DOUG AND TINA HIVE RISE UP!
I have been waiting for this moment pretty much since Minx‘s first episode after noticing the way Doug (Jake Johnson) and Tina (Idara Victor) interact with each other when they’re alone. From a myriad of casual touches to the way Doug doesn’t even hide how much he cares about Tina when he looks at her, I’ve wanted to figure out what’s up with these two from the first moment they appear together on our screens. And in this week’s episodes, we got some interesting insight into what the heck is going on between Doug and Tina on Minx!
Episode seven begins with the fallout of the protests at Woodbridge College, which made a big splash in the news. Tina continues to remind Doug that she told him this gamble on Minx would blow up in his face, but he’s thriving on the attention and doesn’t want her to ruin it for him. They even get into a disagreement in front of others – which prompts Richie (Oscar Montoya) to mumble to Bambi (Jessica Lowe), “I hate it when Mom and Dad fight.”
Because of the blow-up, Minx gets newfound interview opportunities. Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) is wildly misquoted in a few of them, which in turn spurs more attention for the magazine: Minx begins selling out nationwide. And it’s hard to ignore the beam on Doug’s face when Tina finally accepts the joys of success after the magazine sells out inNew York City.
Of course, Doug is still Doug. He wants to hear Tina say that he was right about the gamble on Minx – especially after they get a call from The Dick Cavett Show wanting Joyce to be a guest. But then he does the unthinkable, something I think he would never do for another person: he tells Tina that she was also right and that he’d been acting foolish because he wanted so badly for the magazine to do well. Tina smiles and admits Doug was right and what’s felt like YEARS of unresolved tension between the two of them is realized when they finally kiss!
Upon first starting Minx, I assumed that Doug and Tina had some sort of past beyond working together for ten years. This is confirmed in the eighth episode when Richie and Bambi go to Tina’s apartment to watch Joyce on Dick Cavett. Richie spots the flowers Doug sent Tina, and, when he sees the note that came with them in the trash, he and Bambi both proclaim, “Again?” So it’s not Doug and Tina’s first time trying to work out a relationship, and Richie and Bambi prod Tina for more information, especially when she says that it feels different this time. They ask if Doug has worked through his childhood trauma or dealt with issues from his two ex-wives. These tidbits are dropped too quickly, but, as an avid Doug and Tina truther (and as someone who wants the best for Tina), I found myself with the same concerns. Tina calms Richie and Bambi by saying that she’s happy, and frankly, if Tina is happy, I’m happy. Only time will tell if this relationship can actually work out.
Obviously, we don’t know the scope of Doug and Tina’s past relationship. The way Richie and Bambi sound so confused to hear that Tina is so willing to pick up with Doug again, though, it seems like things were a mess. On paper, it’s clear to anyone that Doug doesn’t seem like a very good boyfriend or romantic partner. But throughout Minx‘s first season, he’s made it clear that he cares about Tina above all else. He defended her to the mob, calling her his lieutenant; he trusts her to look over Bottom Dollar’s books; and he approved her changes to studio time without even looking them over. Doug wouldn’t do that for just anyone: it’s clear that Tina is special to him, something that’s especially true given the way he treats Joyce in this week’s episodes.
I saw someone mention on Twitter that Minx feels like it would have been a more revolutionary show about ten years ago, and I’m inclined to agree. So far it’s been fun, but it hasn’t said much that hasn’t already been said. However, if Minx *had* come out ten years ago, I don’t think Doug and Tina would be getting the main couple treatment. It’s certainly no longer revolutionary to see an interracial couple featuring a white man and a Black woman. Back in 2012, though, even one option for a white couple would have meant Tina wouldn’t get a second thought. Don’t get me wrong – I still would’ve shipped Doug and Tina until the cows came home. But I also wouldn’t have gotten the same payoff on screen that I get here, so I’m glad that Minx is on in 2022.
A big theme for Joyce this week is realizing that Doug is no different than men she’s dealt with in her past. He doesn’t respect her and it seems like he never will. And he thinks he’s in control of their relationship. Unfortunately, their dynamic comes to a very public head during Joyce’s interview with Dick Cavett (Erin Gann) and Victoria Hartnett (Hope Davis), one of Joyce’s feminist heroes.
Minx‘s eight episode sees a somewhat jarring structural shift in the form of flashbacks to Joyce working for New York magazine in 1968. She goes undercover as a researcher at a commune of activists, hoping to expose the misogyny in the movement. Joyce and her friend Maggie (Gillian Jacobs) are convinced that Joyce is a shoo-in to write the article, especially since she and their boss George (Josh Stamberg) are having a bit of a romance. Of course, George gives the article to one of the other male writers – and, making matters worse, he begins treating another young woman in the office the same way he’d treated Joyce, shattering the illusion that there was something special about her.
During Joyce’s interview, Doug treats her the same way. He arrives late after taking a meeting with football star Billy Brunson (Austin Nichols) about Brunson potentially posing for Minx‘s third cover. Joyce has said before that Billy goes against everything Minx stands for; during his sitdown with Doug, he proves it by making multiple homophobic and misogynistic comments. Doug, only interested in capitalizing on Minx’s success and making the magazine even bigger, ignores everything Brunson says. As much as he acts like he cares about Joyce’s message, at the end of the day, Doug is in this for the money.
The Dick Cavett Show starts off with a somewhat heated discussion, with Victoria Hartnett saying she thinks Minx harms the feminist cause by including in porn and that its articles have a shallow view of feminism (something the Woodbridge students also said). Then, Dick brings Doug out to discuss Minx as well. When asked who’s in control of the magazine, Doug pulls his classic Doug move and talks over Joyce. When Joyce explains that Doug has no control over Minx‘s editorial content, Victoria reveals that he couldn’t stop talking about who he booked for the next cover while they sat together backstage. Which leads Doug to announce, on live television, that Minx has booked Billy Brunson.
Joyce, livid, confronts Doug backstage after the show, accusing him of staging everything to make her look bad. It’s in this moment that she realizes she was wrong to ever defended Doug to others or make excuses for him because he never really had her interests at heart. I think Joyce partnered with Doug tthinking that she could pull an “I can fix him.” But Doug hasn’t shown any indication that he wants to be fixed. He knows who he is and what he wants; if anything, Joyce is not the person for whom he would change.
Their argument and Doug’s bad attempt at an (insincere) apology culminate with him saying, “It’s my ball. My rules. You get it?” By now, Joyce has had enough. She hands over the materials she’d gathered for Minx‘s third issue and, having fulfilled the terms of their three-issue agreement, breaks off her partnership with Doug.
This is an interesting place to stop ahead of Minx‘s season finale next week, with Joyce sticking around in New York with Maggie, Doug heading back to LA, and the rest of the Minx team having watched the uncomfortable interview as it played out. I can’t say I expected Joyce and Doug’s partnership to flame out so quickly, but we’ll soon see if and how they can rebuild it