From the race to the Eagles, the modern “Bridgerton” twist highlights today’s shortcomings

Poets and lyricists attribute various powers to love: the earth revolving on its axis, as a miraculous panacea. . . And apparently “Bridgerton”, a United Nations-Whitewoman society.

It is perhaps no surprise that the regency-era adaptation of Shandaland in Julia Quinn’s romance novels takes an inclusive approach, creating far more colorful actors than either the source material or Jane Austen – Ragen Subgener’s gorgeous Dame – Anytime. But what sets the show apart from casting other color-conscious periods is that it is written in the fabric of the show, making it part of the alternate history or canon of “Bridgerton”.

Inspired by claims that the real Queen Charlotte probably, (who can really say that?) Had a black ancestor, “Bridgerton” carries on with the idea and merges her Queen Charlotte (Golda Rochewell). In return, she uses her influence and the indulgence of her husband King George III to raise the status of people of color in society or at least make them fashionable.

The show drops this expository tidbit during an important scene between two black members of the nobility. Midway through the series, Lady Danbury (Adoza Endoh) told Simon, Duke of Hastings (Rage-Jean Page), “We were divided by color into two separate societies until a king was called one of us Not in love with you. Your love, your grace. ” conquers all.”

How race shows color

“I don’t call it a color piece,” series creator Chris Van Doosan (“Scandal”) told Salon. “I think this color and race will not be considered; color and race are a part of the show’s dialogue. Queen Charlotte, being a mixed-breed queen, was able to open up the world for us and let us explore stories. Were allowed. And the characters in color make sense in a way. “

People of color have been present for a long time in the history of England – plays of which period often show up – though not necessarily in the highest ranks or mixing with their white peers. Therefore, the storytelling tool that uses “Bridgerton” allows for unintentional integration, ignoring a less integrated past.

In particular, it shows a more subtle insight into a character’s motivation this season. In the books, Simon’s father realizes that his relentless demands for genealogical successors are thought to have killed his poor wife in childbirth. And later, he is emotionally abusive with his son due to Simon’s stammering. In the show, race becomes a factor that brings an additional pressure for the new nobility.

Van Dusen said, “The queen used her power to exalt other people of color in society and gave them titles and land and dukedom, and this is where the Hastings line, the dynasty of Simon, was born.” “Simon’s father instigated him to be perfect in everything twice because of how he’s traditionally looked. We were only able to expand on Simon’s backstory that way because Simon himself was a person of color. “

This is one of the smartest uses of the show’s storytelling license. However, in this favor, this uniqueness also draws attention to who is freaking out in this way, who, he says, does not do the faithful white retailing of Autumn de Wilde’s “Emma”. It is true that the characters of color on “Bridgerton”, apparently by the Queen, Lady Danbury, and the Duke, are the richest, most powerful people. But if you look at those characters more closely, there’s a uniformity to them that Salon’s TV critic Melanie McFarland mentions in her review: They are all light-skinned.

This is, of course, one of the first hurdles when it comes to increasing diversity – understanding that representation is not just a physical presence on the screen, but about the quality of representation. When one sees who the hero on “Bridgerton” becomes desirable, noble and influential, they are all initially close to white. Characters with darker skin, and people of Middle Eastern or Asian descent remain in graffiti (such as the tertiary character’s South Asian wife) or worse, villains. This is much like when the media starts presenting stories of queues or disability.

Who is allowed a happy ending

Although people of color have more autonomy over “Bridgerton”, the plight of women and people in the queue is still relatively authentic for that period, that is to say, disgusting. In this season “Bridgerton,” Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevar), the eldest daughter of the show’s anonymous clan, regrets that she is banned for marriage, and yet, she remains a politely polite society. Are in line with gender expectations.

When Daphne does her first film with the marriage’s son, her eldest brother, Viscount Anthony Bridgton (Jonathan Bailey), he walks around the ballroom and deals with her hand – and he to his three other sisters Will do the same. . His three brothers probably do not require his approval or supervision.

Almost any action or behavior can lead to slander and ruin for a slowly bred woman who does not follow the rigid rules of the etiquette of society. Only marriage can save a woman from ruin, and also, depending on the circumstance, cannot stop the wandering tongue.

“A woman’s reputation is really hanging by a thread,” Van Dusen said. “If they do a bit of a slip, inappropriate, then they are ruined – whether it is a dull glance, a passing touch, a kiss.”

