Boobs On Your Tube: Sorry, “The Bold Type” — We Can’t Agree to Disagree

There was a moment in our editorial meeting today where I heard myself say out loud, “We’re running out of TV” and it was a horrible feeling! Not yet, though! This week, Heather wrote about Netflix’s The Baby-Sitter’s Club. Carmen shared her top ten favorite TV shows. Riese shared 11 newish TV shows with new lesbian and bisexual characters and her list of top ten favorite movies. Valerie watched Love Life and started believing maybe love isn’t a lie. Nicole Lane reviewed Elizabeth Moss’ Shirley. And hello PLEASE MEET YOUR NEW BATWOMAN.

Notes from the TV Team:

+ Hi, I know I’m literally five years late to this but I just discovered that there’s a truly bonkers miniseries called Doctor Foster in which Gentleman Jack and Villanelle play opposite each other and they’re both brilliant. It’s on Netflix. There’s a queer woman character, but it’s not either one of them. I just felt compelled to let you know in case you also had missed that news because, like me, you had no idea who Suranne Jones or Jodie Comer were in 2015/2017. — Valerie Anne

+ Thank you all for your tips about Warrior Nun on Netflix. We don’t have a TV Team writer who’s qualified to write about this show; it’s got some really gross and sloppy ableism going on, but I’m working to get it covered by a queer writer who can speak with authority on it! — Heather

+ Burden of Truth ended its summer run on The CW last night. Luna was able to do some Kalinda Sharma-esque sleuthing and uncover a key piece of evidence to secure a victory for Crawford/Chang. The season ended with Luna happy: succeeding in the classroom and in court and, possibly, striking up a romance with a classmate. No word yet on whether CBC/The CW will bring back BOT for a fourth season but, if not, I’m glad we got to see television’s lone Native lesbian get a happy ending. — Natalie


In the Dark 213: “My Pride and Joy”

Written by Valerie Anne

jess looking mildly displeased

Me watching this finale.

I’ll be honest, despite Dean permanently ending his reign of terror on Murphy (and us) forever, this season finale of In the Dark felt a little anticlimactic to me. Everyone spent most of this episode sitting around and biding their time, and while it was great that Chloe was technically the one that saved the day, all in all not much happened. I guess we were supposed to feel some kind of relief before Murphy’s new boyfriend caught on to their shenanigans, but I didn’t really; there are still a lot of loose ends – like Sterling, for example – so I wasn’t all that surprised when there wasn’t time to rest easy.

But the good news is, the season ended with Murphy, Jess, and Pretzel together, my favorite trio. Sure, they’re together and possibly on the run for the rest of their lives, but hey, together is together. This season overall felt a little too in the weeds for me; I didn’t really care as much about the inner workings of the drug rings, and care way more about the characters and their relationships with each other, but maybe that’s just me. It didn’t end up being the show I thought it was going to be, and I have to admit that if Season 3 doesn’t get back to the heart of things, I might have to drop it… We’ll see.


The Bold Type 415: “Love”

Written by Natalie

The Bold Type takes a page out of the Love Actually playbook this week and showcases the different types of love — forbidden love, first love, rekindled love, complicated love and unconditional love — as seen through the various relationships on the show. The suggestion that Kat and Ava’s affair is forbidden, grates immediately: interracial couples in this country have known forbidden love. Queer women in this country have known actual forbidden love. What’s happening with Kat and Ava isn’t a forbidden love, it’s ill-conceived…the show would do well to respect the difference.

Kat arrives at the Belle, excited about the photoshoot for the visuals that will accompany her podcast. But she won’t be photographed alone: seeing the opportunity to take advantage of Ava’s media presence, the Belle’s manager wants the two to be photographed together. It all reminiscient of CNN’s old Crossfire promos and Kat uses the moment to interrogate Ava about her admission that she’s a lesbian…as if no one else in the room can hear them.

Kat: Were you trying to throw me off?
Ava: I’m sorry?
Kat: On the podcast, when you said you were gay?
Ava: (crosses her arms, defensively) I am gay, Kat.
Kat: Right, you just never mentioned it to me before.

The photographer interrupts, alerting Ava to a stray hair that’s in her face. The electricity between the women is palpable and Kat feels it — when their hands brush, when she reaches up to push Ava’s stray hair out of her face — but she does her best to swallow her feelings. Ava assures Kat that she’s not hiding her sexuality, she’s just a private person. Kat promises that she’s not judging but Ava certainly feels judged. She tells Kat that she shared the details of her sexuality on the podcast because it seemed relevant at the time. Kat wonders why it wasn’t relevant at the Republican mixer when the Karens were spewing their homophobia and Ava is stunned silent. She asks the photographer if the Belle has what they need and the shoot comes to an abrupt end.

After being reminded that she should be grateful to Ava for appearing on the podcast in the first place, Kat goes over Ava’s place to thank her in person. Kat rambles about the podcast being bigger than the differences between them and bigger than whatever feelings she has for Ava. The lawyer seizes on the admission and Kat is forced to backtrack, badly. Ava accepts Kat’s defense and prepares to lead her out but, before Kat goes, she urges Ava to do more to normalize queerness in otherwise hostile spaces. Ava takes offense to Kat’s suggestion but neither of them is offended enough by the other to stop their lips from colliding. Their makeout session continues until Sutton’s call summons Kat to the penthouse but, clearly, things are only getting started between Kat and Ava.

