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Dan Jeannotte Talks Freeform’s The Bold Type 

Dan Jeannotte Talks Freeform’s The Bold Type
Photo Credit: David Leyes
Photo Credit: Justin Coit/Freeform

This summer there’s a variety of choices when it comes to quality television. If you haven’t discovered the Freeform series, The Bold Type, then we highly recommend you binge the first half of the season and quickly catch up.

The season one finale doesn’t air until Tuesday, Sept. 5 so there’s time.

The Bold Type is set in the world of a global women’s fashion magazine and is inspired by the life of Joanna Coles, current Chief Content Officer of Hearst who once called Cosmopolitan home.

The mag at the heart of The Bold Type is Scarlet. And while it does give off Cosmo-esque vibes, sometimes it feels more closely linked to Teen Vogue.

Photo Credit: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform

That’s because the show is centered around three young women who all started as assistants and are now forging their own paths at the publication. Jane’s a newbie writer. Kat’s the social media director. Rounding out the trio is Sutton, who has finally made it into the fashion department where she’s the newly hired assistant to the fashion director.

The show tackles social issues and isn’t afraid to get political so anyone tuning in shouldn’t expect a product that’s pure fluff. Of course there’s the personal aspect to the drama. The women are all single but are experiencing some growing pains as they navigate their love lives. Sutton’s having an affair with one of the suits who works at her company. Kat is exploring something new for her, a connection she has with a Muslim woman who’s also a fierce activist. As for Jane, she’s started a little something something with a writer named Ryan.

Photo Credit: David Leyes

TV Goodness recently chatted with the Canadian actor who plays Ryan. Dan Jeannotte’s credits include the CW’s Reign and Syfy’s Dark Matter. When we talked to him on the phone, it was clear he’s a superfan of The Bold Type.

In this conversation, he breaks down why The Bold Type is the perfect summer show, offers his opinion on howhe loves the show getting political, and he shares his analysis of Jane and Ryan’s relationship thus far.

TV Goodness: Why is The Bold Type the show to watch this summer?

Dan Jeannotte: I think it’s a wonderful show and it’s going to resonate with people because it’s a show that’s combining big ideas and big issues that are very relevant to today. Combining that with this sense of fun and freedom. It’s a show about young women trying to make it in this seemingly glamorous but actually really difficult environment of a fashion magazine. I think the kind of workplace and relationship traumas that they encounter balance out in the show by the humor of it, the style of it, and the fun of it. So it’s a really great summer show because it’s smart but really fun and sexy at the same time.

TV Goodness: Because I didn’t know what to expect at all, I was a little surprised to see how much substance there is to the show.

Jeannotte: Yeah, there’s a lot going on and I think that that is surprising to a lot of people who are maybe expecting frothy and light. The show might have its frothy and light moments but it’s dealing with real stuff in an honest way. Dealing with what it’s like to be a woman in a work environment that’s overseen and dominated by men. It’s talking about the struggle to balance your romantic life and sex life with your career. It’s talking about people figuring out their sexuality in their younger years. It’s talking about the treatment of Muslims in America. It’s talking about so many interesting things, but I don’t think it ever feels weighed down by all that. It feels like it moves at a really great clip. It talks about these things honestly without being preachy. It never feels like a lecture. It’s sort of like hashing out these big ideas with some of your best friends while you have a drink maybe.

TV Goodness: Is your character going to be getting involved in any of those stories? Right now, we’ve seen a lot of Ryan with Jane but wondered if he’d be involved in any of the other stories.

Photo Credit: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform

Jeannotte: Without giving anything away, I can say that Ryan’s character definitely gets developed and the relationship that he has with Jane becomes something that Jane is trying to figure out herself. How does this fit into my life? For a while at least, he is kind of Jane’s side project. For a little while at least, it is kind of concentrated on the two of them trying to figure out who they are for each other. Jane isn’t, I don’t think, eager to introduce him to the rest of her life.

TV Goodness: Right.

Jeannotte: It’s an interesting thing because it feels to me like a very accurate depiction of the beginning of a relationship where you’re trying to understand is this, a “relationship?” Is this a fling? Is this a friend? How does this fit into the bigger story of my life? That’s one of the things I love about this show too is that it doesn’t depict relationships as the be-all and end-all of personal happiness.

Photo Credit: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform

It’s always a question of how do you get that kind of relationship or romantic satisfaction without sacrificing the other things that you’re going for in life? I really appreciate that. It’s sort of refreshing that it’s not the raison d’être of these women, not just trying to find a boyfriend. They’re trying to get a killer job, a wonderful apartment, a personal, creative fulfillment, and if they can, a good person to be with. So Ryan slowly gets a bit more involved in the rest of Jane’s life let’s say. But it doesn’t happen right away.

TV Goodness: It’s fun how Jane and Ryan work out their issues with themselves and each other in the articles they write for their respective publications.

Jeannotte: Which is such an interesting angle that this show has. The characters who are writers, like Jane and Ryan, they have this outlet and this was to process their life experiences by sharing it with a wide audience through their articles. I think that that’s really fascinating.

