On Friday, Netflix revealed that Regé-Jean Page will not be reprising his role as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, for Season 2 of Bridgerton. While I took some time to wail uncontrollably process the news over the weekend (and re-watch episode 5), by Sunday afternoon I was beginning to accept and even embrace the news. After all, word on the street is Page could be the next James Bond. The sky is obviously the limit for the hottest character to grace the small screen since— I'm drawing a blank. Then, I spotted his sophisticated red carpet look at last night's SAG Awards. And later in the evening, John Oliver weighed in on Last Week Tonight, using his departure to explain America's national debt (yes, really). While that might seem like a bit of a stretch, the lengthy explanation is worth a watch. But I digress, as the shocking news of Friday had become fresh all over again.

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Bridgerton is now the most-watched Netflix show ever, and has become a cultural phenomenon that's even inspiring baby names for future generations. But when it first began streaming in late December, all I knew was the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Pandemic fatigue had more than set in at my house, and I was exhausted from trying to make Christmas special, when quite honestly, nothing felt special about it. We usually travel to visit family, yet here we were, homebound and trying to explain how Santa could get into an apartment building to my safety first younger child ("Through a window, of course, because that's not sketchy at all!"). Despite doing all the things, the cookie decorating, the watching of A Christmas Story, the ripping open of presents, I wasn't ever able to shake the feeling that the entire holiday felt off. Much like all of 2020.

But, then I discovered a certain opulent costume drama featuring a diverse cast created by none other than the queen of TV herself, Shonda Rhimes. Becoming wrapped up in the magnetic love story of the Duke and Duchess of Hastings was just the distraction I needed from COVID-19, remote schooling issues and figuring out what to make for dinner (still managed to take care of that last one). The whole goal of entertainment, in my opinion, is to be transported out of your current world and into somewhere else, and boy did Bridgerton fulfill that mission. With the punch of a remote control button, I was out of my sweatpants and into a tightly-wrapped corset, dancing to classical music covers from the likes of Taylor Swift and Arianna Grande. While sure there could have been more of a feminist take on the series and I wasn't exactly shocked by the reveal of Lady Whistledown, I want to say a personal thank you to Regé-Jean Page. Thank you for your smoldering looks, your charm and your British accent. You got me out of my pandemic funk, and for that I will always be grateful.

Season 2 of Bridgerton will shift its focus from the Duke and Duchess and on to Daphne Bridgerton's brother, Anthony, and mirrors the plot of the Julia Quinn romance novels on which the series is based. Needless to say, I'll be watching.