This week’s episode of The Bold Type, airing tomorrow on Freeform, is crucial for viewers to see. The Bold Type has created a realistic portrayal of the workplace, but this week’s episode takes a deeper look. For Millennial viewers that are just entering the work force, this episode is the perfect education, fit into a fun and compelling hour of entertainment.
While many episodes of The Bold Type have revolved around the personal lives of Jane, Sutton, and Kat, this episode has a more professional backdrop. For Jane and Sutton particularly, this episode almost entirely revolves around their careers. Both go through firsts in their professions: Sutton is in the beginning steps of her dream job, and Jane is facing backlash for the first time for an article she wrote. This episode is a unique look at the struggles that come with working your dream job, and is a look that has never been represented on television before.
What’s most interesting about this episode is how it covers the good and the bad. While Jane and Sutton take a step forward in their careers, they are faced with roadblocks that to them, feel more like a step backwards. Let’s start with Jane (spoiler free of course)…
This week, Jane is feeling confident in her writing, in a way that we haven’t seen yet this season. So far, Jane is finding where her writing voice fits in to Scarlett magazine. She’s been a bit hesitant up until this point, but this week, she starts out proud of the article she has written. But that quickly changes when the subject of her article is not happy with Jane’s portrayal, and sues both Jane and the magazine. Jane is contradicted: she feels guilty, like she let the magazine down, but at the same time, she stands behind her writing and feels that her article should be celebrated instead of criticized. As always, she turns to her mentor, Jacqueline, for advice about how to handle the criticism. Jacqueline gives her solid advice that is vital to viewers of all ages. Jacqueline assures Jane, “Sometimes you’re just going to fail. That’s what it means to be a professional.”
For Millennial viewers that are just entering the work force, this quote is huge, and is unlike anything our generation has been told. While Jane is a writer working her dream job, this quote by Jacqueline could apply to anyone, of any age, in any career. This episode is also a great lesson in control. While Jane is being sued, she is unsure how to handle the situation. The magazine team advises her to stay quiet to minimize the situation, but Jane disagrees. She is proud of the article she wrote, and feels that staying quiet is admitting guilt. But as she speaks up for herself and her article, she soon realizes that the situation can take a turn for the worst. This episode is a great look at a situation that often isn’t addressed: Sometimes it may be best to do nothing. Rather than continuing a difficult argument, sometimes the most adult and professional thing to do is move on. Jane feels that it is right to fight for her article, but she learns for the first time that what she writes will not always be loved by everyone. And Jacqueline assures her that it is okay. She assures Jane that if an article is met with criticism, the professional approach is to to step back, move on to the next article, and write something that you can be proud of. This approach hasn’t been seen often on television before, and when it was, it was portrayed as “an easy way out.” But for The Bold Type, this simple approach is presented with merit. It is shown to be professional, and as a mature way to handle conflict. Viewers are shown that this is essential: quite simply, the less conflict- the better. As a viewer, there’s something very freeing to this approach, and much different from what’s been represented on TV before.
Perhaps the best thing about The Bold Type is that unlike other television dramas, the show doesn’t romanticize workplace drama. So often on television, drama in the workplace is thought of as a compelling topic, as if your career won’t be interesting unless a lot of co-workers hate you. The Bold Type takes a much more adult approach, and a more realistic one at that. Most of all, this is the most healthy approach that young viewers can see when beginning a career of their own.
This episode is also a big one for Sutton, who is growing more and more each episode into the most bold she can be. From what we’ve seen so far this season, Sutton is taking risks in her career, but in the most respectful way. This is another crucial representation that is important for viewers to see. It gives the message that you don’t have to compete with other people, and particularly other women, to get what you want. If you want to advance in your career, focus on your strengths rather than bringing out the weaknesses of others.
This week, Sutton realizes that her new position in the fashion industry has a lower salary than she expected, and she begins to worry about her finances. This is a relate-able topic that Millennials deal with every day, and is finally being shown on television in a realistic light.
This episode may be the biggest one so far for Sutton’s character, as she deals with confronting a new boss, debating her choice in career, worrying about financially supporting the life she’s made for herself, and dealing with seeing someone new take over her former job. And, she learns the benefits of a kickass Power Pose.
Sutton struggles with her new salary, and tries to increase the money she will be making, with no avail. Instead, she approaches her boss about other incentives, such as perks involving overtime, travel and lunch stipends, and the potential for salary growth in the near future. In the scene where Sutton approaches her boss about these incentives, she is arguably the most bold we’ve seen her all season. Honestly, this scene is really intimidating: no one feels completely comfortable approaching their boss, especially young girls. But this scene is incredibly empowering, as we see Sutton un-apologetically ask for what she wants in the most respectful way. (Will she get what she asks for? You’ll have to tune in to find out…)
The final song in this episode (Someone to You by BANNERS) is a perfect recap. The song represents exactly what the girls are going through with lyrics like “I believe that you could lead the way.” And that is what the show is all about- being bold, being brave, and becoming a leader.
The episode ends with positive affirmation that all viewers need to hear. The voice-over says it all- “Whatever the obstacle is, you need to push through it. You are stronger than you think.” Whether it be in the work place, in your romantic life, or life in general, the message from this episode of The Bold Type is one that viewers will be lucky to hear.
(And don’t think we forgot about Kat and Adena. Tune in to see their new dynamic together- plus the episode ends with a HUGE cliffhanger for the two!)
The Bold Type airs Tuesdays at 9 on Freeform.