Jane and Ryan’s budding relationship is kind of made trickier by the fact that they’re using a public platform to hash out their own issues. It’s quite interesting. I think it’s neat how the writing that they do and even the magazine that they work for, give an impression of who they might be as people. Jane has an idea that Ryan, or pinstripe guy as she calls him, is a certain kind of dude because he writes for a men’s magazine. She has this idea that men’s magazines are all about how to be a player, or how to get typically macho things from people. She doesn’t necessarily give him credit for being a three-dimensional, fully-rounded human being.

Photo Credit: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform

I think it goes the other way too, where Ryan maybe thinks that Jane is a bit lightweight because she writes for a women’s fashion magazine, or it’s ostensibly a fashion magazine, which maybe doesn’t give it as much credit as he should. So he has an idea that she writes cutesy articles until he gets to know her better and realizes oh she’s smart as a whip and full of ambition and has a lot going on. It’s neat how their jobs and their magazines might seem to define them, but that’s just putting them both in a bit of a box.

TV Goodness: It’s great to see the characters as they learn more about each other. They kind of start to lose the preconceived notions. You can actually see them opening up their minds, which is very cool.

Jeannotte: I’m really glad that that comes across. It was important for us to figure out how this dynamic would unfold naturally and to get to that peeling back of layers show that at first they’re guarded, they have their walls up and their defenses, which are for both of them a sense of humor as a bit of a defense. Definitely for Ryan, a coolness is kind of his defense. As they get to know each other, we wanted that to feel realistic that they slowly warm up, slowly open up, and let down those walls. Take off those masks a little bit.

TV Goodness: I also think it’s cool, the fact that Jane starts to get more political with her writing. With everything that’s happening today and with Teen Vogue becoming a force in the political writing arena.

Jeannotte: Yeah, Lauren Duca.

TV Goodness: Yeah that’s who I keep thinking of when I see what’s going on with Jane, in last week’s episode especially. She’s kind of like the next Lauren Duca.

Jeannotte: I loved reading that episode for that reason. That Jane was getting political and then that means the entire show is getting political. I honestly think this is one of the things that’s going to resonate with audiences. The fact that people can be interested in fashion and glamor and also be interested in politics, obviously. That seems so obvious to me and yet in so many shows and movies and magazines, it feels like the creators of these things don’t take their audience seriously enough. They don’t give them enough credit to believe that they could be interested in something fun and funny, but at the same time care about the issues affecting our world.

Photo Credit: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform

I love that Jane gets political. Then in that episode too, she finds an in, she finds an angle for her story that’s fashion related but it uncovers this political criticism that she wants to make. I thought that was brilliant. I love that so much. It just flushes out Jane’s character so much. She’s not just content to be writing for this amazing magazine that she’s looked up to since she was a kid. She also wants to write about the things that are important to her and she knows will be important to the readers.

TV Goodness: You might have touched on this already, but why are Ryan and Jane a couple to root for?

Jeannotte: Well, I think we all understand what it’s like to have our guard up. We all understand what it’s like to be protective of [ourselves] and how that can make getting into a relation, how that can make falling for somebody complicated. Because you have your defenses. I think what we see with Jane and Ryan [are] two people who are good for each other. It’s a meeting of the minds. These two people who have an immediate kind of banter with each other. There’s immediately an electricity there that the audience can feel, but the two characters resist it somewhat because of their own fears and their own sense of vulnerability maybe.

Photo Credit: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform

I think that the audience will be able to feel like they would be a good couple if they could just sort out their stuff. Clear out their baggage and admit it to themselves. It’s not a straightforward path for them, it’s not oh they kiss once and now they’re a couple. It’s more complicated, which we all know is how relationships are. They are not straightforward. I think people are gonna connect with that, with the false starts and the ups and downs of Jane and Ryan’s relationship.

I think in the end, personally what I want in my life, I want a partner who challenges me. I want a partner who pushes me to better and who makes me smarter by exposing me to new ideas. Seems to me that’s what these two characters are doing. They are challenging each other and that’s fun to watch. It was really fun to play. I think people are going to find that exciting and they’ll know okay it might not be simple and easy, but that’s why it’s worth fighting for.

Photo Credit: David Leyes

The Bold Type continues tomorrow night at 9/8c on Freeform. Check back here for more from Dan Jeannotte next week. We talk about some of the other projects he’s known for including Hallmark Channel’s Good Witch, the CW’s Reign and Syfy’s Dark Matter.

Official Synopsis for August 1 Episode: “No Feminism in the Champagne Room”

Photo Credit: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform

Jane is stunned when the subject of her latest article, a woman who left a finance job to become an exotic dancer, threatens to sue Scarlet – and Jane.

Photo Credit: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform

Sutton is excited when she thinks she’s making a step forward in her career.

Photo Credit: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform

Kat questions whether she is ready for a real relationship with anyone, especially in light of recent events with Adena.

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