit more difficult. Some of it is just little things, like Alex coming at her neck about not embracing how being the first Black something at the magazine isn’t highlighted in her bio. The big fish she had to fry though came through Adena.
For most of the season, Adena’s immigration status is up in the air and the stress of that, choosing to return to New York with Kat, them co-habiting, and both adjusting to a relationship style that is foreign to them – well, it puts a major strain on their relationship. Then Kat goes kissing another woman, Adena uses that as a mean to gain space by having an “open relationship” and eventually Kat realizes that the whole open relationship thing was a ruse. It might not have been about Kat exploring her sexuality but Adena getting some me time. Her getting to have a world outside of what is or is owned by Kat. Leaving them in limbo at the end of the season.
As for Sutton? Again, work-wise she is doing well. Oliver trusts her to take on multiple projects, leaves her in charge even, and she knocks out one assignment after another. Making her only gaff being, accidentally, paying for coke on a company card. However, no one catches that rather large miscellaneous charge so no harm no foul? But, like Kat, as much as her work life is doing well, he personally life is not. Richard dating someone from his past bothers her a bit and then there is being Jane’s roommate and friend. If Jane isn’t getting on her case about her gun, it is about her relationship with her mom Barbara. Someone Sutton is forced to see for her birth certificate and Jane coerces her to reconcile with her.
But, while Sutton deals with a lot of uncomfortable moments and growth, including being accused of trying to sleep her way to the top, it all ends well for her. After Richard’s dad dies, he seems to realize Sutton is the one and goes after her. I’m talking, he flies to Paris, where Sutton is for fashion week, to win her back and she is in that man’s arms in a snap. Giving us a happy ending for her, Jane choosing between two men, while dealing with her BRCA situation, and Kat throwing a great party in which Adena is deciding not to attend.
Like the first season, Sutton remains not just the most likable character, but the one who seems rooted in some form of normalcy. For her, she doesn’t have Jane’s luck of, when the chips are down, some 3rd party swoops in and saves her like she’s a princess. Also, while she can take initiative, be aggressive even, she doesn’t have the ability to approach things in a direct manner like Kat does.
In my mind, Sutton is the one you can easily identify with. Take for instance her hustle. Networking for Sutton is hard because, she is the type who easily can get used by somebody. We see that with her relationship with Dillon and Brooke. All of which one could say stems from her relationship with her mom. She has taken care of herself for so long that the idea of someone being there for her, be it a personal or professional capacity, taking some burden off her plate, is a joyous occasion. The kind that allows her to be naive, maybe even gullible, for she doesn’t want to give into her past influencing her future relationships.
But, another storyline which must be mentioned is her, sort of, #MeToo storyline and what that brought to the conversation. A lot of the focus has been on men and how they conduct themselves, but The Bold Type spins things a bit without making it out to be a “Women are creeps too.” Through Sutton, the show addresses how women have to change their styles of interaction as well. For being genuinely friendly can come with caveats and that has to be kept in mind. While, at the same time, knowing that part of what gets your foot in the door, and things done, is being friendly, bubbly, and knowing how to make people feel comfortable. A balancing act Sutton struggles with at first, thanks to this girl named Mitzi, but she nails it with time.
Oh, and before I forget, I also really appreciated the Betsy storyline due to, as you’ll see with Kat’s praise, Jane being called out. For as much as Sutton, assumingly, is liberal in many ways, you have to take into account where she is from. On top of that, what Betsy meant to Sutton. Something Jane didn’t really do for she is a stubborn a** donkey.
Kat (Outside of Her Relationship With Adena)
What you have to love about Kat, in terms of her work life and friendships, is that she is open, honest, but never cruel. Even if she is going to battle with you, over something she believes in, for the most part, she may be passionate but she isn’t insulting.
