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Bridgerton cast posing for Netflix poster
Bridgerton cast posing for Netflix poster
Culture > Entertainment

Channeling Whistledown: A Review of Netflix’s Bridgerton

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CNU chapter.

Since it’s initial release, Bridgerton has been dominating coversation. From the beautiful period setting to the dramatic plot, Bridgerton keeps viewers paying attention and wanting more with each episode. However, no show is perfect no matter how well-written, and since I finally got around to watching it, here are my thoughts on the new Netflix hit. 

Warning: I will be using spoilers, so if you haven’t watched it yet, tag this post for after you’ve watched it. 


Like I said, this show has been everywhere and everyone has been watching it. Successful shows aren’t successful for no reason. Here are some of the things that I really liked about the show and that I felt that they did really well. 

Fake Dating

Personally, fake dating is one of my favorite tropes in shows and books. I love watching characters that are determined not to fall in love do just that. I feel like this sort of romance, despite its very nature, is very natural and true, as the characters get to know each other more and find things that they really like about each other. 

I loved watching Simon and Daphne go through this development as they found out what was important to each other. One of my favorite scenes is the party where the prince of Prussia arrives, since Phoebe finds herself drifting back to Simon the whole night, despite catching the attention of the prince. He makes her laugh, and she genuinely begins to enjoy his company and sees him as a friend. I just thought that this development of their relationship was very pure and genuine, and incredibly well-written. So much better than the whirlwind Disney-eqsue romances other works use.

scene from Bridgerton on Netflix
Shondaland / Netflix

Racial Diversity

Another thing I loved about this period piece was that it wasn’t afraid to take historical liberties. Often times, the things that deter me from period pieces such as this one is that they seem too focused on being historically accurate that they become boring and unoriginal. Nothing about them stands out. 

Bridgerton, however, wasn’t afraid to stray from history to bring more diversity to a genre that normally has none. Simon, the main love interest and one of the main characters of the show, was black, and there were many other black characters who played both major and minor roles. It messes with the racist conventions of the genre, and hopefully other period pieces will follow suit, focusing instead on the culture and feel of the period rather than the historical accuracy. 

I definitely don’t think the racial representation is perfect, but I think it is a huge step in the right direction.&nbsp

Sibling Dynamics

Daphne comes from a large family of six siblings, and all of them are very close and each of them have their own individual relationships with each other. I love all the little jokes and interactions that they have, and I feel like whoever was in charge of writing them must have had siblings because it felt so real. 

My favorite sibling pair has to be Benedict and Eloise, or as I like to call them, the family Black Sheeps. Eloise is a headstrong and determined young lady who doesn’t like what her status as a woman means in society and works really hard to counter that and make her own place in the world, while Benedict is trying to find his place in the world by doing what he likes as an artist and accepts his freedom as the second oldest son in the family. Since they both are questioning their places in society, I love that Eloise and Benedict recognize that they can turn and relate to each other. They trust each other with their secrets, and support each other’s passions and hobbies. It’s a very supportive and genuine relationship, that is spared that fake sibling dynamic through their little quips at each other as they interact one on one.


One of my absolute favorite things about this series was the music choices in this series, and this goes back to my earlier point about historical liberties and conventions of the genre. Instead of merely relying on music from the time that could be found in any other period piece, the writers of the show chose to compose classical versions of modern songs, like Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” and Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams”. This allows for the audience to relate to the work a bit more and hear something that they recognize, rather than another classical piece that they might not know otherwise. The music still fits the style of the period and doesn’t feel out of place, but keeps the interest of the modern audience at the same time.


I liked Bridgerton. I really did. But, there were a lot of things that I just didn’t like, and things that I felt could have been avoided all together. 

The Role of Women 

Bridgerton got a lot of attention for breaking historical accuracies and giving people of color a place within historical genres. However, even though they are already breaking the historical accuracies, the entire conflict of the show centers around the weakened role of women in society and how they have no control over their lives. Despite the fact that a woman is ruling on the British throne, women still need male approval and protection in every aspect of their lives. 

Personally, this plot and conflict is just so boring. It has been done so many times, and no matter how they decide to approach this lack of autonomy, it just doesn’t intrigue me. Like I get it, women weren’t allowed to do anything in this time period. But I know that, and I’ve watched that before. It would have made the show so much more interesting and the conflict a lot stronger if the show was able to move around this convention and do something original instead. 