It is a classic, patriarchal purity culture. Women do not have autonomy and are at the mercy of men for their pleasure and sexual security, a mindset that in turn encourages predatory behavior. Fortuner hunter Nigel Burbok (Jamie Bemisch) first uses physical violence and then later threatens a scandal to force Daphne to marry against her will. In the books, Nigel Daffen had a rather silly gentle euphoria, while in the show she was far more aggressive and sensual, intent on acquiring Daffen as some kind of prostitute and taking a massive dowry for him.

“We refer to Nigel as the Regency version,” van Dusen said, noting that the character had been altered so that the show could “explore things like sexism and misunderstandings and the way women have been dating for centuries.” Is treated with. ”

As Anthony fails his appointed cockblocking, it is up to the sympathetic women around Daphne to, as Van Dusen describes it, “strategize ways to vocalize themselves.” They use some of the weapons that allowed women at the time: information. Daphne’s mother plans to talk to the servants and learn Gossip that they can use against Nigel. In a society built on reputation, they are able to take advantage of their secret misdeeds against her, and this is why the anonymous author of the gossip sheet Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews) holds such power.

While Daphne is saved from Nigel, he still slips. A soulful kiss – also seen by Anthony – leads him to marry the Duke of Hastings. The couple eventually falls in love, and while it turns out well for upper-class Daphne, everyone else has the option of such a happy fate even in such a fictional world as “Bridgerton” Not available.

Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker) is one such unfortunate, pregnant but unmarried woman who ends up suffering physical and emotional pain for her condition, and whom Featherington alternately considers as a burden and a pariah. She has love for her lover’s brother, who takes her on as a duty. . . And it has been prepared as a lucky result. Women who are seen working, such as the Modiist Madame Delacroix (Catherine Drydell) and opera singer Sienna Rosso (Sabrina Bartlett), are not well enough for a proper marriage, and are dependent on the men who keep them. Take as. And “Bridgerton” does not even assign to focus on the servants or lower class living out of the spectacular social vortex of the London season.

He is followed by Sir Henry Granville (Julian Ovenden), a man who befriends Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) and introduces him to the underworld of artists and organisms. Granville is also a closed homosexual man who has a wife for a beard. Only he and his lover can be together behind closed doors of sex parties thrown at him. In the era of regency, homosexuality was considered illegal and beheaded.

Van Dusen said he wanted Benedict’s friendship with Henry to reflect “tolerance in intolerable times”. He said, “Regarding the beauty and glamor and downfall of this grand escapist world, we have a postmodern commentary on how everything has changed, but nothing has changed in the last 200 years.”

On “Bridgerton”, such misunderstandings and homophobia may be addressed in a softer way, but it is clear that despite progressing in the last two centuries, modern audiences can still relate. It is damaging to see such familiar inequalities, and yet at the same time challenge us to question what it would take to effect real change. Or 200 years from now our world will be depicted in a period drama with hopelessly stable social ills?

Unmasking Lady Whistledown and Season 2

The most intriguing character in the series is a personality: the notorious and observant scandal writer Lady Whistledown. Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) notes that as a woman, Lady Whistledown is not given the opportunities that men have, but has engraved herself and created her own power in the world, though anonymous. In form. She is clearly a woman of means and leisure; As a housekeeper points out, she is too busy to write about other people’s lives.

Lady Whistledown is more than just a quippy observer of the London High Society, but takes action in the series. Both Eloise and Queen Charlotte are motivated to learn the author’s identity, the latter setting up a trap to catch her outside the printer’s office. In the end, however, she remains elusive. . . Other than the audience, who learn in the show’s final moments that Lady Whistledown is no one else, more than Alice’s good friend and neighbor of “Perry Girls” fame, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan).

It is a bold move to reveal his true face so quickly, even though the show’s characters are still clueless. Like Snarky and the omniscient blogger who narrated “Gossip Girl”, Lady Whistledown’s identity is a delicious mystery in Quinn’s novels and only half through an eight-book series (a volume devoted to a love story for each Bridgerton sibling) come to know. Why now?

Although the TV series has already drawn its hand about Whistledown, Van Doosan defended the move, hoping it set up more intrigue (and season) to come.

“It was time to spend the season watching Eloise on the trail to Whistledown,” he said. “I think it sets up a very interesting story for the second season of Hope. In success, I would love to continue the show and be able to explore the stories and romance for all the Bridgeton siblings.” Is. There are eight books. So it’s no secret. “

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