Take her battle to get Angie a job, despite lacking a college degree, and her even, kind of, taking on Jacqueline, of all people. In both fights, it wasn’t some drag out brawl. It wasn’t like when Kat took on Sutton’s former boss – who utterly disappeared. She presented facts, figures, and made arguments that provided results. Angie hit the ground running and as for Kat’s fight with Jacqueline over a comment section, in the long run, she was right.
But, for every victory there is a hardship. One being Kat’s difficulties with being bi-racial and not the usual approach of feeling like she never belonged to either side. More so, it is not wanting that to define her as well as not wanting to deny her white mom by claiming what the world sees her as. It adds a layer of complication to a topic which increasingly is entering into the media zeitgeist. Especially considering the amount of bi-racial actresses entering media.
Leading to one of my favorite moments which was Kat checking Jane. As noted, Jane lives the life of your old school protagonist where, just as it seems she hits rock bottom, something, or someone, out of nowhere saves her. For Jane, she figured Ryan’s hookup at Yes Girl! would have meant a new steady paycheck and insurance. However, they wanted to diversify their staff, per Ryan, so she didn’t get it.
Now, while the highlight for me was seeing Jane knocked on her ass and Kat check her for being a hypocrite, there also came the conversation about each person’s privilege. Kat is a Black woman, a queer Black woman, and that comes with disadvantages. Yet, she also comes from an affluent background which has made it where a lot of the things her dad dealt with, she didn’t. She gets to be aware they exist but not be personally affected. Then, in terms of Jane, she is white but also from a middle or working-class household. So it really pushes you to question each characters privilege, no matter what they look like.
Oliver & Jacqueline
Whether it is mentorship, having their staff’s back, or just some good ole fashion Black people snack time, you have to love what Oliver and Jacqueline continue to bring the show. Jacqueline by doing all that she was praised for in season 1, and Oliver really stepping things up.
To the point, Oliver didn’t eclipse Jacqueline at all, but definitely took some of her shine. For beyond the one-liners and snappy comments, the way he showed up for Sutton was so adorable. Especially since he wouldn’t gush about her but would make it clear he expects more than her just being his assistant. He’s seen it before and he recognizes it again. Add in him telling her to go get her man, at the end of the season, and it makes you wish we got to see more of Oliver’s personal life. Just to see the man when he isn’t working.
The Importance of Networking
One of the big things in the first half of the season is how much networking can save you and is important in your 20s. Whether it is Jane using her network to find work or Sutton trying to build her network, and a good reputation, you are reminded that all impressions need to be good impressions. Especially since, out of nowhere, you can be fired like Jane or scrambling last minute like Sutton. Making it where, in the case of Oliver, when your network is robust, it allows you to call in or ask for favors that not only make you look good, but can save someone’s job.
BRCA Representation/ Women’s Health
Perhaps the sole thing I’ll give Jane’s character props for is her BRCA representation and her episode 10 expose on how, even in fairly progressive company’s, women’s health care isn’t covered. Viagra and vasectomies? Yeah. Freezing your eggs because you may have to have a surgery to prevent cancer? NOPE! Add on she wasn’t gung-ho on going into a domestic partnership or having Ryan pay for the costs to freeze her eggs and we got a rare, unblemished, Jane moment.
When I say this man got downgraded, I mean he nearly got wiped out. Outside of his thing with Kat, over her blackness, he really didn’t have a moment. Seemingly, after the Sutton debacle, he lost his best guy friend status and while he is still considered cool, he lost being essential or the go to male point of view. Leaving you wondering, is he about to be cut?
So, Jessica Was Just There For The Sake of Drama?
The heading says it all. Was the point of Jessica just to make it seem Richard has moved on? Maybe present himself as the one who got away? Considering that didn’t happen, it kind of frustrates me that Richard went from seeming happy with Jessica to jumping ship, well onto a plane really, to get Sutton back.
Bypassed Opportunity To Establish Lesbian Friendship and Community Further
Being that we are told the lesbian community in New York was small, it made me wish Kat explored it more without it all being about sex. Also, I wish since the #MeToo movement was part of the season, sexual assault within the queer community, as well as consent, was brought up. For the main reason Kat ended up cheating is because this woman didn’t take no for an answer.
