US network Freeform is growing up. Now that the young women of Rosewood have banished the last of their stalkers, the network has found a new female-forward series to replace Pretty Little Liars. Two episodes of The Bold Type premiered Tuesday night, introducing viewers to a new core group of girlfriends who are facing far less life-or-death challenges: careers in journalism. Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee), and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) are a writer, social media director, and executive assistant, respectively, at Scarlet — a fictional women’s magazine modelled after what us in the real world know as Cosmopolitan. And while this is just one of several series that tackles women in print media, The Bold Type is already avoiding one of the genre’s cliches.
Jacqueline (Melora Hardin), Scarlet’s editor-in-chief, is based on Joanna Coles, who held the position at Cosmopolitan and serves as an executive producer on the show. Jacqueline rocks a sleek, short haircut, she dresses to kill, and she’s important enough to have her assistant tell Beyoncé that she will call her back.* But if you’ve already visualised the GIF-worthy Miranda Priestly sitting at the helm of Runway in The Devil Wears Prada, you’re getting cold. Jacqueline is the refreshing antidote to the trope of the ice-queen editor who gives all journalism majors nightmares.
As the firm-but-fair leader of the magazine, Jacqueline pushes the women that work under her to go after hot, but personal, takes to put them ahead of the curve. In a particularly moving speech about the role she wants these women to play in continuing the legacy of Scarlet, Jacqueline seems to acknowledge that these young professionals are going to be better at it than she is. She knows how to handle business and get shit done, but she is extremely empathetic to the personal issues that come up for her staff, especially Jane. And I like to think that, generally speaking, this is the case for most higher-ups in media.
For example, our Entertainment Director Molly Stout is super-efficient, sharp, and effective. She has no problem saying no and addressing problems head on, as they arrive. She will also gladly gush about Brad Pitt and help us snoop around the internet to find the identity of a colleague’s boyfriend. She’s my boss, but she’s also human.
We live in a world where work is stressful for most people, no matter the field you work in. When you’re responsible for producing original content, you often have to sell your ideas to someone else, which makes your job even harder. It’s tough enough to have a job in media in 2017, so I’m glad that The Bold Type isn’t relying on the tired trope of the ice-queen editor to make it any scarier.
*I found this to be the most inaccurate moment in the series opener. Beyoncé rarely does press. And, no shade, but if she did it wouldn’t be with the likes of Scarlet. I’m sorry, but that’s a phone call the real Jacqueline would have picked up immediately. Don’t @ me.