On a surface level, Bridgerton has all the elements that typically make up a popular piece of drama - beautiful people, sex, scandals and gossip. But, as is typical of Rhimes’ work, the show gently weaves social issues into its plot, particularly gender issues, as the women in the show attempt to find husbands within the “season” of Regency-era London.
Much of Britain’s colonial history is forgotten in the colour-blind casting of the show
Aside from a mention of “the colonies'', much of Britain’s colonial history is forgotten in the colour-blind casting of the show, which allows us to see bodies that are rarely represented in such period pieces. Such beautifully diverse casting is another Rhimes speciality; the cast is both aesthetically and emotionally pleasing. This creates an image that is rich in every way, the clothes, the people and the landscapes are an intricately composed delight.
Perhaps more sensationally, as soon as Bridgerton was branded raunchy and shocking by the tabloid press, people flocked to see what the fuss was about. However, the sex in Bridgerton doesn’t feel like it is there just to attract viewers. Sex is not just there because it’s provocative, sex is there because a lot of the discussions are about sex, specifically about female pleasure and discovery of sex. The way in which Daphne and the Duke have sex is actually important, and we are often treated to the entirety of their intercourse, no matter how short it may be, instead of stylised montages of foreplay and climaxes.
Refreshingly, women are the focal point of these sex scenes, and of Bridgerton in general
It has also sparked discussion on the nature of consent in a society where knowledge of the act itself is so sheltered. Refreshingly, women are the focal point of these sex scenes, and of Bridgerton in general- encapsulated by the godly, Gossip-Girl-esque voiceover of the mysterious Lady Whistledown. Bridgerton may also owe its success to its transatlantic aesthetic. Much has been made of the “American feel” of Bridgerton, which perhaps, like Netflix’s Sex Education, resonates with American audiences. Although we are undoubtedly in England, the language and the plot feel American. Even the orchestral arrangements of modern pop music are often those of American stars, such as Ariana Grande or Taylor Swift.
But perhaps Bridgertons greatest appeal is a sense of escapism in our locked-down world. There is none of the bizarre escapism of Tiger King, here is a world of beautiful gowns, constant parties and socialising and sex- the life we all miss. Much like The Crown, it is the world of affluence that draws you into Bridgerton, transporting you so far from the current reality you can almost forget it exists for fifty minutes.