Minx takes place in sunny 1970s Los Angeles in the heyday of magazine publishing. At the Southern California Magazine Pitch Fest, Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) is ready to make the magazine she’s spent her whole life dreaming about, The Matriarchy Awakens, a reality. It’s a feminist publication inspired by Our Bodies, Ourselves and continuing the second wave of feminism movement that began in the 1960s. After she was turned down by heavy hitters like Condé Nast and Newton Beckett, Joyce has lost hope in her dream. Enter Doug (Jake Johnson), wildly successful publisher of adult magazines at Bottom Dollar Publishing. While he scoffed at Joyce’s magazine pitch at first, Doug realizes there might be a market for a version of The Matriarchy Awakens after some of his models read a draft copy at a photoshoot.
Doug’s plan to give The Matriarchy Awakens more widespread appeal is to turn it into a pornographic magazine for women. This new version of Joyce’s magazine will feature centerfolds of naked men alongside her feminist writings. As Doug puts it, Joyce’s writing is good and important, but like giving a dog a pill, you have to coat it in peanut butter. He believes the nudity is the peanut butter and women’s lib is the pill. Joyce is overwhelmed by the idea that her lifelong dream is slowly turning into a porn magazine. She’s also called a sellout by her (soon-to-be-ex) boyfriend, Glenn (Michael Angarano), and she isn’t sure a pornographic The Matriarchy Awakens is what she wants to put out into the world. Finally, thanks to her sister Shelly’s (Lennon Parham) words of encouragement and the infamous Burt Reynolds Cosmopolitan centerfold, Joyce decides to throw herself wholeheartedly into the new magazine.
Essentially, Minx becomes a workplace comedy. Bambi (Jessica Lowe), a model for some of Doug’s other magazines who wants to learn the business side of things, joins the team as Centerfold Coordinator. Tina (Idara Victor), Doug’s long-time secretary and confidant, and Richie (Oscar Montoya), make-up-artist-turned-photographer, make up the rest of the ragtag team looking to shake up the adult magazine industry. Episode two sees Joyce and Doug attempting to find advertisers for the first issue of the newly renamed Minx magazine. Joyce is interested in more traditional magazine advertisers, but Doug schedules meetings with sex toy companies, beer producers, and cigarette manufacturers. He tells Joyce the hard truth – that most companies don’t want their products next to breasts, and certainly not next to penises.
Joyce’s efforts to find more desirable advertisers lead her to the country club she frequents with her sister and her ex-boyfriend. She tries to get any or all of the big-wigs who relax at the pool or on the golf course to take a chance on her magazine. The only one who does is Mr. Ross (Stephen Tobolowsky), the owner of the country club and an investor in many other companies. Unfortunately, his requirements for the deal uncover an ugly side of the world Joyce thought she knew.
In its first two episodes, Minx, like its fictional magazine counterpart, has found a wonderful niche. The show is pitting Joyce’s headstrong, outward cries for liberation with her inward insecurities. It’s fighting for liberation without fully grasping how to go about it for herself. Joyce understands the concept of liberation, but doesn’t practice what she preaches. It’s a fascinating duality that will hopefully be expanded upon over the course of the series. Her fierce desire for women to have equal rights, be more educated and informed, have control over their bodies and their sexuality, all while not owning her own pleasure, is an excellent premise and a solid beginning for the series.
Two new episodes of Minx drop weekly, Thursdays on HBO.