Over 80 million households have watched Netflix’s Bridgerton since December when it first aired. The acclaimed Shonda Rhimes has proven that with a limitless budget and creative license she can deliver lavish storytelling that is both provocative and scintillating. As someone who has always loved period pieces, Bridgerton is a weird combination of Jane Austen, Downtown Abby, and Dynasty.
So much elegance, opulence, backstabbing, gossiping, and let us not forget love-love-love. Ladies and gents looking for romance and marriage hoping that it brings them both status and happiness (especially status). In a world of privilege, what could be more important than attending balls, parties, and events in search of the right marriage? You get to experience the pressure and limitations imposed on these women to have their parents, and in this case, a brother decides who they should marry.
I like that Shonda did not shy away from having some of the women characters express their frustrations and anger on how society forces them into roles of servitude. You are able to experience their imprisonment by how easily a young woman can be dishonored, becoming damaged goods for life just by being alone in a room with a man. But Shonda also portrays strong women such as Queen Charlotte, who must rule as her husband is no longer fit or Lady Danbury, who is highly respected by everyone including the powerful Queen. Let me not forget the mysterious gossip columnist Lady WhistleDown who yields the power of the pen stalking the rich and the powerful. Wonderful drama steeped in conflict but then is that not what good storytelling is all about?
The production of this unique drama is so beautifully staged; the exquisite costumes especially for the men; the ballroom dancing with such perfection and synchronization; the use of today’s pop music played by a string quartet both subtle and cleverly done; the rooms and houses just pure gorgeousness and the multiracial element that pulls it all together… great fantasy!
What makes this novela so rare and unique is how race is not an issue. It offers a glimpse of what society could look like if race was not a point of contention. It is where escapism begins….imagine a world where the color of your skin does not matter. Shonda’s vision reminds me of another story that does this but in a strange way. For those who love Star Wars, the theme is about the universe against the Evil Empire. It is never about a planet’s race hating another. It is most noticeable when you see the interplanetary characters co-existing without any mention of their race. You especially see this interaction during the famous bar scenes which are both funny and pleasing. It is unfortunate that our DNA is one where we inherently believe that the destruction of other cultures is paramount to our survival.
However, there was one mention of race that I would have preferred Shonda had not inserted. It is noted by the Queen that the King marrying a black woman allowed Blacks to be part of London’s nobility. My problem with this is that it mirrored today’s society, where People of Color are at the mercy of white privilege being charitable in gaining acceptance. Was it necessary to mention this as a way of explaining its multicultural theme?
The most powerful theme in the Bridgerton story is romance and lots of sex, even in this puritanical era. The scenes are a bit racier than the Scandal TV series once aired on ABC produced by Shonda. Some parts can make you cringe with laughter such as the Duke’s persistent behavior to use the oldest form of birth control. The other is the mini masterclass that is offered to anyone under 15 on how to self-pleasure. All very entertaining and worth binging as you become more curious about the next episode and before you know it is 1 in the morning.
Lastly, I love the Duke, a broodingly handsome man with great presence, beautiful clothes, and serious daddy issues. He is the ultimate romantic hot guy with his perfect control of British proses done so passionately and eloquently. I could listen to him all day! Let me say that the castle was also a big hit but then what castle is not as they are the perfect backdrop for escapism of any kind.
What more can I say other than I wait restlessly for next year’s Bridgerton for more escapism. This time with less of COVID in the background.
PS The photos are of the Pena Palace located in the town of Sintra, Portugal. This magical, romantic fairy-tale castle was once a monastery expanded into this enchanting royal residence with a nature park three times its size built by a King for his Queen (who died before it was built, although she managed to birth him 11 children). The palace is mysterious, nostalgic, and extravagant. No photos were allowed of the interior, but I managed to sneak several of the living quarters and the kitchen.
Click the center of the photo to see the full view.
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