Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, July 16. All times are Eastern.
30 Rock (NBC, 8:01 p.m., one-hour reunion special, sort of): Well, this is probably going to get pretty weird!
A one-hour reunion of a beloved but problematic half-hour sitcom would be a strange thing at any time, but this thing has layers. First, it’s intended to drum up interest in Peacock, the new free/not-free streaming service from NBC, which launched yesterday. Say, what does that remind us of?
To top it all off, it seems that many independent NBC affiliates are refusing to air the special, seeing as it exists to promote a service that could encourage people to ax their cable providers. But hey, it’s new 30 Rock! Just know that if your affiliate isn’t airing it, you’ll have to wait the next day to watch it on Peacock, so Peacock wins either way, we guess. Look for LaToya Ferguson’s recap tonight.
Can you binge it? Yes, as of this writing you can watch all of 30 Rock on Hulu—and, of course, on Peacock. Synergy!
The Bold Type (Freeform, 10 p.m., fourth-season finale): The Bold Types have had a rough go of it lately. The good news is, it’s made for great television! The bad news is that Sutton (Meghann Fahy), Kat (Aisha Dee), and Jane (Katie Stevens) all seem due for a turbulent finale.
The A.V. Club spoke with showrunner Wendy Straker Hauser about the impressive fourth season, the challenges of making a topical show at the moment, and how Kat, Jane, and Sutton would be faring while working from home. Read on, look for Allison Shoemaker’s drop-in finale recap this evening, and start crossing your fingers for a fifth-season renewal. (Come on, Freeform! Be smart!)
The A.V. Club: Our heroines have had a lot to deal with in 2020. How do you and the rest of the show’s writers determine what challenges Kat, Sutton, and Jane will face in a given season?
Wendy Straker Hauser: We try as hard as we can to always stay true to the character. We start from there. Each character always has one main thing they’re going through. This season for Sutton, it was balancing Richard with work, and also being the last one to be promoted, what that felt like. It was really about being newly married and juggling all of that. For Jane, we really lived in the Ryan breakup—How does she move on from that? And of course, we continue to deal with her BRCA status and that really bold move that she made [at the mid-season break]. Then with Kat, we wanted her to be a social justice warrior, to spend some time on her own and really fight for things she believes in, and then she came together with Adena [to fight against conversion therapy]. So I think to answer your question, we really start first with the characters, what their struggles have been beforehand, what their challenges are, how we think they might grow. Then we all bring our own personal experiences into the room and bounce ideas around that way.
AVC: Speaking to Kat’s journey this season, how long has the Kat/Ava love connection been in the works? Was that planned with the introduction of that character?
WSH: When we were breaking season four in the writers’ room, at some point we had been discussing a personal experience that a producer had, [which was] connecting with somebody from the other side of the aisle and dealing with the challenges of that. Is that relationship too difficult? Is that relationship possible? What good things can come out of people from different sides communicating? We liked that arena and thought, who better than our social justice warrior to bridge the gap and help create further change down the line?Then we had cast Alex [Paxton-Beesley], an incredible woman, to play Ava, who was already sort of that woman from the other side [of the aisle]. So the question was, do we create a new person who Kat will go up against, or do we have that person right in front of us? And because Alex was such an incredible actress and they have good chemistry, we went with the latter.
AVC: The Belle has been a big part of this season, and it was pretty clearly inspired by The Wing. Has the news about the organization in the last few months altered your perspective on that part of the season?
WSH: I will say that [the second half of season four] has been very interesting in the sense that the world is, going through a lot of very important conversations right now, and a lot of things are coming to light and are more in the forefront and they were before. If we could have paused, regrouped, and created content that was reflective of where we are today, that would have been super interesting. We’re gonna have a lot of discussions in the writers’ room, should we have a season five, about how to incorporate what is going on in the world today in all facets. The Bold Type has never shied away from uncomfortable conversations, and really meaningful, necessary conversations. This is no exception. We were hoping that The Belle was going to be a place where amazing, powerful women were going to come together and create fabulous change. Kat being there was going to be at the forefront of that. We’ll see how we pivot that going forward.
AVC: On the subject of how different the world is now, do you have a sense of how these characters might be faring if we were to drop in on them now? Is Scarlet still working from home? Are Sutton, Kat, and Jane quarantining together?
WSH: Oh, I definitely think that they would be a part of a quaran-team, I guess you would say. A hundred percent they would be quarantining together [in some way]. And I think they would be kicking some ass, to be honest. Jane can do her job from anywhere really, as a writer. We’re all finding that we’re sort of adaptable, you know, and that’s true of Kat as well, with her podcast. I think that so many interesting things are going on in the world today, and Kat would be at the forefront of making change and making things better and bringing people together and holding people accountable. And I joked on a panel a few months ago that Sutton would be making designer masks. But I think as long as these three have each other—and that’s really the core of the show—no matter what happens, they persevere.
Can you binge it? All four seasons, save tonight’s finale, are alive and well on Hulu.
Killer Camp (The CW, 8 p.m., U.S. series premiere): Sometimes a person just needs to watch something fun and dumb in the summer. Well, in any season, but in the summer in particular. It’s hot. You’re tired. The world is nuts. Could we interest you in a British reality show the contestants believe is called Summer Camp but which is actually a “murder” mystery called Killer Camp?
Yeah, that looks like exactly the right kind of fun, and just dumb enough to fill the Bachelor In Paradise-shaped hole in a viewer’s heart.