Boobs on Your Tube: Seriously, What Is “The Bold Type” DOING?

Happy Hamilton Day, friends! This week, Riese made you a list of 25 Broadway musicals you can stream online and chased down everything new and gay and streaming on Amazon, Hulu and Netflix in July. Heather swooned about season two of Harley Quinn and shared her lists of favorite TV shows and lesbian movies. Carly and Riese discussed the season four finale of The L Word on an all-new To L and Back. And Stef brought you good tidings and news of Taylor Schilling’s new girlfriend.

Notes from the TV Team

+ 23 days until Wynonna Earp Season 4 premieres! — Valerie Anne


The Bold Type 414: “The Trust Will Set You Free”

Written by Natalie

We all saw this coming. From the moment Ava Rhodes took that long, lingering look at Kat in the midseason finale, romance between the two felt inevitable. And, truth be told, I was okay with that — “enemies to lovers” is one of my favorite romantic tropes — but last night, as The Bold Type stepped closer to the inevitable, I found myself begging the show not do it.

After her first attempt at making her podcast pilot disappoints, Kat’s in search of another Bell member to interview for her debut. No sooner than the words are out of Kat’s mouth, Ava slides up to the bar and orders a dirty martini. Kat and Ava trade barbs — which, coupled with the furtive glances, feel more flirtatous than offensive — while Jane and Sutton sit stoically nearby, desperately hoping to avoid the Safford board member’s attention. Drink in hand, Ava slinks away and Sutton and Jane are quick to voice their disdain. They both saw Ava’s recent television appearance, where she advocated for hardline immigration, and while there’s obvious scorn for her position in their voices, both Jane and Sutton admit that Ava’s eminently watchable. Suddenly it’s clear what Kat needs for her podcast: an interview with Ava.

This is the point at which I know this episode is going to be a shitshow. You know what makes someone unwatchable, in my view? Espousing a policy that denies safe haven to refugees, that separates family and locks kids in cages. Giving people space to spew dangerous rhetoric because they’re attractive or charming or engaging is how that dangerous rhetoric starts to appear not-so-dangerous. The ability to silo those things — to separate the person from their rhetoric — is the height of white privilege. But I digress…

Later, Kat crosses paths with Ava again and takes the opportunity to ask her to participate in a podcast interview. Ava’s stunned by the offer to “debate the issues” but declines, doubting Kat’s ability to “fairly engage with conservatives.” Kat promises to reign it in for the podcast but Ava remains unconvinced. Convinced that her podcast won’t be greenlit without an interview with Ava, Kat takes Jane’s suggestion: she goes to one of Ava’s Republican mixers in hopes of proving her wrong.

Dressed in her most conservative outfit, Kat approaches a group at the mixer and tries to engage. Ava overhears a conversation between Kat and the group of women — they find common ground in a mutual disdain for the Democratic Party — and is impressed, but not convinced, by one discussion. They join a conversation between two women about identity politics and political correctness. Kat’s willing to defer to the women, initially, but when one suggests that kids are being bullied for being straight, she can’t bite her tongue any longer. Ava tries to calm the growing tension but Kat dismisses her, claiming that the discussion would be better handled by someone queer. Kat continues arguing until she can’t tolerate their bigotry anymore, but, before she can escape the mixer, Ava stops her and agrees to do her podcast.

The podcast goes… well? I don’t know really, I guess we’re supposed to be charmed by it — Kat certainly is — but I absolutely am not.

Kat: Okay, so when the issue of identity politics comes up in your circles, how do you combat the stigma that the conservative party is overall homophobic?
Ava:I don’t combat it at all because it’s none of my business. I don’t think that it should be brought up nor should that fire be fanned because sexuality whether homo, hetero, pan, A, or other, it doesn’t define a person.

Since its first season, the writers of TBT have struggled with balancing Kat’s intersectional identity. They only seem capable of engaging one facet of her identity at a time. But that’s not how we — biracial black queer women, like Kat and I — move through the world; the world doesn’t permit it. Addressing homophobia but not racism, as if Kat isn’t oppressed by both forces, does a disservice to the character’s authenticity. Ultimately, it’s all just a means to an end, an effort to get to the big reveal about Ava: she’s a lesbian.

