Midcentury America is currently alive and well on HBO and HBO Max! The premium network and its sister streamer have recently released a wave of throwback series set in the 60s and 70s, including “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” which dramatizes the “Showtime” era of the revered Los Angeles basketball team, “Julia,” another dramatization detailing the origins of chef Julia Child’s famed television show, and “Minx,” a feel-good comedy about the creation of the first erotic magazine geared toward the fairer sex. Illicit sounding premise aside, the latter is a sweet, heartwarming program (albeit with an abundance of nudity) that sees staunch feminist writer Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond, of “Elementary” fame) team up with gruff Van Nuys-based men’s magazine publisher Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson, best known as “New Girl’s” loveable Nick Miller) to establish a Playgirl-esque periodical, initially named The Matriarchy Awakens, but later changed to the titular Minx.
Released in mid-March, the show quickly proved popular with viewers and critics alike, garnering a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer as well as an 82% audience score, with the website lauding the chemistry between Johnson and Lovibond and cheekily deeming the program “a bawdy and sharp comedy that merits a full-page spread.”
Though the performances of the two leads and those of the rest of the cast are easily the series’ biggest draw, the heavily styled retro costumes, sets, and locations are equally as gripping. As creator Ellen Rapoport told Creative Screenwriting, “We realized that the early ‘70s was a bit of a hangover from the ‘60s, so we tried to communicate that visually. Our production designer was a storyteller.” Indeed, “Minx” gleefully embraces all the vibrancy and splashiness of the era by showcasing loud, colorful clothing, all manner of feathered hair and a delightful array of midcentury backdrops.
To re-create a period-appropriate L.A., the production team looked to several local stalwarts, including landmark Fairfax District eatery Canter’s Deli, where Joyce and Doug grab lunch in the pilot. The adjacent cocktail lounge, the Kibitz Room, also pops up as the spot where the Minx team celebrates after landing their first centerfold model later in the episode. A heavily-dressed World Cruise Center in San Pedro plays the Los Angeles Conference Hall, where the Southern California Magazine Pitch Festival takes place in the series’ opening scene. Even Farralone, Frank Sinatra’s former swinging Chatsworth bachelor pad, makes an appearance!