Sex! Music! Shonda!
Since Bridgerton dropped on Netflix in December, it seems like it's all anyone talks about. Executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, the eight-episode series takes place in 1813 London and offers a whimsical glimpse at high society and courtship. For as long as it's been out, the show has stirred up about as much gossip as protagonist Daphne's love life. Period films and series come out frequently, so what made this one blow up?
Here are the reasons everyone seems to be talking about Bridgerton right now. (Warning: spoilers ahead!)
- The diverse cast. Racially diverse casts are still lacking on the small screen, and it's markedly worse in historical pieces. Bridgerton's main plotline is the interracial relationship between Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset (Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page). The real-life monarch Queen Charlotte is thought by some historians to have been Black, so her portrayal by actress Golda Rosheuvel is accurate. A few other Black characters that get a fair amount of screen time are Simon's father, the Duke of Hastings (Richard Pepple) and Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh). Though most of the show takes a "colorblind" approach to its diverse casting, racism is briefly discussed by Lady Danbury in episode three. For some, though, it's understandably conflicting to acknowledge race issues without fully addressing them.
- The musical cameos. In episode six we get an unforgettable sex montage featuring Daphne and Simon as newlyweds. These scenes are scored by a string arrangement of Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" by Duomo. It's an evocative song to begin with, but the orchestral quality turns it into a modern-period hybrid and ups the romanticism to eleven. Swift is in good company: Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and other iconic artists also had their music covered for the show.
- The modernized costumes. While Bridgerton takes place in 1813, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick took liberties with the looks she created. For example, Lady Featherington (Polly Walker) and her daughters wear bright colors, in-your-face patterns and big updos, few of which are historically accurate. These details emphasize the traits of each character and make the show more relatable to modern audiences.
- Social media trends. The cottagecore and royalcore aesthetics have been huge on TikTok for a while now. Think: tea, billowing sleeves, forest vibes. Bridgerton fits into this perfectly, so people on the platform really embraced it. Creators inspired by the show are even buying corsets and introducing them into their wardrobes.
- Escapism. It's easy to feel helpless right now when so many things feel out of our control. Since most of Bridgerton is lighthearted, it's not something you have to totally emotionally invest in if you're feeling overwhelmed. Plus, it's entertaining to watch a Gossip Girl-style scandal play out in a fantasy world.