Relaying News of a Wayward Snake adds an unlikely new player to the mix: the Mob. Or as Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) calls them, “the literal Mob who whack people and bootleg whiskey.” The shipping companies that deliver issues of Minx have ties to organized crime and are upset about the article on birth control. The ragtag Minx editorial team is now overwhelmed with removing the offending article from all 500,000 copies, further delaying the release.
To add insult to injury, Joyce makes several comments to employees at the warehouse about unsafe working conditions. She talks about the newly-created OSHA and workers’ rights. This inspires the employees to bring up safety concerns to their bosses. Infuriated by this disrespect, the mob-run shipping companies drop all Bottom Dollar Publishing magazines. To smooth things over, Joyce and Doug (Jake Johnson) go to the mob boss’ house during his child’s birthday party to plead for forgiveness.
This episode of Minx looks at different versions of feminism. It introduces a slew of mob wives who have more control over their husbands than their husbands realize. As she watches them manipulate their husbands and steer them in the direction they want them to go, Joyce realizes she can use those same techniques in her dealings with Doug. It’s impossible not to think of the line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding: “the man is the head, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head any way she wants.” While it may not be the enlightened form of feminist power Joyce clings to, it is a new way of understanding different power structures.
Mary Had a Little Hysterectomy finally sees Minx on the shelves, but it doesn’t get the hoped-for reception. The magazine is popular in “gayborhoods” like Provincetown, the Castro, and Greenwich Village, but large distributors like Piggly Wiggly and Thrifty refuse to carry it because they believe it’s indecent, despite the fact that they sell magazines like Playboy.
One of Doug’s plans is to grassroots-market Minx, playing to the strengths of each member of the team. Doug heads to Tempe, AZ, to talk with the VP of Operations at Thrifty to beg him to carry Minx. Bambi (Jessica Lowe) and Shelly (Lennon Parham) go to suburbia to talk up the magazine with moms, while Joyce, with the help of ex-boyfriend Glenn (Michael Angarano), meets with feminist writer/activist Wendy Mah (Alicia Hannah). Richie (Oscar Montoya), perhaps the most successful in his marketing, sets up outside a gay bar.
As the episode ends, the future of Minx is uncertain. Tina (Idara Victor), the begrudging voice of reason, confronts Doug about why he continues to throw an obscene amount of money into a magazine that’s proving to be more trouble than it’s worth. The grassroots marketing puts the magazine into the hands of a collegiate feminist collective who believes that Minx’s feminism hurts the cause more than it helps. They call Joyce a sellout and accuse her of using women’s liberation as a means to make quick money.
Allowing Minx to hit newsstands opens up a multitude of avenues to explore. The previous episodes were enjoyable because of the charm of the characters, but they were beginning to feel a bit redundant. Episode six shows that there’s more to the story. An interesting dynamic in these episodes is the growing friendship between centerfold model Bambi and stay-at-home housewife Shelly. Also, given the popularity of Minx among gay men, it would be nice if Richie is given a more interesting storyline.
Joyce and Doug were needed to set up the Minx premise, but as the story progresses and the world of the show expands beyond the publishing office, more characters should be given a turn in the spotlight. The push and pull of Doug and Joyce are beginning to feel a bit tedious because their conflict is always the same. Doug tells Joyce not to do something, but Joyce does it anyway and Doug is forced to correct the problem. In the final four episodes of the season, hopefully, the show will move out from under Joyce and Doug’s shadow to give the side characters their due.
Minx, episodes 1-6, are streaming on HBO Max.