Just a few minutes into Thursday’s season premiere of The Bold Type, Jane, Sutton, and Kat stand in a circle casually holding each other’s breasts. “It’s very comforting,” notes Sutton, after she and Kat are introduced to Jane’s “new friends” and enthusiastically feel them up, convincing Jane that she, too, should get in on the supportive fun. There’s a sweet power to the moment, the kind of charming affection that Bold Type fans have come to expect from the show’s three leads. After nursing Jane back to health from a double mastectomy, these young women share a loving moment of levity.
The idea of Jane showing her reconstructed breasts to her best friends and asking them to “break the seal” occurred to showrunner Wendy Straker Hauser early in the writing process of the second half of the season. Aiming to lighten the load of the double mastectomy storyline, Hauser imagined it as the opening of the premiere as a way to advance the story a few months past Jane’s surgery, which took place in last season’s finale.
“We were thinking we could open close on Jane’s breasts and the girls holding them as an ‘introducing the new boobs to the girls’ kind of thing,” she told Vulture. “As we got closer to it, we realized we wanted to also have an emotional, more reflective montage of the process of healing and some of the more accurate, painful moments to give some real weight to what Jane had been through before we did that lighter, three-girl celebratory moment.”
Jane (Katie Stevens) chose to have a double mastectomy after wrestling with the likelihood of developing breast cancer, testing positive for the BRCA mutation, and finding a lump. “We wanted to be responsible and respectful of anybody’s choice in the situation,” Hauser said. “And we also wanted to show that just because you make that choice, it doesn’t mean everything afterwards is going to be a piece of cake. For Jane, it was too hard to live in the what ifs and the six-month checkups and the fear.”
Although Hauser has never participated in a boob-holding circle herself, she has been asked by friends with new breast implants to feel them. “I’ve never seen it with a double mastectomy or something with that weight to it, but it’s oddly familiar,” Hauser said. “I’ve heard, seen, and experienced it with friends who get fake boobs. They ask if you want to feel them and then it’s this funny moment where you’re like, ‘Okay, it feels very different than mine do.’ It’s this girl friendship moment. It felt right for Jane to open up her robe and say, ‘You’re gonna meet my new roommates, so to speak.’”
Jane returning the favor came later in the writing process. “It just took it one step further and made it more normal for Jane,” Hauser said with a laugh. “It was just fun for them to feel each other’s boobs.”
Does that mean there could be more Bold Type boob circles in the future? “I don’t have any more boob circles in season four, but I like that title and I would love to do more of them moving forward,” Hauser said. “I feel like there’s always more to explore. One of Jane’s arcs this season is, how does she allow herself to become intimate when she doesn’t really feel comfortable yet with herself and her own body image? I think there’s more to mine, but we have to parse out our boob stories.”