Aug 04, 2023

‘Minx’ Recap, Season 2, Episode 3: It’s okay to like it

Joyce Prigger has always felt like a bit of a Minxy enigma, to use a word from this week’s episode. She started Minx as a way to put out her feminist work, a sort of mass-market version of The Matriarchy Awakens. And while she might have said she was cool with the porn, it never really felt like she was, even if — as we see in this episode — she’s pretty good at finding a POV in photo shoots.

In a way, you have to wonder if Joyce’s Minx is the rest of the world’s Minx. With Doug out there slinging gold jackets and at least two different kinds of Minx ashtrays, it feels like Joyce has put herself in kind of a weird place. She’s let her vision into the world, but how it’s being received isn’t really up to her anymore. And that’s tough, too, because Joyce Prigger is a grade-A control freak.

Take this week’s episode, “It’s Okay To Like It,” in which we’re about seven months into the booming success story that is Minx, and Joyce is trying her hardest to dodge a dictator-toppling reporter from Rolling Stone. He wants to do a story that glorifies and examines her vision, but she’s (to use his words) “gripping onto the wheel so tightly her fingers are going to break.” She dashes around the office trying to hide from Annie Leibovitz, and she hands him a sheath of pre-answered questions that every hack reporter’s already tried. (To be fair, I think this is a cool thing to do and maybe something that a publicist should have done before. It’s like an EPK or something nowadays.)

The reporter, Simon Michaels, tells Joyce that he thinks the country’s in the middle of a sort of revolution and that she could be at its center, but from what he sees, she’s really just watching from the sidelines. And that’s true, right? Joyce might have slept with the first Minx model and she can hang with the best of them when she’s out at the tiki bar with the crew, but she’s no Bambi. She’s no Richie. Her attitude seems more “It’s okay if you want to do it, but it’s not for me,” which is perfectly acceptable but not all that sexy, press-wise. If Joyce is Minx, then the world thinks she should be the female Hugh Hefner, fannying around in slinky gowns and bedding a string of hot guys. (Minus everything we know about Hefner now, of course.)

And why isn’t she like that? What’s holding her back? As she tells Simon, she’s worried that she got everything so fast that she’s bound to screw it up. And hey, she might, even if Simon thinks she’s exactly where she belongs. Can Joyce really become this badass celebrity boss and media figure?

It’s hard to know since we don’t know enough about Joyce. We don’t know much of her backstory, and you’ve got to wonder what it was, especially as we see Shelly embrace her seductive and dominant side as neighborhood badass Bella Larouche. We know that she’s a bit older than Joyce, but the relationship between the two has always been a bit one-sided. Regardless, I’m thrilled to see that Shelly is getting hers (and everyone else’s) at her party and play nights. It seems like she and Lenny are doing a good job of spicing up their marriage, which is nice, too.

Meanwhile, we find out that Richie’s been burning the candle at both ends. Life Magazine called him “the Picasso of the Pecker” and ever since, he’s been invited to just about everything. He’s sleeping with models, doing speed, and rolling into work late. Bambi gives him some straight talk, telling him that her life got pretty wild in the years after Elvis pulled her out of the crowd in seventh grade (ew.) but that she’s learned that you need to take care of yourself first.

I hope someone’s taking care of Richie, though, because it doesn’t seem like Constance is. She tells Joyce that it’s not okay for that month’s centerfold to solely feature two men because “I don’t want to lose sight of our audience,” which is code for “this looks too gay.” She says there’s a “whisper campaign” saying a good portion of the magazine’s readership is gay and that the demographic doesn’t really jive with what advertisers are buying, which is access to young, hip, successful women. Looking at it through today’s eyes, it’s certainly a gross and all-too-sweeping statement. Here’s hoping it doesn’t become a continuing plot point later in the season.

Constance also isn’t really looking out for Doug — or if she is, she’s doing it in a way he doesn’t really enjoy. Just as he’s about to get Beyond solidified, making it the first magazine in space, she shuts it down, along with Kung Fu Cuties and Feet, Feet, Feet. The ceiling’s too low on that kind of niche content, she says, and she wants him focused on big ideas for Minx instead. The merch already seems like a pretty big swing, so I can’t even imagine where he’ll go next, but I’m excited to find out.

• Josh Fadem, who plays Carl Sagan in this week’s episode, is really doing the lord’s work with this characterization. Bravo!

• Did anyone ever really get tied to railroad tracks or is that just a device for movies and Minx photoshoots? Either way, I love the look of it this episode. And does anyone else want to actually get Minx, or is that just me? Like, I want to find vintage copies at antique stores or something.

• “You’re like the frontwoman of a band, if bands had frontwomen.”

• They don’t really name names at Linda Ronstadt’s party, but we’re supposed to assume that “Graham” is Graham Nash, right? And Judy is Judy Collins?

• It feels like Bambi is above being Doug’s errand girl, but if it means we get more of her and she gets to learn some more about the biz, then I’m all for it.

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Reflections of Desire