Series showrunner Amanda Lasher, who was brought on ahead of the new season, recently spoke to TV Line about why The Bold Type will moving on from issues like sexual assault and instead pivoting towards other topical subjects.
“I felt that they did such an incredible job of covering sexual assault with [the episode] ‘Carry the Weight’ in season 1, that the show had already gone there [in addressing #MeToo] in some ways,” Lasher explained.
In the episode, Jane (Katie Stevens) was tasked with covering an artist and activist who staged a endurance performance piece in Central Park that involved holding two physical weights in the shape of scales. The scales were meant to represent the metaphorical weight she carried in the wake of being sexually assaulted. Her storyline was inspired by Emma Sulkowicz’s “Carry that Weight,” a real-life Columbia student who carried her mattress around campus for months, saying that she’d only stop after her alleged rapist was removed from or left the university.
On one hand, I’m excited that the show will be tackling other issues like body positivity, slut-shaming, and racial identity, according to Lasher. But not really delving into #MeToo at all this season seems sort of like a missed opportunity for the The Bold Type — especially since that scales-storyline in season 1 came before #MeToo really exploded, and also because one of the main junior-level character’s storylines continues to include a complicated relationship with a senior-level executive.
A sneak peek for the upcoming season touches on this relationship involving newly-minted fashion assistant Sutton (Meghann Fahy) and corporate counsel Richard (Sam Page). In the clip, human resources announces the company’s new policy on dating colleagues, which states that both parties must sign a consent waiver in order to proceed.
This would be a great development if it seemed as though it came about strictly because Richard and Sutton really wanted to be together out in the open. Instead, the policy that Richard explains seems to have come about on the heels of him learning about Sutton’s side tryst with Alex (Matt Ward) after the two of them broke up, and could be another example of how corporate power dynamics work against women.
Some of the most highly-publicized stories of #MeToo today have come from celebrities speaking out about harassment and assaults that happened years ago or early on in their careers. Season 2 would have been the perfect opportunity to explore the career injustices young women face in lower-level positions.
Hopefully, the series creators reconsider their decision to cover #MeToo in season 3.