Minx Season 1 Review
What’s good enough for men is good enough for women; especially when it comes to Adult magazines in the early 70’s, as seen in the new HBO Max original Series, Minx.
Creator Ellen Rapaport (Clifford The Big Red Dog & Desperados) and a mostly female Production staff bring a distinctly women’s point of view to the world of erotic magazines and publication. The hilarious 10 episode first season isn’t afraid to poke fun at anything and everything in this TV-MA Rated Comedy.
Joyce Prigger, played by ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Ophelia Lovibond, has a lot on her mind. The 20-something Vassar Grad and budding Feminist has plenty to say, and nowhere to say it. Highly educated and highly motivated, Joyce wants to spread her message of Women’s Rights and gender equality in an era before the ERA, and she wants a magazine publisher to pay for her to do it.
Doug Renetti, played by ‘New Girl’s Jake Johnson, publishes porn magazines, and makes a good living doing it. Nowhere near Hugh Hefner or Bob Guccione, he runs a successful, budding publishing empire; and, he’s looking to expand. Doug may operate in a world of Adult content, but he’s always able to spot a new opportunity, regardless of where it comes from.
Attending a publishing convention, Joyce tries to sell her magazine idea to every publisher in the industry. ‘The Matriarchy Awakens’ fails to garner any interest from the publishers.
Doug asked Joyce to pitch him while at the convention, and even asks her why she didn’t when they’re leaving. Doug may be a Pornographer, but 4 million magazines in circulation proves his success in the publishing business. And, it shows his business savvy at recognizing the market for his product — even if it is Porn.
Eventually, Joyce makes her way to ‘Bottom Dollar’ Publications to take Doug up on his offer. She meets the motley crew who will help Doug put together ‘Minx’ magazine.
The nude model looking for a bigger role in the magazine business, Bambi, played by Jessica Lowe; shows she’s more than just a pretty face. The Photographer, both gay and hispanic in an era not friendly to either, Ritchie, played by Oscar Montoya, looks to use his skills in a whole new genre. And, the glue tying the whole operation together, Tina, played by Idara Victor, presents stability in an unstable business.
Joyce relies on her older sister, Shelly, played by Lennon Parham; and her ex-boyfriend, Glenn, played by Michael Argarano; to ground her sensibilities as she ventures into the brave new world of porn magazines geared towards women, and women’s rights.
If this sounds like a true ‘Odd Couple’ with Joyce being the overly educated and uptight
‘Felix Ungar’; and Doug being the sloppy and easy-going ‘Oscar Madison’; you’re not alone.
The Good — Minx
The Sense Of Humor
The idea of a Feminist Advocate and Porn Publisher reinventing the Odd Couple formula in a 1970’s Porn setting amazes me that noone has thought of this before. You don’t get much more ‘opposite’ than a Female Vassar Graduate and a Male Porn Magazine Publisher!
Creator Ellen Rapoport, Executive Story Editor Julie Mandel Folly, and Director Ruth Lee Goldberg lead a female majority Production staff create a fun and straight ahead comedic tone for the series that doesn’t take itself, or the material itself too seriously.
Given the times that we live in and the nature of the lead character’s strong political bent and activist leanings, I have to admit that going in, I thought that Minx would try to ‘send a message’.
I thought that Minx would take on more of a one-note advocacy comedic tone, similar to how The Daily Show has changed under Trevor Noah. I thought the show’s humor would be geared to a very specific audience, and the messaging would be heavy handed and cause massive eye rolling for all but the most dedicated of protestors and advocates.
I was wrong.
Minx is an equal opportunity Comedy that isn’t afraid to go after any and all characters and points of view, including how uptight our lead character Joyce can be. The tone is light and fun, even when tackling the very adult themed world of pornography in magazines.
London, England born and raised Ophelia Lovibond nails the West-Coast-raised and East-Coast-Upper-Class-Educated American accent for our lead character Joyce Prigger. She also nails the true believer/advocate part of her character, while not falling into a stereotype or preachy tone of voice.
What makes nailing this character even harder is Joyce being surrounded by a whole cast of characters that represent the exact opposite background and point of view, making it harder to maintain that very precise point of view.
Never once does the character of Joyce waver from her stances, even when confronted with a very different reality from that which she’s comfortable with. If Lovibond had played Joyce too much one way or another, the entire feel of this show would fall short, and Comedic tone would take on a much different feel.
Just as important is Jake Johnson’s portrayal of Doug Renetti. Given the character’s role as a porn publisher, he could easily have slipped into being too sleazy/too domineering; or even going the opposite way of being too passive and weak. Too much either way, and Doug ends up overpowering the fish-out-of-water Joyce, or getting bulldozed by her intellect and drive.
The supporting cast also feels right on point with what the show asks of them — playing into the character stereotypes just enough to play that role that is required of the part, but also giving just enough of a human side to avoid caricature. Jessica Lowe’s Bambi, in particular, jumps off the screen as the sexy centerfold who has more to offer than just the obvious.
The Bad — Minx
The Full Frontal Male Nudity
I’m going to fully admit that this is entirely a ‘me’ problem and not a ‘you’ or show problem. The full frontal male nudity is not, nor should it be considered a problem with the show. It is not shown too often, or too graphically, or even too objectifyingly (is that even the right word??!! Lol…)
The full frontal male nudity simply appears as much as it needs to be, and nothing more. Heck, fully half of the actual nudity fails to be ACTUAL nudity, as prosthetics are used instead of the real mccoy quite frequently.
Ahem. All of that being said, the repeated showing of the full frontal exposure of the male reproductive organ was a bit much for me. I fully admit I wouldn’t have had a problem if the exposure would have been female in nature, and that this entire line of thought is entirely a me issue and not a show issue. I said it was a ‘me’ issue, RIGHT??!!
I almost always make fun of those who complain about feeling uncomfortable with certain things, and rightfully so. This time, the shoe is on the other foot, and I am the one feeling unduly uncomfortable with the amount of male nudity. But, it’s my review, so I feel I need to mention it.
The Review — Minx
‘Minx’ finds a brand new take on a really old formula, perfectly reinventing The Odd Couple for a new age on HBO Max.
Joyce perfectly channels the uptight and effete Felix Ungar, and Doug perfectly channels the sloppy and informal Oscar Madison. Surrounding Joyce and Doug are the perfect supporting cast that shows off the contrasting worlds of Porn in the San Fernando Valley and the upscale, country club world Joyce’s upbringing.
The setting and subject matter are fun and titualting, without being taken too seriously or protecting any sacred beasts. Everyone and everything is open to being mocked and knocked down a peg or two.
The 10 episode first season covers the founding and production of the first three issues of Minx magazine, an adult magazine of nude men, geared towards a female audience.
The show has a season-long story arc that ends at a satisfying place, while still making each episode able to stand alone and be enjoyed without having to binge the entire season.
The show leaves us wanting more, and I fully hope we get a season 2 of Minx, sooner rather than later. And, I hope we see more of Amy Landecker’s Conservative City Councilwoman ‘Bridget Westbury’ upgraded to main cast member in Season 2!
4 1/2 stars out of 5.