Daphne and Simon’s Marriage 

While I loved how Simon and Daphne’s relationship unfolded, I’m not happy with how it continued to develop and how it worked out. 

From the very beginning, Daphne has said that she wants children and Simon is persistent that he doesn’t (for very valid reasons). Despite this discrepancy, they get married anyways, and this only causes more problems in their marriage, including a very, very questionable sex scene that lacks consent on Daphne’s part and where there is little consequences for her actions. I won’t get into that specific scene itself because it might trigger some people and because it was just downright disgusting, but the main issue is that Simon and Daphne want different things in their lives. 

Despite these, Simon gives in and they have a child. This is something that he really doesn’t want because of his father’s treatment of him as a child and the promise he made to his father on his deathbed saying the family line would die with Simon. However, Bridgerton instead relies on normal gender and historical roles in that a woman or a marriage cannot be complete without a child, and the season ends with Daphne giving birth to their son. Personally, I think that if the writers were truly set on giving the couple a family, adoption would have been the better option. Adoption is already so under appreciated as a valid family planning option, and it would have satisfied both Simon’s desire to not have a biological child and Daphne’s desire to have a family. 

LGBTQ+ Representation 

Throughout this season, the writers tease that Benedict isn’t just trying to accept himself as an artist, but as a gay man as well. Further, they introduce a gay couple at the art parties that he goes to in order to practice and meet other artists. However, despite this representation, I didn’t think it was written too well. 

For starters, it feels performative in that the only LGBTQ+ characters are white gay men, which make up the bulk of LGBTQ+ representation in media, allowing for works to just check this diversity box and say that they have it. Queer women, bisexual and pansexual, and trans people are rarely represented in media, and Bridgerton could have easily incorporated some of these characters into their work as well. Further, out of the LGBTQ+ representation that we do get in media, it is also almost always white people in the relationships, and it is hard to fine queer people of color represented in media. Especially with a show already working on racial diversity, it could have easily made one of these queer characters black or another race. 

Further, going back to my point about the role of women, the queer people in this society aren’t allowed to be public with their relationships and have to still marry someone of the opposite gender. Since this is already a fictional universe that doesn’t follow how historical societies look, I think it would have much more interesting and nice to have queer people also allowed to just exist within historical genres without the bulk of their weight in the plot going back to how they have to hide and how society doesn’t accept them. That’s already how reality is. Let’s do something different. Something that hasn’t been done, please. 

The Plot Twist 

At the very, very end of the series, it is revealed that Lady Whistledown, the town gossip who reveals all the secrets of the show and creates further drama throughout the show, is actually Penelope Featherington. While I love the idea that a young woman is able to make a place and name for herself in a society where she is nothing without a man, I also thought that Penelope’s place as this character wasn’t the strongest. They put so much effort into trying to figure out who Whistledown was, taking into consideration that she needs to have money, time, and resources in order to carry out this feat. However, Penelope doesn’t really seem to have any of these. Her family is broke, and they have nothing due to her father’s gambling. Penelope’s time is taken up entirely by her participation in the social season to find a husband. While this would give Pen access to all of the gossip of the season, they also make a point to say that Whistledown prints her latest editions during the balls while everyone else is distracted, in which Penelope is always present. 

I just feel like there could have been more subtle hints or a better arc for Penelope if she was meant to be Whistledown the whole time, but instead, it just felt like an easy answer. 

Daphne drinking
Netflix / Giphy.com

Overall, I would give this show about three out of five stars. There was a lot of things that I liked, but there was also a lot of things that brought the show down heavily as well. I’m not sure I would recommend this show either, just because of that one scene between Daphne and Simon and how it was handled by the show itself. 

Caroline Ernst is a senior at Christopher Newport University studying English with a writing concentration and classical studies and literature as minors. She studied abroad in Rome fall semester of her junior year, where she spent her time exploring the city, Italy, and many other European cities. On campus, she works as her university's Italian tutor in their tutoring center, where she also work as a the Foreign Language Lead Tutor. In addition, she works in the writing center on campus as a writing consultant, helping students with their essays and other writings. She is a proud member of CNU's chapter of Her Campus, where she writes for their writing team and this year will take on the responsibility as Senior Editor.