This HBO Max comedy recounts the story of the first female erotic magazine

It’s California, in the early seventies, and no publisher dares to take on The Matriarchy Awakens, the feminist magazine young journalist Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond) has long dreamed of publishing. Until one person emerges who is willing to take a crack at it – the slightly zany but savvy porn publishing magnate Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson). But with one catch: each issue must feature an explicit nude male centerfold in order to lure in female readers. Thus, Minx is created. The magazine from which the breezy but sharp HBO Max comedy series takes its name, with the entire first season out now.

Though not apt for the most puritanical viewers – it includes more full-frontal male nudity than any other series today – Minx is actually surprising, charming, and not nearly as shallow as it might sound. Its two lead characters are quite the contrast but destined to end up understanding each other as together they traverse the road to success. The series spurns cliches and stigma but is full of contradictions. There’s more to her than just an idealistic, well-educated, wealthy feminist who dreams of winning a Pulitzer; and neither can he be dismissed as a mere misogynistic porn tycoon who cares only about saving his business.

Minx
Ophelia Lovibond and Jake Johnson. Minx, HBO Max

But the icing on the cake is the ensemble cast making up the magazine’s editorial team: Tina (Idara Victor), the secretary who pretty much runs the business; Bambi (Jessica Lowe), a model and adult movie star who under Joyce’s feminist influence starts to question the scripts that come her way; and Ritchie (Oscar Montoya), the gay photographer suffering from imposter syndrome. Shelly (Lennon Parham) merits special mention for her role as Joyce’s sister, a housewife who is more liberal than she seems with a real knack for generating headlines.

Directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg, the multilayered series may be set in the seventies but addresses still current issues like equal pay, abortion, and the insecurity many females feel when walking the streets alone. Many of the dilemmas it raises are also just as relevant in 2022. Does porn for women objectify men or empower women? Is erotica really the right hook when it comes to key aspects of the feminist agenda? Why should we feel ashamed of our sex drive?

Minx
Minx

Echoes of reality

Although Minx is a fictional publication, screenwriter Ellen Rapoport (Desperados), who created the series, says she was inspired by magazines like Vivaand Playgirl, which mixed eroticism with articles on revolutionary feminism. Both magazines, incidentally, also found a devoted following among gay readers.

The first ten half-hour episodes of Minx thus have a lot to offer – shrewd and witty dialogue, a very nuancedproduction avoiding hang-ups, and a wide perspective on the struggle for equality and sexual freedom, without any moralizing. You’ll be left wanting more.

Helena Cortés
Helena Cortés. Journalist (by profession) and audiovisual communicator, is the girl on TV on ABC and ABC Play. I was analyzing series and programs in ‘Non Stop People’ (Movistar +) and Cope and now you can listen in to it on ‘Las cinco letras’ of the ‘El enfoque’ program on Onda Madrid. Learning and lecturing on Journalism at Universidad Carlos III.