Few Series Were Quite as Bold
The Bold Type’s Final Issue
This article should have come out last Thursday, but as those of you who were reading my column are aware I was hip deep in other things. So this is my tribute to the finale of one of the most undervalued series I’ve ever seen: Freeform’s The Bold Type.
Freeform has been known for creating most daring and original series the past few years — I’ve been a big booster of them. But even for them, The Bold Type was special. It created three of the most brilliant young female characters in television: determined journalist Jane (Katie Stevens) whose goal since the Pilot was to become the editor-in-chief of Scarlet, fashionista Sutton (Meghan Fahy), trying to balance her love for clothing with her constantly messy romance with her boss Richard, and activist Kat (Aisha Dee) an African-American lesbian determined to change the world but unable to commit to anything else. Any one of these characters would’ve been strong enough to be the protagonist of her own series; one of the great things The Bold Type was to treat them equally and never let their bond waver. I honestly don’t remember many series where three women never had a fight that lasted more than an episode.
And each of them carried a significant amount of baggage. Jane’s mother had died of cancer before she had really known and the fact that she carried that gene was vital to her character. There were stories that involved her freezing her eggs and she had a preventive double mastectomy. Sutton’s mother had been an alcoholic and she spent most of her life hating, even when she seems to have regained her sobriety. In the last seasons, Sutton started having a similar drinking problem that seemed to end her marriage and nearly took her job. Kat believed adamantly in changing the disparities that affected everyone but always put that first even though it destroyed the relationship she had with artist and frequent lover Adena.
For all that, they were always there for each other, always offering support whether in the fashion closet or out on the town. I honestly think that television should consider any future show about women should now have to pass The Bold Type test, because the majority of the conversations these friends had — and indeed many of the exchanges involving at least women — were about anything but men. Oh, there was talk of sex and there was often wine, but I’d much rather have spent them with these girls than Carrie and her friends.
And let’s not leave out that this series had the boss that all future workplace TV series should aspire too: Jacqueline, the icon who did everything to push Scarlet into being more than just a women’s magazine. Melora Hardin had the role of a lifetime as the boss you really wish you had. Even when she was disappointed with somebody, she never got angry and almost never raised her voice. She seemed utterly without ego and seemed to be proof that women can have it all — including a truly devoted husband. Is it any wonder that everybody idolized her?
But all series must come to an end, and right up to the last moment, The Bold Type was willing to subvert everything. Jane finally got the final item on her list — and realized that she no longer wanted it. She was a journalist, and she wasn’t willing to give it up. And it is a credit to Jacqueline that not only did she get it, she realized who the perfect to take her place was — Kat. She knew that the new face of Scarlet shouldn’t be someone like her, but rather someone who was completely different. And it is a credit to Kat that after all the struggles she went through, she didn’t have twice about taking the job.
Sutton spent much of the last season trying to deal with her heartbreak. She went to therapy, realized her problem and seemed ready to move on. Then Richard came back and everything got complicated again. Sutton was prepared to sacrifice her happiness with him so that he could realize his dream to be a father. And Richard sacrificed his dream when he realized he couldn’t be happy without Sutton. It was a truly moving moment.
Kat and Adena similarly spent the last couple of episodes back in old habits, and it seemed like Adena was prepared to dismiss them. But Kat finally realized that there was room for commitment in her and after five seasons of dancing, they finally committed.
Jane made the biggest commitment, and it didn’t involve a man. In the final scene of the show, as the three women celebrated in their sanctuary Jane told her friends that it was time for her to leave Scarlet. She knew her mother had wanted to travel and never had, and she wanted to do what her mother never could. So she decided to travel the world. Honestly, the scene where the three friends hugged each other had me practically bawling.
So yes, The Bold Type ended on the perfect note. But I will confess something. For all my problems with reboots and reunions, I really don’t want to let this show and these characters go. I honestly hope this series gets everything that Sex and the City has but frankly doesn’t deserve. A movie franchise? Absolutely. A prequel series where we get to see how Jacqueline got where she was? Love it. Five or six years from now, a new season where we get to see how the girls and Scarlet is doing? I’d subscribe to a new streaming service for that. This was the rare perfect series that actually leaves us wanting more.
But for now, let’s raise one last glass of champagne to The Bold Type, the series that redefined what a show about professional women should be. It’s not the best series Freeform has ever created in any incarnation of the network, but in its entirety it’s one of the most perfectly balanced and if that’s not worth roaring at the subway, what is?
My score: 5 stars.