What are some of the stereotypical things that you expect from a historical romance? Of course, a typical historical romance stems from makes the beautiful gowns, the codified social strata, and – oh boy – the intense sexually repressed feelings.
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Period dramas or historical romances remind us of the time in which people lived in constricted boundaries and their love was rifted because of stifled politeness and obscured desire. It wouldn’t be wrong to claim that both serve as ingredients to a great love story as it cultivates tension and conflict. But here’s the thing that we’ve noticed in all period movies/series: people living in the old days were pretty… horny.
See: The five shocking facts of the Series Bridgerton!
Let’s come to Bridgerton now – it’s the first collaboration between Shonda Rhimes and Netflix, and it's outright horny. And let us free you of any confusion that this is a more decorous and polite horniness that we saw in Downtown Abbey. In fact, you wouldn’t even find this level of horniness in The Tudors where the sex between Henry VIII and women turned into a gruesome murder.
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The show has modernized horniness and the only thing left to see was them sending dick pics to one another which they couldn’t to stay authentic to the times Bridgerton is based on.
Bridgerton is adapted from Julia Quinn’s best-selling novels. It’s a multicultural period drama with a blend of modern sensibilities. It has all the ingredients needed to complete a historical drama: you’ve got the ball gowns, the carriages, the tiaras – everything. The series is about a wealthy family who is obsessed with finding righteous matches in the cut-throat season when everyone is on the move. And on top of that, there is one mysterious newspaper columnist, (voiced by Julie Andrews), Lady Whistledown, who reports every scandal in town, completely unabashedly. Of course, this angle of the story has an intense Gossip Girl vibe.
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In season's first half, you meet (Phoebe Dynevor) Daphne Bridgerton – she is the eldest daughter in the family and the only “out” debutante. She builds a flirtatious relationship with the Duke of Hastings (Rege-Jean Page) as well as an (Freddie Stroma) Austrian Prince. This aspect of the show continues in the first half of the season quite straightforwardly. In addition to this, her siblings and other supporting characters add noise in the background. Ultimately, you can say that that first half of the season is dedicated to Daphne and her relationships.
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But, as soon as the mid-season arrives, the storytelling diverts attention to the rest of the siblings of Daphne. This is when the priorities change. However, some viewers might feel that the last four episodes could’ve been placed in an entirely different season altogether, even when they’re a natural and gradual first half's continuation.
The thing is that many shows pull this trick where they change the attention of the show mid-season. The problem isn’t the shift in priorities but the method in which it is done. You don’t want to be awkward and hinged. And it feels like Bridgerton digs its own grave by following this path.
Most characters in the second half are the ones viewers would find no interest in; they were completely unimportant in the first half so now they serve as mere distraction.
The second half of the series is focused on Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) who is the selfish brother of Daphne. He starts a relationship with (Sabrina Bartlett) an opera singer.
The second half also has a spotlight on Colin (Luke Newton), another brother of Daphne who’s romance doesn’t bloom. And finally, you get to meet her third brother, Benedict (Luke Thompson) who is most likely bisexual.
It’s unfortunate that we weren’t given much information about these characters, considering how invested we were in their tracks.
Eloise (Claudia Jessie) is Daphne’s headstrong sister who is sweet and a feminist. And look, this is a track that we’re invested in, and if, the showrunners promise us that the second season will focus on Eloise and Penelope Featherington’s (Nicole Coughlan) feminist endeavors, we’re on.
A positive aspect of the show was the respectful embracement of diversity. The show ignored all the baseless notions and gave us a black Queen of England who is obsessed with gossip and her lady companions (who are all women of color). In addition, the Duke of Hastings is played by a Zimbabwean-British actor. You’ll find several members to be multi-racial.
As you can tell, the casting is excellent and you can clearly see that the makers of the show went ahead with a “why not” approach because they added color to the Regency London without intending to give explanations.
Some of the tracks of the show dealt with sexism and power play. But these messages were never in your face. You will find remarkable social commentary enveloped in these story lines.
Social problems of the time seem quite relatable in the world today. So if you plan on enjoying the feast of a show, don’t simply get amazed by the regency fashion and wait to get hooked on the story lines.
But again, you must know that social analysis is not the selling point of the show. There will be moments when you’ll be distracted by the dazzling fashion and occasional but intense sex scenes.
To conclude it all, Bridgerton is a story about rich people dressed in rich clothing experiencing rich people problems while also being excessively horny.
Have you caught up with the horniest period drama yet? C’mon it’s under Shonda Rhimes and Netflix’s partnership so it has to have the X-factor!
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