Let’s Talk About Bridgerton
In a time of COVID, chaos, and coups, my desire to escape reality has become increasingly urgent. In the past few weeks, I have dwelled in Stars Hollow with the Gilmore girls, explored Hogwarts with Harry, Hermione, and Ron, and sipped coffee with Ross and Rachel at Central Perk. Recently, I chose to venture into Regency-era London with the new hit Netflix show, Bridgerton. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a world where one’s greatest concern is whether to wed a prince or a duke?
Bridgerton tells the story of Daphne Bridgerton, a debutant in search of a worthy husband in high society London. In order to avoid the damning criticism of Lady Whistledown–an anonymous gossip columnist–Daphne strikes up a fake relationship with the elusive Duke of Hastings, with whom she soon becomes enamored. Bridgerton has a Gossip Girl meets Pride and Prejudice vibe to it, complete with incredible costumes, beautiful sets, and stellar acting.
What immediately struck me about Bridgerton was the diversity of the cast. Although the show remains accurate to the era in wardrobe, dialogue, and tradition, creator Shonda Rimes decided against racial accuracy in order to showcase BIPOC actors in featured roles. Queen Charlotte, adorned with a Marie Antoinette-style pouf made of delicate braids, is played by the talented Black actress Golda Rosheuvel. The Duke of Hastings is played by the smoldering Black actor Regé-Jean Page.
This colorblind casting has sparked conversation regarding diversity in period pieces. Is it wrong to deny BIPOC actors these coveted roles? Should talent outweigh looks? Should representation outweigh accuracy?
I personally loved Rhimes’ decision to cast actors of color in non-historically accurate roles. Seeing a Black royal family in such a popular series is just really powerful and is the type of representation that is so sorely missing from TV shows and movies. Further, the quality of this show does not hinge on its historical accuracy; set in any time period, this show is binge-worthy because of its drama, gossip, and…let’s be honest…crazily good looking cast. I do not think anyone would say that this is some historical masterpiece, it is just a good show.
I would highly recommend Bridgerton to anyone wishing to escape for several hours into a world of champagne towers, pastel ball gowns, and raunchy rule-breaking. It is truly the best show for right now: light, funny, and spellbinding. (Did I mention Julie Andrews voices Lady Whistledown?) 100/10.