Netflix’s Bridgerton is the Horny Eye-Bleach We Need to End 2020

Screen still from Netflix's Bridgerton series with a man in a dark red coat kissing a woman in a light blue dress in a field of grass with trees and clouds in the distance
via Netlix

I‘ll preface this post with a warning that I spent the ages between 12 and 14 devouring Jane Austen’s every offering and Emma remains one of my favorite novels of all time. I definitely spent my coming-of-age years lusting after Mr. Darcy and fantasizing about a man in jodhpurs with a British accent sweeping me off to his country estate. So when I saw that one of Netflix’s first results of its multimillion dollar contract with Shonda Rhimes involved all of the Regency era intrigue and glamour that shaped my preteen years, naturally I stayed up until 5 am binging the entire series.

Bridgerton is based on the early aughts novels by Julia Quinn and includes eight, one-hour episodes. I’ll be honest, I would probably never have picked up this series while browsing in a bookstore (remember what that was like before COVID?). I absolutely judge a book by its cover—after all, I want it to make an aesthetically pleasing addition to my bookshelf—and Quinn’s covers read tawdy-period-romance-novels-your-aunt-keeps-at-her-beach-house-rental. In this case, thank god for the tv adaptation because otherwise I would have missed out on the steamy mix of Gossip-Girl-meets-Pride-&-Prejudice that is Bridgerton.

Rhimes does an excellent job of bringing 2020 sex appeal to Regency innocence, complete with active consent and women questioning their place in Respectable British Society™. The string quartet renditions of modern songs like “Thank You, Next” are a welcome spin, although the show does fall short when it comes to queer representation and a questionable bedroom scene that makes me want to retract my inclusion of “active consent.” The diverse casting choices are refreshing instead of the white-washed versions we typically expect when it comes to period pieces, although there’s always room for improvement (like having the only unwed mother-to-be casted as a Black woman).

Initially, Bridgerton drew me in with its witty dialogue reminiscent of the 2005 Pride & Prejudice (the Keira Knightley one) and the twists and turns regarding Daphne’s possible suitors. That initial interest quickly gave way to the intrigue of Lady Whistledown—the Regency-era equivalent of Dan Humphrey—coupled with hot honeymoon scenes that rival Outlander‘s first season. Who knew female pleasure even existed in the 1810s?

All I can say is that I’m patiently (hopefully) waiting for a second season and whatever you do in the meantime, don’t watch it with the family as you dig into holiday leftovers on the couch.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: