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Review: “Minx” cleverly establishes and defines feminism in the 1970s

HBOMax’s new comedy series “Minx” draws in audiences with porn, feminism and gangsters.

By Natalie Metcalf, Staff Writer

Jake Johnson (left) and Ophelia Lovibond (right) star in HBOMax’s original single camera sitcom. (Photo Courtesy of HBO Max)

Set in 1971, “Minx” comments on feminists issues such as societal roles and double standards, while also containing comedic elements such as the creation of the first male centerfold.

“Minx” follows Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond), a journalist and feminist with dreams of creating a political women's magazine – “The Matriarchy Awakens.” But to Prigger’s dismay, the only one taking her idea seriously is porn publisher Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson). Renetti wants to “hide the medicine” of feminism by adding a nude male centerfold to the magazine.

“I’ve always found that the best truths are naked ones,” says Joyce after she publishes her first issue of “Minx.” According to Doug and Joyce’s deal, they set out to publish three issues of the nude male magazine.

Joyce is a little skeptical and judgemental of Doug’s line of business at first, but along the bumpy road, she learns that she can change her own mind and others with the women's erotic magazine.

Lovibond plays the main character powerfully, as her acting matches the tonal shifts in the show. The show carries both comedic and dramatic elements, informing readers about sexist double standards in porn consumption. Joyce is stubborn and one of her flaws is her obstinance, often complaining when things do not go her way. The amount of times she decides to back out of the deal can become a little daunting to viewers.

Known for his role of Nick Miller in the Fox sitcom “New Girl” (2011-2018), it is no surprise that Johnson’s acting is humorous in his latest endeavor. While his character might want to steal the spotlight, Johnson does not. The ensemble in “Minx” was flawlessly cast and the actors’ chemistry is a wonder to watch. Johnson and Idara Victor – who plays Doug’s secretary Tina – have winning chemistry throughout the series, convincing audiences to root for them.

Episode five – “Relying on the ways of a wayward snake” – is the most comedic of the season. If Joyce and Doug attempt to sell their magazine, they must be on the mafia’s good side, as the Valley’s organized crime provides the trucks to ship the magazine. In the episode, both the writing and the cast are familiar to audiences now knowing the rhythm of the show.

Ellen Rapoport is the head writer and producer on the show. Rapoport’s writing is impeccable, as she combines accurate sitcom comedic structure with comments on double standards and inequality in America.

“Minx” is a single-camera comedy, which is shot with one camera, unlike a multicamera comedy which is shot on a sound stage with a live audience. The show being filmed in this format works well with the production design. During the series, audiences see parts of New York City and the Valley in the 1970s. Vintage cars, accurate decade home decor and newsroom offices stand out, making the show look classy and timeless.

The costumes in the series stand out more than anything. The retro and vintage aesthetic adds a realistic ‘70s vibe to the show. Beth Morgan designed the costumes for the series, from pantsuits to bell bottom jeans, putting Doug and Joyce in an authentic recreation of the Valley in the 1970s.

The soundtrack is notably good as well, as each song pumps up the audience and makes them want to watch more. “Venus” by Shocking Blue ends the first episode and emphasizes the theme of empowerment in the series.

As of right now, the comedy series has not been picked up for a second season. By the end of the first season, every plot line is wrapped up amusingly yet bittersweet.

Viewers of “Minx” will be left wanting more, even as the first season comes to an end. The first episode of the series premiered March 17 on HBOMax, and all 10 episodes are available to stream.


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