I just want to preface this review by saying:
“Dear Future Husband, if our honeymoon isn’t going to have all the sex that Simon and Daphne were having in Bridgerton after their wedding, then don’t bother proposing.”
Because, WTF! Those two were fucking everywhere – during picnics, in the rain, outside, inside, up against the wall, down on the floor, up on the table, in bed. Simon’s nyash thrusting up and down, and making me wonder (in the flustered words of Sheila) where one can order a Duke of Hastings on Amazon.
Let me not even go into how distractingly good looking these Bridgerton men are. There is just something about Simon Basset and Anthony Bridgerton and Will Mondrich that makes me keep rewinding whatever scene they are in, where they’re giving smoldering looks or Will is flexing those “smash me to pulp, daddy” muscles of his. It took me two days to finish the show because, why must we not pause and rewind to savour the eye candy that Shonda Rhimes’ casting director put before our screens?
All this konji aside, December 25 gave me what officially became my best show of 2020. I was watching a Grey’s Anatomy interview awhile back, and Ellen Pompeo said something about how Shonda Rhimes is so skilled in storytelling, that she would introduce weighty topics regarding the society into her shows and you wouldn’t feel like you were getting lectured. It’d still be entertainment, but you would also find yourself pondering on the underlying message.
This was done a lot in Grey’s Anatomy of course. It was also done, ever so brilliantly, in Bridgerton. There were recurring themes of feminism butting defiantly against the patriarchy, of sex education, of a woman’s right to her body, of the struggle of being gay in an oppressive society, of partnership and not ownership in marriage.
There was something both hilarious and sad when Eloise Bridgerton, a full grown young woman, burst into the family drawing room and blurted out, “How does a lady come to be with child?” Or the horror that suffused her face when her friend, Penelope Featherington, told her that an unmarried woman she knows had gotten pregnant and she said, “How did she become with child if she is not married… How can we make sure it never happens to us?” As though getting pregnant without being married is equivalent to contracting a communicable disease.
What a society it is that men know all there is to know about sex and sexuality, and women know next to nothing – that is, until they are wed to a man? What a skewed landscape it is when women go into marriages knowing nothing about what pleases them sexually and having to be content with whatever direction or level their husbands lead them to in the bedroom?
And even so… See eh, whoever came up with that “women are the weaker sex” claptrap obviously never met the women in Bridgerton. These women are disadvantaged, placed in their stations to serve the whims of men – and yet, they managed to get things done right! I mean, just look at how the women in the Bridgerton household plotted to get that unsavoury suitor, Nigel Berbrooke, off Daphne’s case. Or how Lady Danbury defied the arrogance of a duke and took in the son he’d chosen to so cruelly neglect, grooming him and bringing him up to become the finest, most delicious piece of goodness that every debutante – and Me – wanted a taste of.
However, nothing ached like the words Sir Granville – the married artist who is in love with a man – said to Benedict Bridgerton: “We live under constant threat of danger. I risk my life every day for love. You have no idea what it is like to be in a room with someone you cannot live without, and yet still feel as though you are oceans apart. Stealing your glances, disguising your touches. We cannot so much as smile at each other without first ensuring no one else is watching.”
This broke my heart, because how can a reality from so many years ago still be our lot in the twenty-first century?
Henry Granville added that “it takes courage to live outside the traditional expectations of society.” So to all the effeminate gays who take a deep breath every morning before stepping out in their skin to face the world that actively recriminates them, to all the gay men and women who are out and using their lives to try to normalize the existence of LGBT people in society, to the closeted ones who step out of their comfort zones long enough to do what they can to make the world a better place – your courage is inspiring. And you are beautiful for it.
Bridgerton is a beautiful show. If you haven’t seen it, you totally should. As for me, while I wait ever-so expectantly for the second season, I am already on the hunt for the books upon which the show was based.
I am @walteruude on Twitter