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A subtle twist on the classic good cop/bad cop routine, Minx pivots around an earnest aspiring writer and her unsavory, swashbuckling publisher. Both are looking to find some middle ground as they create an erotic magazine solely marketed for women’s pleasure.
The series was created and written by Ellen Rapoport (Clifford the Big Red Dog) and executive produced by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat). It stars Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Jake Johnson (Jurassic World, New Girl).
You know those kinds of shows where you watch just one episode and you’re suddenly all in? Like, you went into it thinking it would be okay, not too great, maybe even average? Then you realize that it’s 100 percent up your alley. Well, that’s what HBO Max’s Minx was for me. The series, about a youthful whipper snapper pioneering the country’s first women’s erotic magazine, is a recipe for perfection: feminism, a scruffy Jake Johnson in ’70s attire and a bumpin’ soundtrack.
Let’s just address the major selling point–the white elephant, if you will–right out the gate: dong, to use an indelicate but familiar term. In other words: visible male genitalia. From the first episode, when the main character Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) and the rest of the magazine’s low-rent publishing team start seeking out male nude models, nothing is left to the imagination. You’ll possibly see more cinematic peen than you have total in your whole TV-watching life. In close-up, no less. And I love how Minx hilariously approaches this gimmick as though it is the last stand for feminism–which it kind of is. It’s just as true today as it was in the story’s 1971 setting that there are very few substantial outlets specifically crafted for the female gaze. Minx sets out to become such an outlet, but also manages to imbue the necessary humor into those moments so as not to come across as “preachy,” as Joyce herself tends to be when it comes to gender inequality.
However, I would argue that the show’s greater boon, at least in the first two episodes available on HBO Max, is actor Jake Johnson, who plays Doug Renetti, the rough-around-the-edges nudey mag ringleader and publisher. I’m almost reluctant to admit that the male lead in a feminist tale is a more interesting to watch than the female lead, but it’s much too obvious here. Johnson once again charms the pants off the audience with his signature gruff persona melded with a soft heart. So if you liked New Girl or the 2013 film Drinking Buddies, you’ll probably find something for yourself in Minx. Even if you’re a man. Even if you aren’t particularly intrigued by the prospect of near-constant TV schlong.
Last but not least, Minx’s music is top-tier 1970s bangers. From Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” to Joy of Cooking’s “Three Day Loser,” it’s as though you’re cruising down a sunny road with all the windows down. It’s soft-rock soul music, to be sure. And what show better needs that era of sound than one about fully knowing and perceiving the human body in all its complexities? Minx already makes a certain theme abundantly clear: there can be no body without a little soul in it.
Short but meaningful, lighthearted but still punchy, and no, we’re not talking about the array of shvantzes in Minx. The streaming series about the intersection between feminism and smut could endear even the most skeptical. And what it might lack in delicacy, it certainly makes up for in swagger.
Though the politics of Minx is decidedly more left-leaning, I will repeat that the show covers most of its bases to ensure a wide audience pool. It very much wants to impress that women’s empowerment as a movement can be empowering for all genders as a whole, given the right opportunity. So if you’re down for sexual liberation in all its forms, then you’ll fit right in. Be advised of explicit nudity if you’re a parent, though, and consider watching “after hours.”
Did I mention the full-frontal nudity?