I Should’ve Liked Bridgerton

How this story failed us, and how its characters failed each other

Theoretically, Bridgerton is right up my ally. I love period dramas, I love the emphasis on the lavish clothes and the beautiful interiors, I love romance, and I love intrigue. I especially loved that the show creators took the liberty to revise history enough to include a more diverse cast. Still, I just finished Bridgerton, and I’m feeling… disappointed?

Here are a few reasons I can’t get myself to like Bridgerton:

1. The leads.

Objectively, I know he’s an attractive man, but I was just too put-off by his complete emotional ineptitude. In this year of 2020, aren’t we done with these child-men yet?

Not to mention that as a duke he’s supposed to be responsible to a whole host of people that depend on him for their livelihood and safety. He seems to have… forgotten?… about them.

There was nothing particularly wrong with Daphne at the start, but there was nothing right about her either. There were a few instances where they tried to imbue her character with a little bit of toughness — when she lands that punch, for example. But it all dissolves into… blah. There’s some minor character growth, but really, she’s fairly dull and remains that way.

2. The toxic romance.

The relationship between Simon and Daphne is so compromised by deceit and betrayal, not to mention that horrific moment where Daphne decides to keep going after Simon’s asked her to stop *horrifying,* that it seems impossible they’ll actually be able to mend the relationship. There is no trust or respect between them.

Their attempts at communication are painful to watch (she finally gets to an *understanding* of him by reading his correspondence) and there is no accountability. It’s all dismissed with well, you lied to me first, and oh, I didn’t know your dad was mean to you!

If a friend came to me and described that dynamic—as either Daphne or Simon—I would advise them to run, see a therapist, and start over elsewhere.

3. Why do we know who Lady Whistledown is?

More disappointing is the identity of Whistledown.

Through the show, the two young sisters (Penelope and Eloise) are the only ones that seem to possess any significant moral compass. Penelope, especially, is caught between deceiving a man she loves and dooming her cousin to ruin. She compromises and gives him a light warning, forgivable on both counts. That’s what we thought.

Instead, what Penelope does, we now realize, is save her own neck by betraying the cousin in the most public and ruinous way possible, airing her dirty laundry for all of London to read. She ruins the cousin and she ruins her sisters, too, in the process.

But, I guess as long as no one is mad at her, right? *Horrific*

The show, however, seems completely unaware of that. Or, again, not to want to hold it’s characters accountable. The tone of the reveal, it seemed to me, was meant to inspire some admiration, a pleasant surprise, mischief, and pluck.

4. The Queen, though, was petty and perfect.

Writer | English PhD | Reflecting on writing, motherhood, contemporary reads, and undocumented stories

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store