The Bold Type: In Defense of Alex Crawford's Underrated Existence

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The Bold Type is a show that focuses on Sutton, Kat, and Jane as they all work at Scarlet and live their lives in New York City.

Every other character is written to work around either one or more of the girls, a perfectly realistic structure for a show that is based on each problem that is introduced in an episode being solved by the end. 

But what happens when you have other credited main characters on the show that has the potential to be explored more?

This isn't necessarily about paving the way for more characters to have their own stories, but more for the chance to give people like Alex and Adena more content even if it is about the main trio. 

The Bold Type Season 2, unfortunately, highlighted that issue even more with the way that Alex felt like a complete afterthought. He was at Scarlet, but that is all that there is to say about his journey.

Alex and Kat - The Bold Type

And in fact, this wouldn't be a cause for concern if every other character was given the same treatment, yet that seemed to fall only on Alex and Adena's shoulders. They were present if the narrative needed them, a scene here and a scene there.

But for a season that was promising to tackle a lot more than it did the previous season, that felt like it applied more to the issue of the week than anything else.

Specifically, it feels odd that Alex had the bare minimum when it came to screen time when he is credited as part of the main cast. Meanwhile, both of Jane's love interests are recurring characters that got much larger roles.

Ben and Pinstripe morphed into a love triangle for Jane, and in the process had an overwhelming amount of content handed to them by the narrative.

The same could not be said for Alex and Adena, fan favorite main characters that were either there for a fun one-liner or in Adena's case an even more confusing decision to remove herself from a relationship she seemed truly happy during most of the season. 

Most of the confusion is associated with Pinstripe, a recurring character whose journey with the show felt finished in the first season only to resurface in a much bigger capacity. This wouldn't be a bother if it felt like The Bold Type was trying to prioritize the main characters within the show, which sadly didn't happen in the new season.

Looking forward, the show is still way ahead regarding the topics it tackles, but maybe if there was more room being created for those storylines to breathe, it wouldn't feel rushed or as if certain characters are excluded from the narrative. 

Related: The Bold Type Season 2 Premiere Review

Alex's Journey in Season 1

Alex Crawford was introduced in the first season of The Bold Type as a fellow staff writer at Scarlet, a friend to Jane and then eventually to Sutton.

It was solidified early on in the show that characters like Alex, Richard, and even Jacqueline were meant to exist around the main three girls. These were their stories, and the people around them shaped things, but they couldn't be a priority. 

But that doesn't mean there isn't room for the characters who are more in the background to still grow, even if it just means having subplots that connect with Kat, Jane, and Sutton. 

Alex and Jane interacted when it came to her struggling to write something for Scarlet; a counter story could have Jane helping Alex out. There could be a way to incorporate Jane's issues of that episode into the storyline, and in the meantime also just give Alex more defining features.

It is clear that he is a well-read guy who wants to help his friends however he can. But there is room for more of a dive into his personal life or even just his experience as one of the only guys working at a magazine like Scarlet. 

Even his singular article pitches prove that he is a very cool person with whom the audience deserves to spend more time.

And for a while they did, when he was presented as an obstacle to Sutton's relationship with Richard. He was a supportive friend who pushed her to go after the job she wanted, and in a perfect world the next stop would be them realizing that they work as more than friends.

Sutton had her own issues with Richard, their relationship couldn't work at this point in her life, and she seemingly moved on.

But if the endgame was always to use Sutton and Alex's growing connection as a way to force Richard to "fight for" Sutton, then did Alex ever even stand a chance?

Sutton and Alex Together - The Bold Type

Alex came out of his very brief relationship and disappeared into the background once again.

There was potential in Sutton and him actually exploring a relationship, but even that isn't enough if we are considering Alex part of the main cast.

He should be able to exist and just be even if he isn't dating out of the leads. He is a person with plenty to offer, and even though The Bold Type Season 1 supported that concept more, it still wasn't enough.

Maybe most of that comes from how Alex ended up in The Bold Type Season 1 Episode 10 because if things hadn't wrapped up the way they did it would have ended on a much higher note.

But while it felt like things were progressing and looking promising for Sutton and Alex and just Alex as someone who existed in the content of the show, the exact opposite was being planned.

Richard found out and got jealous, and Sutton realized she didn't think it would work and that was it. Just as quickly as their relationship formed, it ended because that was never the end goal.

Alex being a stop on the road to Sutton's happily ever after with Richard in that elevator shouldn't be as upsetting as it was, but it became that when there was nothing else that he had going for him from the show.

The Bold Type could have tackled him and his story better, and it wasn't until he lost the one connection that he did have for the majority of the first season that it became abundantly clear that he never really had anything else.

And that is simply unfair. It is unfair to a character who stands out even from the minimal amount of scenes that he is given. It is unfair for a show to promise that it will approach representation and intersectional feminism, and yet there are major gaps that specifically exist in the way that the men of color are concerned.

Truly any character outside of Kat, Sutton, and Jane who isn't a straight white guy hasn't been given the attention that they could have for a show that tries hard to do just that. 

Alex and Adena ended up on the cutting board, with Alex having almost nothing and Adena only being shown towards the end of Season 2 through the scope of Kat. This is Kat's story more than Adena's, but it is odd to have the main character not have a real voice when it seems like that is what should happen.

Alex's Journey in Season 2

During Season 2 Alex was probably in the show at some points. And yet he was there in such a blink, and you will miss it moments that it could be really easy to believe he wasn't there at all.

The minimal screentime that he did have, especially with Kat and Oliver was another reminder of how much he could bring to The Bold Type if given a chance.

But instead his place within the show was scaled back, even more, a few mentions and shots of him in the office was all that Alex was limited to.