“I am a Republican woman who is not defined by my sexuality because sexuality is not a personality trait,” Ava proclaims. “Just because I don’t wear it on my sleeve doesn’t mean that I don’t get to claim my space.”

(Apparently, it’s enough of a personality trait for her to offer tacit support of her father’s financial backing of conversion therapy but I guess we’re just supposed to forget that happened.)

“And identity politics are…very tricky,” Kat responds, so clearly smitten with Ava that she has to adjust her collar. She’s so taken by the Republican pundit that later, as she’s in bed with her date, she calls Ava’s name as her date dips her head between her legs.

But identity politics aren’t tricky. As Brittany Packnett Cunningham once pointed out, they are a dogwhistle and a command. A dog whistle to those who are anxious about losing power in a diverse society and a command to silence the marginalized. Hearing this show’s biracial black queer character, who just a few episodes ago gave up so much for her principles, being forced to treat them as a legitimate thing is repugnant…only outdone by the likelihood that Ava’s redemption arc runs through Kat.


In the Dark 212: “Where Have You Been?”

Written by Valerie Anne

In the penultimate episode of Season Two, things are going sideways to say the least. But somehow, despite Murphy’s suspicions, and Jess’s trust through her hurt was founded. Sterling is really being true to her word. She genuinely loves Jess and has marched her way to the police station and tells them all about her ex-girlfriend Sam’s crimes.

sterling

Sterling has given me whiplash re: my feelings about her but I’m back to being Team SterJess. Jessling? I ship it.

The detective is dubious; why would Sterling admit to knowing about these crimes, to even driving Sam home from murder of Dean’s ex-partner, if she would just be implicated for aiding and abetting? Sterling insists she’s telling the truth, and she just doesn’t want Sam and Vincent (Nia’s right-hand man) hurting people. Specifically her ex-fiancée but also Jess’s friends.

Between all that and Murphy pointing out that even though Jess wasn’t quite her real self while she was with Sterling but her feeling were real, I’m starting to wonder if maybe we’ll get our happily gayly after after all.

The Autostraddle TV Team is made up of Riese Bernard, Carmen Phillips, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Valerie Anne, Natalie, Drew Gregory, and Heather Hogan. Follow them on Twitter!

The TV has written 147 articles for us.

23 Comments

  1. There’s just so much about how the bold type is about to inevitably set up Kat with this republican that don’t sit right with my spirit.

    Is is the fact that Kat, a biracial woman, is presented as too outspoken, too passionate, and too loud about her political views compared to her levelheaded white love interest and has to prove herself by going to a republican party and listen to bullshit homophobic rhetoric and proves once again that Kat is just too damn outspoken.

    Is it the fact that Eva openly advocates for hardline immigration on national tv when in the very first season Kat and Adena (a Muslim lesbian who has been inconsistently written compared to the white male love interest on the show) had to go through the trials of her immigration status and could barely sleep when Adena was detained by customs.

    Or is is the fact that the lesson of this season is that Kat needs to be mroe open-minded and “not all republicans are bad” and “maybe they have some good points” when in reality Eva supports or is at least complicit with viewpoints in a party that is a danger to all of Kat’s identities. And I have to watch this bs in the middle of the Black Lives Matter.

    Is is the fact that Kat, this queer biracial woman, role in this relationship most likely will be to teach this republican to be more open-minded and compassionate towards others disregarding the fact that its not a black woman’s job to educate dumbass white people to treat them. And reenforces the harmful stereotype that we’re supposed to do the emotional labor to teach these people that their views are harmful.

    And that’s gonna be Kat’s love interest. She could literally be with anybody such as Adena, Tia, that random dude that liked being pegged, hell even that throuple she was apparently in that seemed interesting. But nooooo we get this shit.

    All I’m saying is there’s something seriously wrong when I’m looking foward to Jane’s storyline (minus the knock off penn badgley) and not Kat’s.

      • Yup, 1000% this. Although this week was one of the very few this season where I could appreciate Jane’s storyline. (She just has a knack for failing up every single time that gets very irksome.) But I was saying to my partner that The Bold Type has definitely pulled some very weird trick when I start rooting for Sutton and Richard.

