“Bridgerton”: An Embarrassment to Period Pieces

Janelle Camba, Staff Writer

*Spoiler Warning*


Trigger Warning: Mentions of Rape and Sexual Assault


3 starIn this day and age, many entertainment networks have produced period pieces meant to whisk viewers off to enchanting ballrooms and lavish castles. Among these works lie masterpieces that provide dramatic commentary on the problematic, yet complicated issues of the past. However, Netflix’s “Bridgerton” is not one of them. In fact, the show acts as a full-blown disappointment to its genre.


Admittedly, I was hooked by the show’s fantastical concept: two Victorian era enemies forced to fake a relationship as they navigate society’s unaccepting gaze. But once viewers push aside the extravagant aesthetic and pretty scenery, they’re left with the shambles of what could’ve been a compelling story.


Most notably, the so-called romance between the main characters, Daphne and Simon, dragged for far too long. The pair constantly argues and lies to each other to the point where the audience is exhausted. Rather than have a simple conversation with one another, they ignore the problem then act surprised when their issues aren’t magically resolved after a trip to the bedroom. Furthermore, Daphne and Simon’s lack of communication results in the two never sharing a connection that the audience can buy into. Every personal and intimate detail that Daphne knows about Simon is a product of her constantly sneaking behind his back. I found myself rolling my eyes each time a problem popped up that could’ve been easily fixed if they talked to each other.


“Bridgerton” only featured two interesting plot points which were quickly cut short in favor of Daphne and her bland family. In all honesty, I was more invested in Marina, a secretly pregnant woman trying to find a husband while still heartbroken over her child’s father. She exemplified everything I wanted the show to be about: nuanced commentary, social conflict, and the struggle for love. However, “Bridgerton” sidelined her story, instead honing in on Anthony, the sexist older brother who never learned his lessons, and Benedict, the forgettable second eldest who contributed nothing to the plot.


The second interesting story revolves around Lady Whistledown, a mysterious Gossip Girl-esque character who exposed any and all drama throughout the series. I mainly enjoyed trying to piece together her hidden identity and watching characters fall prey to her knowledge. But again, “Bridgerton” squashed the opportunity to develop the plot, opting for an anti-climatic reveal at the end of the season. The show didn’t foreshadow her identity or even drop clever hints as to who the mysterious woman was. Instead, they lazily inserted a red herring and then randomly exposed the truth.


Finally, the most glaring problem circles back to Daphne and Simon. After discovering that Simon possibly lied about being unable to have children, Daphne took matters into her own hands. Instead of confronting him, Daphne raped Simon as a twisted way of finding out the truth. The show doesn’t antagonize her actions or portray them as assault. In fact, Daphne continues to unironically berate and shame Simon for violating her trust as if she hadn’t done the same. This again feeds into Netflix’s ongoing issue of producing original movies and shows that normalize sexual assault and rape simply because the victim is a man.


“Bridgerton” held the potential to be a groundbreaking show. Instead, it stumbles into each storyline without much thought or care. Watching this show get renewed for a second season after a month, while good-quality content like “Anne with an E” and “Everything Sucks” get canceled makes me question what kind of entertainment Netflix is looking to produce.