It could even be explained away with a showrunner shift causing focus to shift for a whole, and yet that can't be an excuse when it seems like the real issue is just prioritization.

Recurring characters this season somehow developed into a priority, before several of the main characters as well.

The most confusing is Ryan and Ben, two guys that exist solely for Jane's love life and the conflict that got raised there further on in the season.

And while that love triangle and Ryan reappearing is a whole other conversation that should happen about what The Bold Type chose to value more during the second season, the fact of the matter is that Alex disappeared.

He was there when Kat needed a force to make her question her relationship with her identity. He was there when Jane was struggling with her own writing, and he was conquering his piece on Meghan Markle. He was there for a quick second when Jane needed to talk but even think he wasn't really around. 

Alex Describing His Article  - The Bold Type

It was like he existed as this floating member of Scarlet that the girls can pull into the room when they need to talk, only to then disappear for the next few episodes without a word.

When it is more surprising to see a main character on screen than not, it has to be a sign of a bigger issue. 

It is strange to think that if Ryan or Ben's screentime was counted and compared to Alex's that they would individually come out on top. 

It is also unfair to consider that Alex as a Black man can't offer more to the overarching story of Scarlett and the intersectionality that it tries to promote within the show itself.

The best way to go about even trying to fix this would have to start with The Bold Type at its core, specifically when there are episodic issues that are solved by the end of the hour.

Sometimes that not only seems unrealistic, but it also falls flat because of the rush to reach the finish line.

Maybe if the topics that the show tackled were given room to breathe, space for Alex to appear more would feel organic to the story. 

Also, there may even need to be a conversation about how men of color can contribute to a show that focuses on feminism and cultural discussions that not everyone is willing to have so often on television.

The white men on the show usually serve just the purpose of a love interest, and rightfully so. But there is now a show that has the platform to place white guys in that category; it should be the same show that doesn't lump men of color in the same category.

Alex, Oliver, and Ben all have stories that can be told without it getting limited from the scope of a relationship. 

Their relationships with the Kat, Sutton, and Jane, whether it is romantic or platonic or mentor/mentee is the stepping stone that allows the audience first to be introduced to them before they get content of their own.

This would then specifically become about Alex, Oliver, and honestly Adena because they are main characters on the show now that represent more of what should be explored on The Bold Type. 

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Looking Forward 

Moving into Season 3 the only request on Alex's behalf is more content. There are plenty of stories that could be told with Alex involved, not just as someone there to listen as someone else talks or as a one-off comedic scene to help the emotional weight of a specific episode.

Alex has the potential to hold a subplot on his own, and he is connected with all three leads, so the options are endless. 

If there is room to learn as much as we did about Pinstripe and Ben, two recurring characters that are set up on opposing ends of a love triangle, there can be room found for Alex to interact with the characters on a bigger scale.

It seems like Season 3 is meant to be connected to Season 2 more so than before, based at least on how close the writing and filming process is. So if for example, Jacqueline's termination is still a thing in the office then Alex's role in the magazine could be incorporated there and expanded further on.

Or there is room to have Oliver and Alex share scenes with one another, their relationship with respect to one another hasn't been explored.

Jacqueline's relationship with Alex hasn't been either even though he is one of her writers and it would give both of these characters a different approach to furthering what we know about them.

Alex at Scarlet  - The Bold Type

There was also a glimpse of how Alex interacts with Kat, but there could be so much more of it. It could be interesting to see Kat find an ally in Alex, the most unexpected person in the office. This could even open the door for Alex to share more of who he is outside of the Scarlet office.

What does he do when he isn't writing? What interests does he have that he can include one of the main girls? Who is he dating? What are his goals long term and how can they compare maybe to Jane who is still working through that? 

Does he ever need help on a new story that he is working on? Could someone like Sutton help him like he has helped her with her work before? What if there was a request for a follow-up piece on Adena and Alex was assigned to work on that?

There is so much that can work as an introduction for a more permanent role for Alex; the desire has to be there.

The Bold Type is a show that constantly tries to improve and to address issues within the narrative that it sees being pointed out by fans. It would make sense for the next priority to figure out is to expand the role of other characters and to consider how intersectionality plays a long-term role in each season of the show itself. 

Hopefully moving forward there are more attempts made to remember that Alex exists and has something more to offer because he truly is underrated. It isn't fair to tease how much Alex could be involved and then double back because the plot of the week becomes a lot to figure out in a single hour.

There is room to grow and including Alex in that will only do The Bold Type wonders.

But Alex is part of a bigger problem, with a character like Adena also raising concerns when her story was wrapped up so oddly on The Bold Type Season 2 Episode 10 and Season 3 possibly not including her at all for at least half the season.

There needs to be a conscious choice to reassess the role that the other main characters play versus how the plot controls their value in the story itself compared to recurring characters. 

Related: The Bold Type Season 2 Episode 10 Review

What do you think of the way that other "main" characters get explored on The Bold Type? Do you wish you could see more of Alex? Do you think he was severely underused during Season 2?

Do you consider this a problem that stretches to other characters like Adena? Do you think none of this is true and you like the balance that the show has struck?

How excited are you for Season 3 of The Bold Type? Let us know what you think below!

The Bold Type returns to Freeform in Spring 2019. 

Stick around TV Fanatic for more coverage of the show and its upcoming season, and watch The Bold Type online, right here at TV Fanatic.

Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Bold Type Quotes

Adena: You know, there's a lot more inside of a woman than what you can see on the outside.
Kat: Yeah I know, there's a lot more inside of me too.

And I expect you to unleash holy hell on anyone who tries to hold you back because you don't just work for Scarlet, you are Scarlett.

Jacqueline