The fact that Minx and its buffet of dicks is back for season two feels a bit like a miracle – like water turning to wine or all life emerging from a big bang. Not too long ago, the feminist comedy beloved by fans and buzzed about by critics was stuck somewhere in Dante’s first circle of streaming hell. A follow-up season had been greenlit and shot, then canceled with just a week left of filming. Then, newly minted Warner Bros. Discovery czar David Zaslav decided to purge what remained of the show from its streaming home on HBO Max (renamed just Max).
Where would the raunchy, 70s-era saga about a women’s magazine masquerading its feminist leanings behind a parade of penises go from here? To Starz, of course.
The Jake Johnson, Olivia Lovibond-starring workplace dramedy found a new home on a streaming platform eager to buy into its cheeky wit, eclectic ensemble, and surprisingly insightful social commentary. And so, here we are, prepping for a second season that sees Lovibond’s Joyce Prigger navigating the unexpected success of her brand of enlightened erotica while the rest of the Bottom Dollar crew carve out their own futures in the publishing industry when new money wants a slice of the peter pie.
Uproxx chatted with Lovibond about the show’s wild hiatus, the show’s surprising season two villain, and testing the comedy limits with Johnson’s help.
The show got picked up for a second season. Then canceled after you filmed most of its second season. Then removed from HBO Max’s platform. During all of that, were you ever worried Minx might not be coming back?
I think from the outside looking in, it was a lot more dramatic than it was. After the initial surprise of HBO removing it from the platform, we knew quite quickly, within a few days from Lionsgate, that there were about three different streamers that were very, very keen to have the show. So we knew really early on, we don’t know where exactly we’re going to be re-homed, but we will be re-homed. So we felt reassured by that.
But the thing that was really lovely that came out of it was that the fans were very kind of vocal on Twitter and TikTok and things saying, ‘This is crazy. We love the show!’ And that was not something that we had anticipated happening. So when it did, we got that feedback from people and thought, ‘Oh my God, we’ve made something that people are eager to see again.’ So it was kind of a happy accident.
You found out about the cancellation during the last week of filming season two. How did that affect the vibe on set?
We did. The final week was so fun. The whole shoot was fun. There’s always been a camaraderie but that final week we kind of banded together. Jake says we were essentially shooting an indie that week. Someone would give us a note and we’d be like, ‘Who’s this note for? This isn’t for anyone right now.’ It was quite freeing in that way. But because we’d seen the reactions on Twitter, we knew people wanted to see this. So we kind of redoubled our efforts to make it the best final week we could make it, because we knew that there was an audience waiting to watch it, regardless of what platform it was on.
It strangely mirrors the journey Joyce is on this season of having a product everyone wants and yet not knowing where it’s going to end up.
Yeah, that was completely fortuitous. We had already shot all of those things. We were coming back and we were going to be bigger and better than ever. We’d shot all of that months prior. So watching it back when we were sent the episodes, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s quite strange.’ It’s quite meta. Joyce trying to find the right home for the magazine, and she’s got all of these different publishers bidding for her, but it doesn’t quite feel right. There were a lot of the things that sort of resonated in a strange way, that we had no idea filming it and then watching it back you think, ‘Well, that’s a bit eerie.’
How would you sum up Joyce’s journey this season compared to last season?
My view of it is you see Joyce, not necessarily struggle with power or what to do with it … I think the power she’s well equipped to handle. I think it’s more the things that come with notoriety. Remember, she’s quite geeky, quite nerdy. She’s sort of had a sheltered existence. And she’s not been the popular girl, she’s not been invited to parties, she’s not had money or fame or anything. And suddenly, she’s given a lot of money, everyone wants a piece of her. And that goes to her head a little bit. And you see her not quite knowing how to navigate it, she’s gone from being really kind of buttoned up and terrified to jumping in headfirst and she’s forgetting the writing that has got her there in the first place.
And it was something that when I spoke to Ellen Rapoport, the showrunner about it. I was just like, ‘How do we go from Joyce season one to this Joyce?’ And she said, ‘People are different in different circumstances. They’re still the same person, but different characteristics are brought out by circumstances.’ And so she said, ‘Let’s explore that in Joyce. Let’s see her make mistakes.’
In season one, her second-wave feminist ideals were challenged a bit. This season, is she the one pushing boundaries?
She’s realized how narrow-minded she’s been about things. In season two, she’s saying, ‘Isn’t it great that our magazine appeals to all kinds of different people? Isn’t that a thing to be celebrated?’ And she truly believes that. And you see the money saying, ‘No, not yet. We’ve just about got a foot in the door.’ And that is reflective of the second-wave feminist movement at that time — that was what was happening in 1973.
So I like that we are tussling with that. It’s difficult hearing that now. Reading that as a feminist in 2023, you go, ‘God, that’s so unappealing and it’s so not how you would navigate things now.’ But that is what was happening. And I like that you see Joyce, realistically, go, ‘That’s ugly and I don’t like it, but I don’t quite know how to respond to it yet. I’m kind of putting up with it so I could keep the money to make the magazine.’
Joyce and Doug are still so combative this season. Jake Johnson loves to improvise. Did you get to do more of that this time around?
I love doing scenes with him because of that. You can play so much more, there’s a lot more freedom. I think we just keep each other on our toes. You just have to play with how much you push it, like how angry you would get or how much you might relent. And then just when they think that you are going to yell at them and go overboard, you just shrug and give them nothing, and it kind of destabilizes and something else happens. It sends the pinball off in a different direction. The great thing about Jake is that he’s really generous. He just wants the show to be the best it can be, he’s not hogging the limelight, he’s all about him. He gives you so much to make the scene the best it can be.
Doug deals with his own sense of inadequacy amidst the magazine’s success. He starts to fall back into old patterns. Why is it so hard for him to have a woman in charge?
I don’t think that he’s against the idea that a woman is in charge, it’s that anyone is in charge. He was his own boss. He just sees people as ways to make money. So if you’re a woman suggesting a great idea, he’s not going to discount it because you’re a woman. He’s like, great, it’s a great idea, I can make money off that. That’s why he employs Joyce, that’s why he kind of takes on this magazine, which he thinks is really boring, but he’s like, ‘Oh, I’ll put some dicks in it and it’s going to make money.’
I think by the end of it, he’s gone from being his own boss to having two bosses, who happen to be women. But my viewpoint is, that it’s not them being women that is a problem, it’s the fact that they’re bossing him around.
Minx becomes an adjective this season. How would you define what “minxy” is?
Minx-y, I suppose it’s … what would it be? Intelligence and erotica, where they meet.
With just a little bit of spunk …
Oh, well …
Dammit, you can’t say anything with this show.
I know, innuendo is are everywhere you go. You can’t swing a cat without hitting an innuendo.