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Binging “Bridgerton”: escapism at its finest

After I finished my painful rewatch of “Glee” in December, I went looking for something to fill the binge-watching void, and all I kept hearing people talk about was the new Netflix original, “Bridgerton.”

My For You Page on TikTok was filled with “Bridgerton”-inspired outfit videos. My friends recommended it to me. Everyone was saying the show was really good — just don’t watch it with your parents. 

I watched the trailer and, intrigued, decided to give it a shot. My first impression was that it’s “Gossip Girl” meets “Pride and Prejudice,” and I still stand by that.

“Bridgerton” is a Netflix original series produced by Shonda Rhimes. Set in Regency-era England, it follows the families of the Bridgertons and the Featheringtons as they navigate the social season, a time where young ladies come out to society to try to find a husband.

The main drama starts when a scandal sheet by the anonymous Lady Whistledown is distributed throughout town. Lady Whistledown is a seemingly all-knowing gossip queen whose identity is a secret until the season finale.

Bridgerton is chock-full of teen drama show tropes that just work so well when put into the regency era. Lady Whistledown’s gossip adds drama, but it also helps move the story along. Her newsletter allows information to get around the town much faster than it would through word-of-mouth in 1813. She also serves as the narrator of the story, voiced beautifully by Julie Andrews.

When I watched “Bridgerton,” I felt the same way I felt when I was 10 years old and I just had to read one more chapter of my book before bed. In an eight-episode show where each episode is about an hour, you would expect some lull around the middle. But along with the overarching story throughout the season, each episode has its own compelling narrative with a beginning, middle and end.

Another trope “Bridgerton” employs is one of my personal favorites: fake dating to lovers. Daphne and Simon decide at the end of episode one that Simon will pretend to court Daphne. Simon needs to appear unavailable to all the mothers who want to play matchmaker, and Daphne needs to appear desirable after she’d been upstaged by another girl’s beauty. 

As the two spend more time together, it becomes clear that they make a true connection and begin to fall in love, despite their reservations against it. The beauty of fake dating to lovers is that it forces the two parties to become friends from spending so much time together, and it eventually turns into something more.

“Bridgerton” is completely disconnected from the current time period in every way possible, and to me, that’s a part of why it’s been so successful. Filming wrapped up in February 2020, a time when gatherings of over 10 people were normal. The elaborate ball scenes are pure fantasy-fueling content.

This past year has been a difficult one for us all, and sometimes reality is so stressful that you just want to take a break from it. We read books and watch movies and television shows not only because they’re entertaining, but also to escape to another world, even for just a little bit.

“Bridgerton” is the perfect piece of media for the times, providing a way to travel back in time and experience love, lust and drama with the characters we grow to love (or hate).

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And just in case no one has warned you yet, don’t watch this show with your parents.

Review: 9/10