An artist rarely gets to pick the moment into which their art is injected…and, to be sure, this storyline stings even more because, at this moment, we are locked in a very public battle with white supremacy. I am willing to afford this show’s writers some grace for the storm that surrounds these episodes. But, let’s be clear: if the world didn’t know the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor or if we weren’t being ravaged by a pandemic, this storyline would still be offensive. It’d still be a problem that, four seasons in, The Bold Type sees Kat as a black woman or a queer woman but not both. It’d still be a problem that The Bold Type is romanticizing repugnant viewpoints, like hardline immigration and conversion therapy, and treating those issues like they’re things we can just agree-to-disagree on, instead of the questions of humanity that they are. It’d still be a problem that, in order to tell this story — to get to whatever point the writers have in mind (I still have no idea what that is) — they make the show’s lead black character into a shell of her former self.

This might not be what the writers intended — I’m sure they have some grand vision in mind — but I’m hardpressed to imagine a payoff that’ll make all these problems seem worth it.


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. I literally have had to stop watching the bold type this season it feels like the only black women afford depth of character is increasingly used to ease the yite guilt of the writers. They need to hire some black women in the writing room and every where else. how is this on the same network as good trouble?

  2. Interesting that the first word that came to my mind was this storyline is repugnant……
    EVEN BEFORE I read your episode description.
    The false narrative of any ‘contextualization’ of discrimination is gaslighting at its peak. No excuses. Not ever.
    Thanks for your ongoing consistency in keeping these shows accountable with your critic.

  3. Of course they vehemently deny them being a certain persasion despite their suspiciously opulent dog houses and ridiculous human predilections. Very curious despite all canines being equal. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize them as neo liberal per say but I have no doubt that
    their breed is peeing in that direction.
    Couldn’t help myself.

  4. I was kind of hoping that the storyline would be more about Kat making a dent in Ava’s point-of-view and making her see the other side of things. I know people really do sometimes water down their personalities to be with someone but I didn’t want to see that happen to Kat. I did know that they were going to hook up long before it actually happened, though. I saw it coming a mile away – when Adena and Kat confronted Ava’s dad when she was having lunch with him, I had the thought that she was going to show up somewhere again and be Kat’s love interest. This show being so predictable is another reason I love to hate it sometimes. But I have loved Aisha Dee since Chasing Life and Sweet/Vicious, so I keep hoping for better storylines for her.

  5. Just got done watching In the Dark and The Bold Type back to back.

    I was like “WHERE’S STERLING” during In The Dark, and when The Bold Type came on I was like “OH THERE’S STERLING, OKAY”

    Ava is trash and I don’t know what the hell Kat is doing or who’s writing this crap. Jane was being a total dick blocking the escalator. Sutton was the MVP this week, I never really cared too much about her until that amazing argument scene. I hope Whatshisname stays gone! “I’m always the one adjusting”, my ass. FOH.

  6. I went through the IMDB of all the writers for season 4 of The Bold Type and here is the demographic breakdown (based on my perception looking at photos of the people, so I could be wrong):

    7 white women
    1 white man
    2 Black women
    1 Indian man
    2 unknown, couldn’t find pictures (their names are Matt McGuinness and Lauren Parks)

    In a writers’ room that white, I am sure the Black women writers deal with a lot of racism and it’s possible their opinions get drowned out. Also Black women can have shitty politics and be Republicans, too. Not accusing these two specifically of that; just trying to make a point that collapsing / oversimplifying to “hire Black women” rather than “hire Black women with good politics” can be unwise.

  7. Conservatives love to complain about how radically liberal Hollywood is, but honestly I’d say it’s much closer to being truly centrist (as opposed to most people who claim to be centrist, but are actually conservatives). I’ve noticed this over the years with various storylines, themes, or even just little one-off jokes.

    How else do you explain what’s going on on The Bold Type? Or how we’ve had TV shows and movies for decades that glorify corrupt police? And how many times have we seen characters that are feminists or activists being portrayed as annoying or clueless? Or even something as simple as vegetarians and vegans being the butt of a joke. You even see stuff like this on projects that pride themselves on being progressive.

    • I think describing Hollywood as centrist is spot-on! The Bold Type used to be a show that clearly stepped to the left of that, but this storyline just obliterates that stance. My one hope is that Ava will be a huge disappointment for Kat, and the message will be “Don’t trust a f-ing bigoted Republican” but… The build up doesn’t make it seem likely (and is offensive enough in itself). I’d also love for Kat to just be able to live and date without any part of this storyline, no matter the end message of it.

  8. The Bold Type has been one of my favorite low-brow tv shows for a long time, but it’s always been neoliberal trash. So many of the previous storylines are the women finding a solution to the problem that’s both feel-good feminism and *surprise surprise* good for the magazine’s bottom line. “Feminism and capitalism work together, you guysssss!”

  9. Please, please, please, puhlease do not waste any energy or space recapping or otherwise reviewing Warrior Nun. As a disabled woman, I find the ableism of it extremely offensive. If diversity and inclusion is the goal of this site, then that kind of unapologetic ableism has no place here (as it shouldn’t).

  10. A sidebar, but Diane Guerrero plays Jane on DCU’s TV show Doom Patrol (also available on HBO Max) and went out of her way during a Q&A this weekend to say that Jane is gay not, once, BUT twice:

    and she said this:

    • She also said that she wants to play (unconfirmed but implied somewhat/border line gay bait) bisexual and noted anxiety lantern Jessica Cruz in the future for DC. So she really just tried to give us a little bit of everything.

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