I’m not much of a fan of romance or things with the word “chick” in front of it. I usually feel guilty when consuming similar content and my thoughts are that you can’t both fall for it and not feel a bit responsible for why women had no voting rights for a very long time.
Having said that, I LOVED Bridgerton and watching an episode of it every week was quite a highlight of my boring corona times life.
What’s It About?
You could say that it’s about the privileged Bridgerton family and their friends navigating their lives during the Regency era but it’s a lie. No one I know who watched this series cared about any of that. It’s really about the relationship between the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) and Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor). All other themes are just there to fill the time between you see them on screen.
This isn’t to say that other characters are boring. In fact, there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on. It’s just that the two have such great chemistry that you simply can’t stop thinking about what’s going to happen to the two of them next. Let’s just say, that the Duke is both a bad boy and an emotionally unavailable man to give you an idea why so many women root for him.
Why Should You Watch It?
Because it’s irresistible, IMHO. I watched one episode and then I had to start rationing it. I also know plenty of people who’ve been binging on it, depriving themselves of sleep. When someone does it as an adult, you know that the kick is real.
Apart from great (even if implausible) love story, there are other themes that are quite interesting. Class is a big one and so is women’s emancipation. The influence society has on our decisions and the importance of reputation are explored too. Last but not least, it shows that being privileged is one thing but you can also choose to use your privilege wisely.
Why Do People Talk About It?
There are two things that are considered “controversial” about Bridgerton. The first is that many actors are not white and it’s the Regency era in England and it’s a misrepresentation of history and blah blah blah. Well, to anyone who says that, I say that any mention of historical realism in Bridgerton (or any other production of this kind) is ridiculous.
From clothes through behaviours and characters all the way to customs it’s all fiction sprinkled with historical seasoning. It’s inspired by history, if anything. Seeing that this is the case the fact that the English society in Bridgerton looks more like the English society of today in terms of the racial distribution can’t legitimately be criticised. Besides, Queen Charlotte being African in the series has to do with the rumours about real-life Queen Charlotte’s heritage.
Another “controversial” aspect is that the music is modern. I actually really liked recognising recent hits in the presented environment and found this aspect of the series appealing. To those who didn’t I say- it’s fiction and it’s romance… Whatever works to please the crowds will make its way there. If this means a bit of Ed Sheeran and Billie Eilish in a period drama, then be my guest.
What’s Wrong With It
As much as I loved it, I must admit it’s quite trashy. There’s SO MUCH sex in it. I’ll give you that the said sex is had by beautiful human beings, but it borders on soft porn. It’s also quite typical TV sex in how ladies always orgasm, even if it’s all over in 40 seconds.
Then there’s the issue of a bad boy, who meets a wonderful lady who’s trying to fix him. Of course, this wonderful lady is also an innocent virgin. I do feel it’s a very problematic theme and I see way too much of it in the movies and literature.
I also have a feeling that the reason why the audience loved the Duke and Daphne duo so much is because they were the focus of the scriptwriters. This means that other characters were treated in a less generous way in terms of character depth and screen time. Perhaps some justice will be done to them in season 2 between the beloved Duke leaving Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte’s origin story spin off.
Give this series a try. It seems that people either love it or hate it. Watch it, if you’re tired of this pandemic world and you just want to relax. Enjoy the story and don’t think too hard about it. The series is quite charming and even someone as cynical as I managed to get into it.