7 Reasons to Fall in Love with Bridgerton

This post is part 1 of 5 in the series:
The Shows I Binged in the 2020 Pandemic

If, for some unfathomable reason, you have not seen Bridgerton yet – firstly, I’m judging you. Secondly, be mindful about reading any further. This is your only spoiler warning.

I turn to my Netflix recommendations every so often, hoping to be guided towards a delectable slice of media that embodies the correct ratio of drama and cringe-worthiness to appease my crippling boredom.

One of these times, I happened upon a programme mysteriously named “Bridgerton”, which I then hastily skipped past. Though, of course, my mobile device listens to me, so soon afterwards, my TikTok feed was chock-full of Bridgerton content.

And, as per usual, my fyp knows me best, because I watched it, and I loved it, and I’m watching it again.

I looked up some reviews to remind me what happened in the show and upsettingly but unsurprisingly found that Bridgerton was met with quite a bit of criticism. Whether that is the result of the show itself or just the media industry’s constant misinterpretation of nitpicky pretentious negativity as intelligent and valuable writing, we may never know. Plus, unfortunately, a measly 19-year-old probably lacks the ability to dismantle the capitalist intelligence rhetoric single-handedly. Nonetheless, I shall do my part by listing off things that I enjoyed about the show and pretending it counts as serious journalistic work.

Here are my most important thoughts on the matter, in list form!

It’s a 19th-century Gossip Girl reboot

The whole show keeps a tone of slightly amusing anachronisms set in high society 19th Century England. I immediately noticed the similarities between the premise of the two shows, being a multi-layered adolescent upper-class love story narrated by a mysterious unnamed gossip columnist. I was further gladdened to find that “Lady Whistledown” is voiced by none other than Julie Andrews. You know you’re a big deal when Mary Poppins starts talking shit in the newspapers about you.

The soundtrack

Of course, one of the most important parts of any show is the soundtrack. I would have been entertained by whatever vibe they went with for the music. Of course, you generally don’t notice soundtracks unless you’re listening for them. This one seemed logical at first, 19th-century upper-class English ballroom scenes…classical orchestral music. But I was delighted to find that someone in the writer’s room piped up and said, “What if all the music was string covers of modern songs?” and to that person I say, I hope you asked for a pay rise.

Eloise Bridgerton

In my humble yet firm opinion, there was one stand-out character in this show. Of course, falling in line with the “old-come-new” tone of the show, the second youngest Bridgerton sister, Eloise, instantly became a fan-favourite. She’s bold, progressive, hot-tempered, quick-witted and overall more interesting than the main storyline. She’s the only person in the whole show who gets anything done. If I had to, I’d put money on her being an Aquarius with an Aries moon. I just read that the Bridgerton producers intend to make a season focusing on each sibling, so we will surely get to see Eloise bring on a century-early women’s empowerment march. She should be nicer to her sister, though.

YouTube: Eloise Bridgerton being an icon for 8:15 minutes straight [logoless] – (scene pack)

Some thoughts on Penelope

I’m not keen on the fact that Penelope’s entire storyline is based around her being “less desirable” than the other characters. Undoubtedly, there will be a scene (probably next season) where Penelope undergoes some magical makeover and is suddenly deemed worthy of love and respect. I think that storyline is overdone. While watching the show, I can’t find it, but I saw a tweet essentially pointing out this exact thing and emphasising how much effort it must take to make Penelope look “ugly” when she’s as stunning as she is IRL.

The diversity

There were a few too many complaints by people claiming that diversity in period drama “doesn’t work”, and to that, I say…why are racists gatekeeping fiction? Who cares if it’s not “historically accurate”??? It’s not a documentary. Just say you’re a bigot and leave. I think the diversity aspect of the show was well done. It was there without seeming forced or tokenistic.

Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings

I have one word to say about this man. Hot. He’s SO attractive. If you haven’t seen the show and need a reason to change your mind, this is the most important reason. I won’t romanticise emotional unavailability, but if you’re into that, you’ll love him even more. He’s charming, brooding, and frustratingly stubborn. It’s not often that I watch a romance and prefer the man over the woman involved, but the scale is fairly tipped in this case.

The series is based on books

Meaning – there’s more! Also, I guess if you’re into reading, you can do that and then probably criticise the show for being different – whatever suits you. My point is – Netflix, please don’t cancel another show I like. Please.