    • First, @thisaintit, I’m glad you see the resemblance too. I referred to him as “Budget Penn Badgley” in talks with the TV team. But, yeah, as shocked as I am to say it, I’ve really enjoyed the storyline about Jane recovering from her mastectomy during this latter half of the season. I wish they’d quit f’n it up by giving her a vertical she doesn’t deserve and Budget Penn Badgley.

      But more importantly, you make great points with respect to Kat’s storyline. It’s hard to even guess which outcome to this storyline might offend me the least: “not all republicans are bad” or “maybe they have some good points,” as you pointed out, or black woman forced to educate white woman on her wrong ideas or TBT rehashing its Season 1 lesson, “let the liberal white lady explain to the black queer lady why this is bad.” Just thinking about it gives me heartburn.

  2. It’s just horrible the QPOC are tired of not being properly represented and I’m happy to see a publication like this has seen our outcry, one freeform and the writers of the bold type have continuously ignored not to mention the disrespectful tweets they’ve liked..

  3. I literally said to my girlfriend after we watched the Bold Type “enemies to lovers is my favorite romance novel trope but no to this one, it doesn’t make sense.”

    I hope they course correct quickly when the show returns.

  4. Ew ew ew! I’ve never even seen The Bold Type but this just is all kinds of icky. Who even is supposed to be the target audience here? What’s the message? “Not all Republicans?” In the middle of this trump nightmare and protests for people’s literal lives? Just…ew.

  5. Goodness, The Bold Type continues to stoop lower and lower even when I think they’ve already hit rock bottom. This is a perfect example of the importance of having showrunners who have decent politics and actually understand the lived experience of their characters and/or hire good writers who do (such as Tanya Saracho, the queer Latina showrunner of Vida).

  6. Im going to assume these episodes were filmed before the start of corona epidemic and more particularly the global racial/ police reform protests and politics going even more off the rails than usual . That being said the writers have to be stabbing themselves in the foot over the rhetoric and timing of this season. If it wasn’t for money they should just cancel it.

  7. Not so fun fact- Freeform canceled Party of Five and renewed Everythings Gonna Be Okay when both shows had the same ratings. There’s definitely racism involved with this decision. I refuse to watch Good Trouble and I stopped watching Growish because they did the queer characters dirty on that show and wrote Zoey as an irresponsible asshole. Maybe we need to boycott the channel and by that I also mean Motherland: Fort Salem too.

    • Wait, what’s wrong with Good Trouble? That’s one of my favourites currently on air, and they’re tackling a lot of issues barely mentioned on other shows (despite being a part of many people’s ever day lives).

      • I had a lot of bad feelings about The Fosters at the end of its run and was mad that they looked like they were going to center Callie yet again on Good Trouble. It looks like I might be wrong here. Let me know.

    • The cancellation of Party of Five is something I’m still mad about, @maraleia. The show actually averaged better overall ratings and did better in the key demo than Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (and The Bold Type for that matter) and the fact that it got cancelled still stings. I’m remiss that there’s not going to be a press tour this summer so that network executives will have to address that disparity because, you’re right, it looks very much like racism at work.

      That said, I’ll agree with @tmece and vouch for Good Trouble. I know a lot of people never want to give it a chance because they view it taking away The Fosters but: Freeform was moving in a different direction as a network so The Fosters was likely done, with or without Good Trouble, and Good Trouble is actually good. I really love what they’re doing with the show and wish their writers’ room was the model for the rest of the network.

      • Thanks for the response. I was mad about Good Trouble because it looked like they were going to make Callie the savior of everyone around her. Also, they stole John Lewis’ catchphrase which I hate. Maybe I should give it a chance.

  8. Queer television feels really lacking -in terms of quality and quantity – right now/this month, after that Bold Type episode, which Natalie expressed exactly what I was feeling as well, I binge-watched a few series: The Politician, Hanna S2, Warrior Nun and The Order S2 and I was disappointed by the quantity and/or quality of queer content in each of them – and I don’t think my expectations were that high to be honest.

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