The millennial women of fictional “Scarlet” magazine are back navigating life, love and work in the second season of the “The Bold Type.” The show continues to emphasize female empowerment, as the main characters Sutton, Jane and Kat represent a model of supportive friendship. It’s a light, breezy take on building a career and finding your place in the world with your friends by your side.
The second season picks up where the first left off. Jane (Katie Stevens) has quit “Scarlet” to write more hard-hitting journalism for internet magazine “Incite.” Kat (Aisha Dee) returns from her overseas trip where she committed to her Muslim girlfriend Adena (Nikohl Boosheri), who secures a three-month visa and moves back with her. Sutton (Meghann Fahy), having chosen her career over board member Richard (Sam Page) in order to avoid the perception of special treatment, still has to deal with rumors that she is sleeping her way to the top.
The show is topical with storylines that focus on racial identity, workplace conflicts, even a nod to the #metoo movement, but there’s no problem too complex that a meaningful conversation among friends and feisty determination can’t solve. Every episode follows an arc where characters come to terms with things and lessons are learned, usually in declarative sentences. Sutton tells Richard: “I’m putting my money down on my career and I believe love will fall into place.” Jane takes a stand on journalistic integrity: “When we sensationalize people for the purpose of getting more eyes on the story, that story gets lost.” Kat takes ownership of both sides of her biracial identity, realizing that sometimes there is power in labels: “It feels important to embrace this part of myself.”
“The Bold Type” is not subtle but the camaraderie between the actors makes its teachable moments feel like (not too deep) life advice from relatable women. Fahy, Stevens and Dee have fun with their roles and with each other, which makes their characters and their performances likeable.
Hardin, as “Scarlet” boss Jacqueline (Melora Hardin), continues her mentor role, offering wise council and professional support with just a touch of maternal instinct. When Sutton’s work performance starts to suffer after she questions how she relates to men while on the job, Jacqueline notices, takes an interest and says her magnetic personality is a professional asset not a liability. The character is a statement on aspirational leadership, often reducing Hardin’s performance to delivering a few motivational lines and not much else. But a storyline involving a female board member sets up new tension for Jacqueline, which will give Hardin more to do this season.
“The Bold Type” was dubbed a millennial “Sex and the City” when it debuted last year and like that series, it celebrates the power of female friendship and doesn’t shy away from frank sexual discussions. This season kicks off with Kat and Adena having a talk about oral sex and their relationship. Also like that show, everyone wears great clothes, attends fantastic parties and lives the dream in NYC.
“The Bold Type” returns on June 12 at 9 p.m. EDT on Freeform.
— Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @MelissaCrawley.