When Freeform renewed “The Bold Type” in October of last year, a new showrunner was brought onboard the women’s magazine-set drama: Amanda Lasher comes with a list of credits that include “Gossip Girl,” “Togetherness” and most recently “Sweet/Vicious.” But one title she also says is key is fan of the first season of the show.
“A lot of people found the show and really responded to it, myself included,” Lasher tells Variety about the first season. To that end, she “very much wanted to continue the thread” of the show, rather than come in with a lot of changes.
“You just want to spend time with those three young women, and so that was something that I very much wanted to continue,” she continues. “I love the way that the show tackles social issues but always through the lens of the friendship, but really my main goal, beyond continuing [those themes], was to take the opportunity that you get with a second and third season to go deeper with these characters and get to know them more and understand where they come from and what makes them tick.”
Still, Lasher had some work cut out for her. While the first season finale didn’t completely blow up the world, it did separate its core characters when Jane (Katie Stevens) opted to leave the supportive environment of Scarlet Magazine for a chance to run her own vertical at another publication. Meanwhile, Kat (Aisha Dee) decided to fly halfway around the world to be with Adena (Nikohl Boosheri). This left Sutton (Meghann Fahy) behind at Scarlett, still sorting out complicated feelings for Richard (Sam Page) while trying to move up in her role and get more styling credits.
Lasher says she saw the separation as “both an opportunity and a challenge” from a storytelling standpoint. On one hand, “it gave us a chance to see our girls facing the very real challenges of when your life changes unexpectedly,” she says. But on the other, she knew she had to get them back together fairly quickly since “the heart and soul of the show are those three girls together.”
The answer, for Lasher, was to set more scenes with the core trio in new locations, including more time spent with them at their respective homes. “As much as we can open up the world, we want to do it,” she says. The key, is finding a “sweet spot” in the balance between personal and professional settings and pieces of the show’s storytelling.
As she expanded their world in the beginning of the season out of necessity, she found it provided exciting opportunities. So even after “Jane… eventually finds her way back to Scarlet,” the season will explore more stories “outside of the fashion closet.”
She also wanted to address the seemingly fast-track to success Jane had by getting offered her own vertical. “Seeing Jane facing failure in a real way for the first time and not having such a nurturing boss as Jacqueline and what that feels like — because I think it’s so incredible that we have Jacqueline to have that role model, but that’s not everybody’s experience — was important,” Lasher says. “She took a gamble and we wanted to see it play out.”
The first season of the show tackled tough topics like sexual harassment and assault before #MeToo exploded as a movement. It also dove into issues of women’s health and sexuality. Since those themes are ingrained in the show’s DNA, Lasher plans to continue down the road of socially-conscious storytelling — although she admits they will be “moving on” from #MeToo, despite Jacqueline’s (Melora Hardin) powerful admission about her own assault in the first season finale.
“It was organic for the character at the time,” Lasher says of why she feels the story made sense in the first season but won’t be continuing to mine it now. “It comes up a little bit in this season, but they did such a beautiful job of covering it in Season 1, we really felt like there was a nice deep dive then.”
Instead, Lasher points out that since the “palette of the show gives us huge opportunities to explore body positivity and racial identity and sexual identity,” they will be diving deeper there. The show will also tackle “slut-shaming and the stride of pride — instead of the walk of shame” — Lasher adds, and flesh out its characters’ backstories even further by meeting some of their family members.
Anything topical the show does address, Lasher says, will be done in a way that “matches character stories — to make sure it feels real and grounded.”
“One of the huge benefits of being able to have a Season 2 and a Season 3 is we know we have space and time to try different things,” she notes.
And occasionally this will mean putting the women of “The Bold Type” at odds with each other.
“We absolutely see them having some really tricky moments in their friendship where their views on things come into conflict with each other,” Lasher says. “But at the end of the day they love each other, so even if they don’t agree with a point of view about something or it didn’t come out right, they are able to give each other the benefit of the doubt. They have this really supportive relationship and at the same time are able to give each other s— from time to time. And it’s kind of like all of these conversations we’re having right now, they’re messy and they’re complicated, and so to see the friends having to sort through that because it’s real and true to who they — and we — are.”
“The Bold Type” Season 2 premieres June 12 on Freeform.