‘Minx’ on HBO Max Review

There’s a famous saying that it’s hard to define the difference between art and pornography, but you know it when you see it. Likewise, it’s hard to explain what makes some sitcoms tick right off the bat and what bogs others down in their own mess, but HBO Max’s new comedy Naughty works.

Naughty follows ambitious 1970s feminist Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) as she reluctantly teams up with a sleazy but sweet porn publisher to launch the first erotic magazine for the female gaze. While Doug (Jake Johnson) sees their magazine as a way to conquer an untapped market, Joyce is determined to launch a truly progressive magazine, full of incendiary editorials. Together, the mismatched pair and their group of fun-loving office mates deliver the latest cheerful new addition to the workplace sitcom genre. Naughty is a fun-fueled show and it delivers it in spades.

Created by Ellen Rapoport, Naughty opens with Joyce’s dreams. Since childhood, Joyce wanted to start a revolutionary magazine called The awakening of matriarchy to bring feminism to women everywhere. However, the only interested editor she can find is the pushy Doug. He’s not interested in her pious political rag, but in some flippant research she does about a magazine full of naked men being marketed to women. Doug convinces Joyce to enter his world, the belly of the valley, where our stilted and appropriate heroine must overcome her own inhibitions and reexamine her preconceptions. His creation, a magazine called Naughty, will sneak his politics between the pages of man meat. But she can’t do it on her own. Both Naughty the show and the magazine are brought to life by a rich set of talents.

Ophelie Lovibond in Minx
Picture: HBO Max

The thing about Naughty which will spark the most chatter will undoubtedly be the show’s approach to nudity. Following the trends set by other HBO titles like Euphoria, Naughty embraces full frontal male nudity as well as female nudity. After all, the show takes place at a porn publisher. The female models stroll casually in and out of frame half-dressed in costume and one of the pilot’s best sequences is an exhaustive casting call for the male center folds. contrary to Euphoriawho uses nudity to be provocative, Naughty uses it to calm the insidious shame associated with sexuality in all its forms. In the world of Naughty, a penis is just a penis and a breast is just a breast. At one point, a troubled Joyce ends up summarizing the show’s ethos best: “Oh, for Pete’s sake, they’re just penis mind their own business. It’s silly and it’s fun.

This Naughty being able to sell that tone is no small feat. It is surely thanks to the tone established two of Naughtythe greatest creative talents of: Ellen Rapoport and Jake Johnson. With NaughtyRapoport uses levity to explore key feminist ideas, bringing politics to his audience with comedy as much as Naughty the mag made with dongs. new girl alum Johnson manages to turn a potentially seedy character into a charming hero. You think Doug really respects everyone working in his company. This attitude permeates all Naughty with an aura of healthy, happy and consensual sexuality. It might be a version of a fairy tale from a 1970s porn publishing house, but hey, it’s a sitcom, not a documentary. And Johnson’s performance sneakily sets that positive tone.

Jake Johnson in Minx
Picture: HBO Max

Minx is backed by a fabulous ensemble cast. Perhaps Ophelia Lovibond’s brightest role to date is playing Carina, The Collector’s enslaved assistant, in the MCU, but here the British actress is giving off some major Diane Chambers vibes. Like this classic Cheers character, Joyce is a scholarly feminist with a low level of self-awareness, but unlike Diane, Joyce isn’t set up in love with the main dude. Doug’s will is with his longtime partner and better half of his company, Tina d’Idara Victor. Instead, Joyce must wrestle with her attraction to NaughtyShane (Taylor Zakhar Perez), an adorably dense firefighter. Elsewhere, Lennon Parham dazzles as Joyce’s biggest supporter, her older sister Shelly, Jessica Lowe shines as model-turned-designer Bambi, and Oscar Montoya is great fun to watch as photographer Richie.

Naughty is effervescently fun, full of heart and intelligence, and full of promise for what’s yet to come. This is a show that practices what it preaches, consistently prioritizing joy over pain and equality over repression. Naughty is a delightful sitcom and just the latest comedy gem in HBO Max’s ever-growing stable of hits.

Naughty premieres March 17 on HBO Max.

Where to stream Naughty