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Wednesday, May 31st, 2023  


HBO Max, March 17, 2022

Mar 17, 2022 Photography by Katrina Marcinowski Web Exclusive
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Minx is the title of the first erotic magazine for women, which started as a feminist manifesto called The Matriarchy Awakens. This contrast is at the core of the charming new HBO comedy, Minx, with Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) pushing her angry, but well-intentioned agenda, and her publisher, Doug (Jake Johnson) couching her missives in palatable morsels.

The two meet at a publishing convention where potential magazine editors pitch their ideas to publishing companies in 1970s Los Angeles. Joyce makes a concerted effort to avoid Doug, the successful porn publisher. Doug nevertheless picks up a copy of her magazine mock-up that Joyce inadvertently drops when she’s storming out, suggesting that he, “print a magazine full of nude men,” which he thinks is a great idea.

Doug finds Joyce at her dead-end job writing advertising copy at a conventional women’s magazine and proposes to publish her magazine, which is also an attempt at legitimacy for him, whose ambitions should not be discounted. Joyce abruptly turns him down. It takes her older and much wiser sister, Shelly (Lennon Parham), to make her realize Doug is offering Joyce her dream on a platter.

Joyce’s biggest obstacle is herself. She spouts a lot feminist talk—which frankly sounds more like today’s conversations than those of 50 years ago, but she is brutally judgmental, sexually repressed and largely clueless about human nature, definitely not men, but even more so, women. Doug, on the other hand, is open-minded and progressive, and frankly, much more of an active feminist than Joyce, The same goes for her sister and the wonderful people who work at the publishing company: nude model-turned-creative consultant Bambi (Jessica Lowe), smart and sassy secretary Tina (Idara Victor) and fabulous gay stylist-turned-photographer and designer, Richie (Oscar Montoya)—all of whom skirt stereotypes, instead coming across as the complex and likable characters that they are.

This is who makes up the panel for the absolutely priceless male centerfold auditions. Be prepared to see a variety of penises and some insightful commentary on the same. After much resistance, Joyce is only convinced naked men are the way to go for to get her feminist articles into the zeitgeist after every woman she comes across is unfolding the classic Burt Reynolds spread in Cosmopolitan in 1972.

Minx ticks many boxes. An original idea, flawlessly cast, executed with sharp humor and realistic pitfalls, Minx addresses a multitude of societal issues on both a macro and micro level. From female orgasms to women finding a career that speaks to their skills and passions to male objectification, differing viewpoints on women’s rights, misogyny, power dynamics, Minx tackles it all with a nuanced touch.

The only criticism is that while the settings, wardrobe, hair and make-up and excellent music are period accurate, some of the terminology used is straight from Twitter circa 2022. This is not enough to detract from the fun and feelgood energy of the 10 episodes, dropping at a clip of two per week. Bust out those TV dinners, it’s time to turn on the tube. (www.hbo.com/minx)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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