A muddled episode that loses its way on campus but has some fun moments.
- The conversation about how to market this publication
- The Shelly and Bambi team-up
- Richie is living his best life
- More amazing work from the art department
- Glenn and Joyce are great together, but he still seems like a different character to the pilot
- Some of the college students lean too far into caricature
NOTE: this post contains spoilers for Minx season 1 episode 6 "Mary Had a Little Hysterectomy."
Bringing a new magazine into the world was a challenge long before digital media reshaped the entire print industry. The first half of Minx’s debut season has been a learning experience for both publishing veteran Doug (Jake Johnson) and newcomer Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond). Doug has staked a lot on this project, which is looking more like a bad investment with each passing episode. Getting Minx out into the world has been difficult and the problems persist. Marketing a title that combines male nudity with hard-hitting content is a tall task, but if they don’t it could be curtains for Bottom Dollar.
How do you sell a magazine that is kept under the counter with other hardcore publications and being sent back due to "indecent material?" Unlike the iconic Burt Reynolds Cosmopolitan spread, Shane (Taylor Zakhar Perez) is showing his manhood, so it cannot sit alongside other women’s magazines — despite the flaccid nature of the centerfold. It's a marketing issue and the team has to approach it as such.
"We built this place with hustle," Doug enthusiastically announces, but this level of pep from the boss hides his concern. His confidence took a hit in the last episode and his ability to spin gold out of any situation has hit a dead end.
While Doug fails to secure a face-to-face meeting with the Thrifty stockist to make his case for Minx as a valid title, the rest of the team also finds themselves struggling with this challenge. Well, everyone but Richie (Oscar Montoya), as he hits up a gay bar, which results in a woodland photoshoot with some rather attractive men.
Doug’s announcement that Minx is selling well in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Provincetown and The Castro in San Francisco has prompted Richie’s field trip. Minx’s audience is broader than Joyce anticipated and Richie is smart to seek out the LGBTQ+ crowd.
Two other team-ups hit up two different demographics and experience varying results in getting the Minx name out there. Earlier, Doug wistfully recalls handing out issues of magazines for free when Bottom Dollar first started to develop buzz for their product and he is hoping for a similar reaction to Minx.
Shelly (Lennon Parham) knows how to speak the language of suburban women who crave getting their hands on the next big thing and suggests targeting the local grocery store. Bambi (Jessica Lowe) accompanies her, which begins well and ends with them in jail.
It turns out it's illegal to hand out pornography within 1,000 feet of a school. While Shelly’s idea to hit up the PTA moms is sound in theory it is far from wise in practice. This is quite the dream pairing, even if it results in Shelly now having a "lifetime ban" from her local supermarket. Shelly isn’t too upset though and she gets quite the kick from dropping her responsibilities for a brief moment.
This rebellion doesn’t last long as she can’t be convinced to join Bambi at Elliott Gould’s stunt double’s party in the Canyon. Instead, she has to return to mom life — which on this occasion means checking under her daughter’s bed for monsters. Two very different worlds clashing isn’t always a cause for conflict and it's very sweet when Bambi tells Shelly to use a can of Aqua Net as a monster spray (because that is what her mom used to do).
The events with Bambi and Shelly are rather minor when juxtaposed with the college campus protest that stems from Joyce’s attempts to get the Minx name out there. She tells Doug she can use her media contacts to land a big fish, which is shorthand for going to see ex-boyfriend Glenn (Michael Angarano) at the fictitious Lad Magazine.
Glenn is happy to help with this quest and once again this version is very different from the condescending guy we met in the first episode. For story purposes, I understand why they had to break up in the pilot, however, his growth in the episodes since doesn’t match his disapproving tones and embarrassment when he initially found out where she was working.
Distracting leap aside, this storyline does make a case as to why this pairing is suited. Glenn suggests a meeting with the best-selling author of Aphro-disia, which is the book Joyce sneers at in the opening scene — it is also the same book Francesca is reading in bed at the start of episode 5. Once again, the art department excels at the fake publications (see also the Lad Magazine covers that line Glenn's workplace).
Wendy Mah (Alicia Hannah-Kim) works at the college and is welcoming to Joyce, but ends up leaving her with the combative Feminist Collective student group. Rather than seeing her as a hero, Joyce is met with a barrage of criticism and there is something slightly frustrating about the cliché student feminists that tip into caricature. Sure, they want to show how something cannot appeal to everyone and being first means making compromises, but these representations are so joyless. It was nice to see Wendy giving Joyce the runaround as Joyce had been so dismissive of Wendy’s work, but this plot is also a little muddled. Perhaps it will become clearer if Wendy is to make another appearance, but for now it's as if they needed to orchestrate a campus protest and they worked backward from there.
By the time Doug and Tina (Idara Victor) arrive things are getting out of hand. Doug realizes this is his opportunity to follow Tina’s advice to "pull it together and make it right." Setting fire to a stack of Minx’s wasn’t what she had in mind, but this bold move is going to make Minx a household name. All press is good press and Doug has maybe found a way to turn this venture back around.
Emma Fraser spends most of her time writing about TV, fashion, and costume design; Dana Scully is the reason she loves a pantsuit. Words can also be found at Vulture, Elle, Primetimer, Collider, Little White Lies, Observer, and Girls on Tops. Emma has a Master’s in Film and Television, started a (defunct) blog that mainly focused on Mad Men in 2010, and has been getting paid to write about TV since 2015. It goes back way further as she got her big start making observations in her diary about My So-Called Life’s Angela Chase (and her style) at 14.
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