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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season one finale of Freeform’s The Bold Type.]
The first season of Freeform’s women’s magazine dramedy The Bold Type ended Tuesday with plenty of closure for all of its characters.
Star writer Jane (Katie Stevens) took on a major story and resigned from her position at Scarlet magazine to take a job at an online publication. Social media manager Kat (Aisha Dee) took off for an adventure with girlfriend Adina (Nikohl Boosheri). Fashion assistant Sutton (Meghann Fahy) was about to reconcile with boyfriend Richard (Sam Page). And, perhaps more importantly, boss Jacqueline (Melora Hardin) opened up about her sexual assault as a young reporter (and gave her blessing for Jane to move on).
Hopefully it wasn’t too much closure, however, showrunner Sarah Watson tells The Hollywood Reporter. (Sources note that The Bold Type is a slam-dunk for a renewal, though Freeform has yet to formally announce a pickup.)
“There was that struggle of wanting to give a satisfying conclusion to all the characters’ storylines while at the same time giving it a place to go if and when, god willing, we get a season two,” she said.
Watson, who said the response to the show’s first season has been “overwhelming and amazing,” discussed the finale and the biggest burning questions she hopes to address in a potential second season.
Was the sexual assault storyline in the finale — with Jacqueline opening up to Jane about her past as Jane writes her final story for Scarlet — something you wanted to address all along?
Very early in the season we started talking about how much we’re seeing Kat, Jane and Sutton in this incredibly integral time in their lives — when you’re in your early-to-mid-twenties and you’re just starting to climb the ladder, and the excitement of these experiences that were going to shape them. Then, when we turned to Jacqueline, we started talking about what are the experiences she had early in her career that shaped who she is? We talked about how different it was, even 20 years ago, to be a young, up-and-coming reporter in your 20s. And we started talking about how much just in 20 years the support of reporting [assault] has become. I don’t want to make a blanket statement, but I think I can say that 20 years ago women were not as supported coming out with stories like these. Jacqueline is a guarded person — what has made her guarded? Some of that is just professional distance. I had Melora come in and talked to her about it so that she would always know that was a piece of her character.
Do you feel a sense of responsibility when you’re telling a story about sexual assault?
I definitely was nervous to take on a story like this. It’s very much like Jane telling this story — it’s a big and scary thing to take on the responsibility of telling somebody else’s trauma, even when it’s a fictional character. And so we never approached it as we want to tell a different issue every week. We always approached it from the place of character, because otherwise I think you run the risk of telling stories that become very preachy.
Kat’s storyline about exploring her sexuality and falling for Adina has been celebrated online. Will we see more of their story in a potential season two?
Obviously it depends on so many factors — Nikkoal Boosheri could go book a pilot! It depends on circumstances that are very much out of my control, but I would like to see more of them and continue to play the complication. What we did want to be a cliffhanger in this one is did Kat up and quit her job to go see Adina? Is she just there for the weekend? Will Adina be able to get back in the country? We wanted there to be a lot of questions that are left unanswered.
Sutton’s succeeding in her professional life, but what about her personal life? Are she and Richard back on?
We wanted to end on a feeling of hopefulness but not certainty. That’s why we made the decision to go out when the elevator doors close. We don’t know what happens behind those elevator doors. All we can do is hope! It was still up in the air whether Jane would actually quit her job, but she did.
What does the show look like if Jane works somewhere else?
We will have to get our season two to figure it out, but I love change and I love throwing big changes as characters. I think it leaves a lot of room for the show to move and grow and to explore — did she make the right decision? Does she want to be back at Scarlet or do we now exist in several different worlds? I think there’s so many different things and so much movement we can do that I’m excited to figure out Jane’s next steps if and when we get season two.
Where are the girls going to chat now that they won’t all be able to go to the fashion closet?
They’re going to have to find a Central Perk. Maybe we’ll just build a replica.
What’s something you wanted to do but didn’t get a chance to cover in season one?
The thing we didn’t have enough time for is doing more storylines for the men without the women. In season two I would love to get to see what they do when they’re not in the women’s storylines. Another thing I really want to do in season two, and it’s actually very intentional that we didn’t do it in season one, is delve a little bit more into Jacqueline’s personal life and her life at home and also her life with the board. What happens when she has to go upstairs and she’s no longer the big boss, and she has a boss? In season one we very much wanted to keep her President Bartlett-type character that’s a central powerhouse who had a little bit of an air of mystery, but in season two I think we’ve earned the ability to follow her a little bit more.
Do you have a favorite character or storyline from the first season?
I think I love all my children. I’m proud of all of it and I’m proud that different people have identified with different characters. I’ve gotten messages from people who said seeing Kat have to fire her first employee, they just identified with that so much, or seeing Sutton learn to speak up for herself at work. I had one woman tweet to me that after seeing that episode she decided to go in and ask for the money she deserved at work and she got it. That just makes me feel so good. I’m proud of that woman! But I think the Kadina storyline, to see the way that has resonated with people has been really meaningful to me.
What will it look like with Jane at a completely different type of publication in season two?
I think [it will be interesting to see] — and what kind of stories she tells, and if she likes that or misses the Scarlet environment, and how different those environments are. It’s exciting, there are a lot of interesting stories to tell.
How will Jane operate without Jacqueline’s mentorship?
We argued in the writers room a lot about should she take the job or not. Is it the right decision to make or not? We put it into TV terms — if you get on a big show with an incredible boss and mentor but then you get the opportunity to go run your own show on a tiny network no one has ever heard of, what’s the right decision? Do you go and have so much more power and control but you don’t get to grow and continue with that mentorship? There’s arguments to be made for both, and there was definitely not consensus in the writers room, I can tell you that.
But do you ever know when you’re making the right decision?
Honestly, even as writers I don’t think we’ll know if it was the right decision for Jane until we start telling stories there. It might be the wrong decision — that’s what your 20s are for, for making wrong decisions.
The Bold Type is awaiting a formal season two renewal at Freeform.
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