‘Bridgerton’ offers luxury, gossip, scandal, and race-blind casting

Based on Julia Quinn’s eight-novel series, Bridgerton is a period drama set  in early 19th-century London about the eight children of the late Viscount Bridgerton. Netflix’s first season of the show is based around Daphne, the eldest daughter, and her journey through “courting season,” the season in which debutantes attend lavish balls, promenades, and other events in hopes of finding a husband who will elevate her family’s aristocracy. This London society also has a gossip newsletter written by an anonymous character under the persona Lady Whistledown, which reveals the scandals and juicy details of this courting season … enough gossip to ruin a debutante’s reputation and future. Bridgerton is a perfect mix of Downton Abbey and Gossip Girl. The show follows the different aristocratic families of the area and their debutante daughters’ journeys towards marriage. 

A major appeal of the show is the costumes and the scenery. As the costume design took five months to create, according to Vogue, and the producers knew the costumes would be a main selling point of the show. Costume production reflects the wealth of the families through the flamboyant and luxurious gowns of the debutantes, a major eye catch for viewers. The women are seen in jewels, colors, feathers, wigs, ruffles, and much more.

Wealth is also portrayed through the stunning grand houses of the families and the royalty. The Bridgerton house is often raved about by viewers for its beautiful exterior. The house in reality “sits on the boundary of Greenwich Park and Blackheath, and was built in 1720 for a naval captain,” according to Luxury London.

Another interesting aspect of the show is the “colorblind cast.” Producer Shonda Rhimes cast black actors and actresses to play parts that were written as white people. Although the cast is very diverse, their racial identities have no effect on the plot or their familial ties. Much of the show’s allure comes from the chosen actors and their great acting. It also comes from the fun fantasy historical view in which the very real racism of the time has been erased. When Washington Post critic Hank Stuever tackled the question of race on Bridgerton, he explained that although the race-blind casting doesn’t make much literal sense in terms of the historical context, “people of color are here because they should have been here all along. Isn’t that reason enough?”

I loved this show very much and was able to binge watch and finish it within two days. This show can suit an audience of all ages (fifteen and up) but probably appeals the most to those in their teenage years and twenties. While the show is based a lot on reputation and remaining pure for a good husband, it also shows lots of steamy sex and brothel scenes. I recommend this show to anyone who needs something new and enjoys shows about society, gossip, and scandal.

Photo sources: Vogue and House Beautiful.

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