When I started The Bold Type, I really didn’t expect to continue streaming it, but I was soon proven wrong. The Bold Type was just one of those shows that I couldn’t stop watching. Though the storylines were contrived and unrealistic, it was heartening to see a show that attempted to represent marginalized communities at any capacity. A mere few episodes in, I quickly understood that the mission of the show was just that.
As an immigrant, I was especially drawn to Adena’s storyline. Her issues with the red-tape of immigration services hit close to home, and it was one of the only storylines on TV that I’ve seen do so. But the fact that she was a liberal, queer, Muslim woman made her character the highlight of the show to me.
Even aside from character representation, the show clearly made efforts to spotlight important issues, including their MeToo storyline (which aired months before the #MeToo movement became mainstream).
But in the last few episodes of season 4, the show has begun to contradict everything they’d built in prior storylines. More specifically, the introduction of Eva has betrayed the very nature of The Bold Type.
Eva is first introduced as the daughter of RJ Safford, the owner of Scarlet, the liberal and self-dubbed feminist publication that the girls are proud to work at. The plot thickens when Kat finds out that RJ has shown support for conversion therapy. When Kat exposes RJ’s bigotry publicly, Eva ensures that Kat is fired from her job, leading Kat to take a job as a bartender at The Belle. It’s here that they cross paths again and form a closer relationship.
Viewers are then quickly introduced to how deeply privileged and intolerant Eva truly is. For example, she’s shown to have explicitly negative views on immigrants and other marginalized groups. Throughout her storyline, Eva is positively depicted as a bold, outspoken woman. Despite her views, she’s able to engage in discourse with Kat, and even develops a romantic relationship with her.
I understand the reasoning behind introducing Eva’s character – that everyone has opinions, and that doesn’t necessarily make them a terrible person. But the problem is that Eva didn’t just have a different favorite color than Kat; she’s a bigot.
Eva’s rhetoric is nothing short of hateful and dangerous. She doesn’t believe that immigrants should be given the same rights as citizens. She takes anti-environment stances. She advocates for the dehumanization of marginalized groups.
By creating Eva, the showrunners are pushing a dangerous, harmful idea – that the views Eva upholds are just a matter of opinion and deserve the same validation as anyone else’s.
A show dedicated to spotlighting the lives of progressive women, that has tackled several important topics in the past, should never have even thought to give a voice to such inflammatory views. Because these “opinions” don’t deserve a platform, especially not on a “progressive” network as Freeform, that kids and teenagers watch believing to be woke. Not now, not ever.
It’s not just me – millions of fans were disgusted at the romanticization of conservatism that the show tried to portray. Aisha Dee, the actress who plays Kat, even took to her Instagram to publicly express her disappointment at the direction the writers took and called the show out for a lack of diversity.
After reading Dee’s statement, the whole storyline became much clearer. Marginalized writers would probably never create such a crass, harmful plot, only reinforcing the need for representation in the writer’s room.
In the season four finale, after a last-minute rewrite, the writers seemed to shut the door on any future with Kat and Eva when Kat is seen sending Eva a text saying she doesn’t want to continue their relationship. But the damage is done. The Bold Type betrayed not only so many loyal fans, but themselves too. While the whole world continues to protest the very institutions that Eva symbolizes, The Bold Type decided to glorify them.
The show has yet to be renewed for a fifth season, but if it is, I can only hope the writers remember the story’s roots. We can disagree on things like whether coffee’s better hot or iced. But certain things can’t be up for debate. Our humanity is one of them.