Will Joyce and Doug’s Partnership Survive? ‘Minx’ (RECAP)

In Minx Episodes 5 and 6, the magazine is no longer a distant dream for Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond): it finally hits shelves across the country. Joyce, though, learns that the reality of her magazine and being a feminist in the public eye are not as satisfying as she imagined.

The first hurdle comes when Doug’s (Jake Johnson) magazine distributor, mob boss Vince (Al Sapienza), shows his wife Francesca (Lesli Margherita) the magazine and she is offended by Joyce’s article on single women having access to birth control. When Doug brings the Bottom Dollar team to the warehouse to rip the offending article out of all the printed copies, Joyce converses with the warehouse workers, inadvertently inspiring them to organize against terrible working conditions. This leads Doug and Joyce to appeal to Vince in person by showing up at his son’s birthday party.

The second hurdle appears after the Minx team does grassroots marketing to help raise awareness about the magazine and boost its low sales. Joyce goes to Glenn (Michael Angarano) in hopes that he (and his media contacts) can secure her an exciting celebrity interview for the next issue. He suggests Wendy Mah (Alicia Hannah-Kim), the author of Aphrodisia, which Joyce refuses to read because it’s not her brand of feminism and furthermore “The Times eviscerated it.” Glenn, however, mentions that Wendy is teaching at Woodbridge College and he can introduce them. That introduction results in a chance for Joyce to address a Woodbridge feminist collective group – just the sort of people Joyce hopes are Minx’s target audience. So it’s a rude awakening when the students explain they disagree with Minx’s narrow view of feminism – one that favors the plight of upper-middle class white women – and they think Joyce is a sellout for giving in to the demands of advertisers. 

To make matters even worse, when Minx gets into the wrong hands, the team’s grassroots marketing on the Woodbridge campus incites a protest. This is not how Joyce pictured her magazine’s reception, and definitely not how she hoped to begin her time in the public eye.

Jake Johnson as Doug and Ophelia Lovibond as Joyce (COURTESY: Katrina Marcinkowski/HBO Max)

Joyce is further frustrated by Doug’s continued refusal to take her seriously in their partnership. He doesn’t stick up for Joyce when they appeal to Vince, relegates her to the kitchen with the other women, and ignores Joyce’s argument against a Minx interview with Billy Brunson (Austin Nichols). Though Joyce resents losing control of something so important to her, Minx is important to Doug as well: should it fail, so too will his experiment in legitimate business, something Doug seems hellbent on proving was the right move to Tina (Idara Victor), despite its incredible expense for the both of them.

I understand completely why Joyce is so frustrated with Doug, especially given how much trust and respect he has for Tina. In the same episode that he and Joyce appeal to the mob, Doug leaves Tina in charge of the office, prompting Tina to change to how each magazine uses the shared studio, and Doug approves her changes without even bothering to read them. Tina and Doug have worked together for a long time, and have had the chance to build up a relationship – which calls into question what it will take for Doug to finally respect Joyce. If she can’t earn his respect, how will their partnership be able to move forward?

Ophelia Lovibond as Joyce, Lennon Parham as Shelly, Jessica Lowe as Bambi, Oscar Montoya as Richie, Idara Victor as Tina (COURTESY: Katrina Marcinkowski/HBO Max)

Amid all the hubbub in making the magazine a success, one of the highlights of Minx episodes 5 and 6 is the new friendship between Shelly (Lennon Parham) and Bambi (Jessica Lowe). The two pair up when Doug sends the team out for grassroots marketing and use Shelly’s understanding of housewives in her neck of the woods to help spread the Minx gospel. They end up getting arrested for pedaling pornography within a thousand feet of a school (!), and Shelly finds herself banned from her regular grocery store. Though Bambi feels bad about Shelly getting blackballed from her community, Shelly says she doesn’t mind too much – normally, she doesn’t get in trouble, and the trouble she’s getting in now fun.

I’m intrigued by Shelly’s story so far. She starts Minx as a bored housewife who encourages her younger sister to partner with Doug to make the magazine a reality. It seems like a chance for Shelly to live vicariously through Joyce, but now that she’s a part of the magazine’s staff too, she gets to live for herself – and on the edge as well. And Shelly finds that she enjoys it. By the end of this week’s episodes, though, she does recognize that she needs to return to her family. Lennon Parham does an excellent job portraying the nuances of a character clearly looking for something more out of life than what she has and who isn’t quite ready to change her life completely. Bambi seems like just the type of person who Shelly needs on the journey of figuring out what actually makes her happy.

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