Wednesday, 18 July 2018

The Bold Type Betsy Review: "Missing The Mark"

If there's one thing that can be said about The Bold Type? It doesn't shy away from controversy. Whether that's good or bad in the case of this episode, will probably be debated for time to come.

So let's get the big elephant out of the room; as had long been speculated Adena did indeed suggest to Kat that they move forward with an open relationship. The reasoning is that neither of them want to lose each other as they do both love each other, but Kat's curiosity with women isn't going to go away, she can't explore the full remnants of her sexuality if she's in an exclusive relationship, and rather than end up resenting Adena for denying her that freedom to explore herself, she can indeed do that with other women with Adena's blessing.

This storyline has a number of issues. It began last week with Kat kissing another woman and in the process ticking the 'bisexual cheats on their partner' trope off the list. Many may be able to emphasize with Kat's position, but the fact of the matter is the LGBT community is done with the death and cheating tropes. They're boring, and explore no new ground whatsoever and this open relationship business just adds insult to injury. I can't honestly remember the last time I saw any heterosexual couple on screen taking part in an open relationship. That's not to say it doesn't happen, but it's rare, whereas LGBT couples? They have everything thrown at them.

If the show wanted to do a storyline with Kat exploring her sexuality, they could've done that last season when Adena temporarily departed and Kate enjoyed a night out on the town. But instead we were told Kat was a one woman girl, which is an even bigger insult to intelligence than all this other messiness, and a really crappy cop-out to avoid labeling a character as bisexual. You want to keep Adena around and have Kat explore her sexuality? Have Adena move in with Kat as friends, and Kat as a single person exploring her sexuality with girls after having an awakening, and then eventually come to understand she is bisexual, she likes girls and boys per say, but Adena is the one girl she actually wants a relationship with.

The Bold Type likes to be brave and tackle subject matters other shows back away from. So far we've had immigration under Trump which will probably be brought back, white privilege, slut shaming and sexual assault in the work place. All of which the show has covered well enough, but an open relationship? It feels like a step too far. Kat and Adena have barely been allowed to enjoy the honeymoon stage of their relationship, and fans will be completely entitled to feel cheated. In this episode we had Kat talking to Adena about her date because she was so excited, and whilst Adena was uncomfortable at first, she grew into the conversation. I do not see her doing that on a long-term basis and nor should she have to.

Given this show hasn't let me down yet though, I am keeping faith with the writers. They need to handle this storyline as respectfully as can be, which granted they did well enough this week. Kat and Adena had an open conversation over how the relationship would work. Kat was honest with her hook-up over her circumstances. She told Adena what happened because she didn't want to lie to her, and is extremely clear that she's only doing this because Adena suggested it. So I'm willing to stick with them for now.

What I'm not willing to stick with is the poor attempt at conversation over gun control. This show can cover a lot of subjects, but gun control is a MASSIVE issue, and one that felt too massive for The Bold Type.

Personally speaking, I don't like guns. But then I live in a country with gun control, so it's thoroughly beyond comprehension large parts of America love guns. Knowing that people die needlessly every day from gun incidents saddens me, especially when things could be done to stop that. Bearing all this in mind, I should've been completely on Jane's side.

I wasn't.

If I randomly found a gun all locked up in my room-mates closet? I would be freaked out and concerned for my safety at first. But if my room-mate calmly explained guns are part of the culture she grew up in, she demonstrated that she knows how to properly handle them, the gun doesn't have any ammunition, she even has an instruction manual and the gun is perfectly safe? Sure, I'd be annoyed I didn't know in the first place, but I'm not full of such self righteousness that I'm going to ignore everything she's saying and doing to show me I'm safe.

Jane was full of facts on gun violence. Sutton was full of proclamations that 'guns don't kill, people do', which is unfortunately the same argument many gun lovers tot. Jane was judgemental from the off, shooting Sutton dirty looks, making digs, wanting to do an article just to prove how out of order she was, wanted the gun out of the house because all of a sudden she didn't feel safe, and for good measure the writers ever threw in a bit of tragic back story, just to really rub in how bad guns are, how right Jane was, and that holding the gun absolutely terrified her.

Even worse in this situation was the fact Kat was completely silent. She didn't have a point of view other than to look between her two best friends, not knowing what to do with herself as they both made persuasive arguments. Granted Kat was preoccupied with relationship issues, but she still should've had a point of view.

It was all heavy-handed, overly preaching and felt like an after school special between a Republican and Liberal gone wrong. Up until this episode Sutton had never mentioned guns, nor her love for them and I find it strange to be living with a person who is also your best friend and not knowing they have a gun. After a lot of back and forth, which was them both throwing verbal punches, aggravating each other and soul searching, Jane eventually deduced Sutton loved her gun so much because it was the one thing she was in control of, and she needed to take back her life.

That of course meant facing Brooke who had been dodging her since Sutton dodged her, and then admitting to Oliver she couldn't get the bag for him. All of that was resolved with Sutton letting Brooke walk away and Oliver getting the bag through his own connections. Sutton is now free as a bird and she doesn't need her gun anymore for safe keeping.

Completely and utterly nonsensical. If you're going to explore a subject matter like this, either do it right or quite simply don't.

The episode also had Jane trying to get to grips with being back at Scarlet, Jacqueline refusing to allow her to get back into her comfort zone and the discovery that a shop turns no longer wanted guns into other objects.

It's too bad they couldn't do the same with this episode.