Like most other fans of Bridgerton Season One, I had March 25th marked on my calendar. I sat down last night after dinner intent on at least watching one episode and then savoring the episodes over the week. Instead I ended up walking up to bed at 3:30 am, my head so full of thoughts. Clearly, the season was engaging enough for me to binge watch and finish all eight episodes in one stretch. I watched the show purely for entertainment. I was not hoping for anything more and boy did it deliver!
However, given the hype about South Asian representation I was underwhelmed. It is a foregone notion that this show is set in fantasy land where we pretend races and cultures mix. Like Kate and Anthony, we insist the kiss did not happen. It. Did. Not.
If we put that aside and focus just on good looking people in fancy clothes, we still have to reconcile in our head this is a show where social mores mattered, what people thought mattered. It is not the Jane Austen-esque prude society we are thinking of but the rather raunchy society that Season One introduced us to. Most issues with the representation of Indians in high British society have been pointed out on social media and hot takes all over entertainment websites.
It would have taken a few sensitivity readers/consultants to point out that it would have been wiser to pick one section/class/caste/society from India and draw names, endearments and the occasional vernacular lingo to pertain to that part and time in India. Such a simple thing and it would have elevated what South Asian brown people see as mainstream representation. Names are so important and a little bit of thought would have made such a huge difference.
I will let that pass. However, all morning and noon I keep going back to these in no particular order.
I wish there had been a connection, a hint of a backstory with Lady Danbury and Kate or Lady Mary and Lady Danbury to explain how a single mother and two daughters from an average class in India decide to make it back to British High Society to participate in the season. Even if Lady Danbury was the sponsor and money was not an issue, it leaves a gap and makes the storyline feel too contrived.
The dynamic between the Sharma sisters felt tiring by the end of the season. I have been rewriting their storyline in my head a thousand times over since morning. Little tweaks that would have made the viewer vested in their story and their success. I also wish they had a woman Friday who accompanied them from India, making them chai and being a plot device to explore what it was like for new adults navigating a society they had not been privy to.
Eloise is probably the one who got the short shrift. There was so much scope in the storyline to explore what it means to not want to be part of societal mores, to find love and companionship outside of the pagentry. Eloise is a rebel without a cause and frankly tiring by the end of season two.
I think my biggest gripe is the watering down of Lady Danbury’s acerbic wit, Lady Whistledown’s ability to hold a mirror up to society and the Queen who was reducted to a pale imitation of what she was in season one.
The Sheffields. Ugh!
The things in the show I loved are many.
Anthony’s evolution is what kept me hooked. The dynamic between Lady Bridgerton and her son was beautifully done as were the scenes between Daphne and Anthony.
Penelope aces the scenes where her eyes do all the talking.
The chemistry between Kate and Anthony was electric and it’s a pity the story didn’t utilize it as well as it could have.
And, last of all, what is it with people and their inability to vocalize love???
Did you watch the show? What did you think?