But, another thing which kind of peeved me was how Kat learning what she liked was purely sexual and damn if she didn’t find a sex partner everywhere she went. Even when visiting Harrisburg with Sutton she found someone she could have slept with. DAMN!
On The Fence
Kat & Adena’s Relationship
All relationships have their ups, downs, and peaceful times, but there is something about Kat and Adena’s relationship which seems off. Almost like the writers weren’t expecting them to be such a big hit together, hence why Adena’s actress, Nikohl Boosheri, wasn’t a series regular until season 2. But, in season 2, Adena is forced to take a large step back and we barely see her outside of Kat’s apartment. Thus setting up their drama which deals with Kat cheating, Adena optioning an open relationship, and taking advantage of Kat being distracted to find herself.
And that leads to why their relationship is on the fence. It doesn’t so much build off what we saw in season 1, beyond conversations on oral sex, but seemingly just exists because they can’t end it. So it really seems to exist because it creates positive headlines more than they really had something preplanned to do with these two.
Since the beginning, I haven’t been a Jane fan. She can be very arrogant, ignorant, and the show’s storylines and characters placate her consistently. However, what I’ve learned to appreciate this season is when she fails and gets called out. Not because I hate her, but because when she fails or gets called out, like how we praise, relate, and wanna be like Kat and Sutton, Jane forces us to look at ourselves.
Take her issue with Sutton’s gun, Betsy. Her disregarding Sutton’s culture, what that gun meant for her then and now, it presents a pro-gun point of view. Something you don’t really expect since most shows cater to more liberal viewpoints. So Sutton poking holes in Jane’s argument was quite refreshing. This is alongside Jane showing herself as a hypocrite when it came to diversity and affirmative action. It is all well and good, she supports it, until she loses an opportunity because of it. Also, there are her feelings about religion and more I’m probably forgetting.
The combination of those things, alongside her BRCA diagnosis and trying to deal with that on her own, it compensates for her often making situations about her. Her having what often feels like a very unrealistic and lucky life, and often ruining any sense of realism this show has.
Meet The Parents
We get to meet both Kat and Sutton’s parents this season, but I got to admit they were sort of a letdown. Kat’s parents, while they assisted the episode’s narrative dealing with Kat’s issues with labels, and claiming Blackness fully, they didn’t do much else. Also, for both parents, they were in one single episode. Something which is especially an issue when it comes to meeting Barbara for, unlike Kat’s parents, Barbara has been built up since season 1. Meeting her, this alcoholic who is part of the reason Sutton escaped to New York, was kind of a letdown. Not because she is clean now, but Jane. Yes, Jane forcing Sutton to reconcile and throwing in a good helping of “My mom is dead” sent that storyline in a direction which makes you roll your eyes.
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
While season 2 of The Bold Type may not necessarily be the game changer season 1 was, it doesn’t necessarily suffer a sophomore slump. More so, rather than trying to compete with its first season and become bigger and better, it just continued and developed what was in place. Making it sometimes feel a bit meh, but still very much topical and necessary.
Hence the positive label. What is presented on this show takes it beyond comparison to similar shows which came before and it really finds its voice. What are the struggles of millennials and how can they, and do they, handle them?
Be it trying to have healthy and fruitful relationships, despite modern dating culture being trash. Having a career in a time where you are mandated to have a degree to do so. Much less, whether you have a career, or simply a job, trying to navigate the politics, stress, and work/life balance of it. As FreeForm has done fairly consistently, they represent the stories, fears, and triumphs of the late teen/ young adult in ways no other station effectively takes on. Making The Bold Type still a shining example of what we can only hope shall inspire many more stories – hopefully somewhere besides New York and LA.
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: Yes, in Spring 2019 which will, again, be 10 episodes.
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