Recommended: Minx on HBO Max
What's Minx About?
A hyper-earnest feminist and a slick porn peddler team up to publish a groundbreaking erotic magazine targeted at women amid the changing sexual politics of the early 1970s.
Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?
The sexual politics of yesteryear have become quite the popular subgenre on television. And whether we're seeing the struggles to ratify the ERA on Mrs. America or the workaday lives of female wrestlers on GLOW, the underlying message is the same: That was a time of change, you dig? And what better place to watch the sexual revolution in action than the world of skeezy porn publications of the San Fernando Valley?
Minx tackles this subject matter as a half-hour comedy, and one that blessedly doesn't spare the jokes. In fact, the show revels in the fish-out-of-water charms of Joyce, the crusading feminist, needing to hold her nose and team up with a pornographer like Doug in order to realize her dream of running a feminist magazine. Of course, nobody has any interest in publishing something called The Matriarchy Awakens — her preferred title — but Doug sees dollar signs in the novel idea of creating a smut mag that women will want to buy. The show maxmimizes the push and pull of Doug and Joyce meeting in the middle, he pushing the spoonful of sugar (visible penises) that will make her medicine (feminism) go down.
At first blush, you might suspect a Sam-and-Diane plotline for our two leads, and Lovibond and Johnson are indeed great together. But if they're going to couple up, there's no sign of it in the episodes that were screened for critics. She may be as buttoned up as he is slick and sleazy (a dynamic reflected perfectly in the necklines of their respective wardrobes), but their bickering chemistry is of a professional variety. This works because it lets the show become a true ensemble gig, which is where it really shines. Within the workspace at "Minx" (the title of both the show and the magazine), Joyce is pushed to loosen up, even as she holds fast to her principles, while at the same time Doug's employees — particularly the fabulous Jessica Lowe as the studio's deeper-than-she-looks supposed "bimbo" and Oscar Montoya as a queer-coded photographer — find themselves increasingly enriched by Joyce's enlightened influence.
Promos for Minx have promised a lot of skin, and it delivers, with more visible penises than likely all other TV pilots this year. And while the concept of the comedy penis can sometimes carry with it the whiff of panic, fear not, Minx delivers members to fit any mood, from jaunty to matter-of-fact to storyline-advancing. The show's relationship to sex is one of its best assets, having fun with its smutty milieu while also letting Joyce discover, to coin a phrase, the joy of sex. (It also gives her a smoking hot initial love interest played by The Kissing Booth 2 and 3 star Taylor Zakhar Perez).
The show's secret weapon often turns out to be Lennon Parham as Joyce's sister. Parham has perfected the art of being uproariously funny whilst being impeccably decent on shows like Playing House and Best Friends Forever. Here, in a role that you might expect to be a scold or even just a sounding board, she offers the perspective of Joyce's ideal target audience: a housewife with an open mind.
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