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Why You Should Watch (Or Rewatch) Bridgerton

What has arguably become Netflix’s best show, Bridgerton is the diamond of the season; sweeping us off our feet and making us lust for more. The escapism to early 19th century London, fueled by romance and scandal, was exactly what I needed as a college student amid a pandemic during a Maine winter. The show follows the lives of the eight Bridgerton siblings: Antoni, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth. Season One, which was released December 25th, 2020, focuses on the eldest sister Daphne’s courtship process, while also detailing the romantic hardships of her older brothers. 

 

However, an anonymous gossip paper published by pseudonym Lady Whistledown discusses the scandals of the rich and attractive young adults, adding what has been described as a “Gossip Girl” twist in the series. Lady Whistledown holds power in her publishings; she declared Daphne the “diamond of the season”, meaning that she is the most respectable, beautiful, classy and wanted young woman in the marriage pool. In the same way that Lady Whistledown can create success for some, she can ruin the names of others, such as character Miss Maria Thompson- a cousin of the Featheringtons (another high-up family) who is staying with them for the season and in a rush to find a suitor for reasons I will not spoil. 

 

While Antoni and Benedict, the eldest (and supposedly most responsible) men of the family, are exercising their toxic male privilege by enjoying brothels and the sexual entertainment of women of lower class, Daphne remains innocent and clueless of sex (despite the fact she is soon to be married). The illustration of sexual relations in Bridgerton creates a powerful discussion of what it meant to be a woman or a man in bed during this time period, and how these values translate to modern society. The women are depicted as pure and untampered with minds bare of the impurities of sex, as her repuation would be ruined by a single touch or unsupervised visit from a man. Whereas men, as if living in an alternate reality, have sex with the already “ruined” women of the lower class with no mark on their name whilst pursuing their marriages to such pure, debutantisc ladies of high class. 

 

Sex is one of many themes Bridgerton dives into. The series also creates discussion on what it means to be in love, what an endearing marriage should consist of, if social and economic class define the purpose of a life, and the power rumors and gossip have in a society. 

 

Despite not being as progressive as I wish- as women are discussed as objects to be bought for marriage and the patriarchal societal system depicts a sexist and classist dynamic in every relationship on the show- the series successfully creates the aesthetic of Regency-Era England. All the furniture, gowns, suits, houses and sets are made specifically for the show, with every detail catered to perfecting the setting of 1813 London. 

 

With the plot thickening each episode, many questions will arise, be answered, and then develop into bigger issues. For example, will Daphne find a suitor that is both suitable and a love-match? Will the Featherington family successfully hide Marina’s secret? Will the older Bridgerton brothers ever settle down to fulfill their family duty? And most importantly- who is Lady Whistledown?

 

In conclusion, and most importantly, there is some serious eye candy in this show! Whether it be Simon, the Duke of Hastings (played by Regé-Jean Page, who is unfortunately not returning for Season 2) or Madame Delacroix, London’s sought-after modiste (played by Kathryn Drysdale), there is someone insanely attractive in every scene. Not only will the drama keep you engaged, but these actors make it hard to look away!

Hi! My name is Brooke (most call me Brooklyn) and I am a Staff Writer and UMaine Contributor for Her Campus, as well as the Social Media and Marketing Director. I am a third year majoring in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Climate Sciences. As a TA and tutor, I enjoy helping others. I love all things literature and GRLPWR so I am super excited to be apart of Her Campus! My instagram handle is @bccamire if you want more content!
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