Bridgerton: A Discussion, Part I
Please welcome my friend Layla, who is joining DA as an additional book reviewer. When we were watching Bridgerton, Layla and I texted back and forth about it. It was so much fun that we decided to write a series of posts that included our thoughts on different aspects of the show. –Janine
Production Values / Worldbuilding
Janine: Let’s start with the production values. I loved that the fashions quickly signal that we are not anywhere near actual history, that this is a sexy, glamorous, delicious fantasy world, escapist and fun, and that we shouldn’t take it too seriously. We’ve got the Featheringtons’ glittery and patterned dresses, the lapels on the mothers (I include Lady Danbury as one of them) and most of all, the queen’s wigs—some of those look almost like soft-serve ice cream.
The camerawork, music, and set decoration lean into the swoon. We get lingering close-ups of Phoebe Dynevor’s and Regé-Jean Page’s faces, lantern-lit Vauxhall Gardens, and opulent ballrooms. There’s a romanticized London streetscape where the wealthy are on display—no chimney sweeps or panhandlers in sight. Like a cake frosted in thick buttercream with colored sprinkles, the show is rich, delicious, fun, even if not entirely nourishing. That’s acknowledged very clearly. If that’s not your fantasy, you’re going to tune out very soon.
Layla: I love the language of food that you use—not only did it make me hungry for cake but it very viscerally describes the aesthetics of the show. The two things that entranced me were the clothes and the food—opulence personified. This is history—I think that’s part of the appeal—but it’s a history as you say, that is melded with fantasy and I think the clothes, the fashions, the brightness of everything, the cleanliness, the handsomeness and beauty of the actors—all of it works together.
All of the drama comes from interpersonal relationships, this is a world where personal politics take precedence over the issues of the state or government. I think that the concomitant fantasy of race that attends that works seamlessly because of it. It’s a fantasy not just about wealth, but about history. And I was living in and loving it! (even though someone like me would not historically have been a participant in that world.)
Janine: (Someone like me wouldn’t have been either.) That’s an excellent point about the absence of state or governmental issues. It creates a self-consistency that works in tandem with the production values. I usually prefer narratives that hew closer to history because it helps me to suspend my disbelief. Here I don’t feel a need to because the opulence and the close focus on relationships keeps me from focusing on what is missing.
Treatment of Race
Janine: I loved the racebent casting choices. I loved the way the show broke with the frequent (though false) expectations that everyone was white in 19th century England. It was cool, too, that the two recurring characters highest on the aristocratic title ladder—the queen and the duke—were played by black actors (the real Queen Charlotte is thought to have been part black). It made the show feel updated, a show for the twenty-first century, where popular entertainment isn’t focused on white people to the exclusion of all others. That was subversive to a point. I mean, the travails of wealthy upper-crust Europeans are still foregrounded, but the casting made these story threads fresher and more fun.
I did have a quibble. I didn’t like the way Simon’s friendship with Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe) played out. Will was mostly there for Simon to punch. It’s a lazy way to show that Simon was upset and it didn’t develop their relationship or Will’s character much. Toward the end we did get a bit of that but it didn’t, IMO, enrich the character.
Layla: I think the racial fantasy at the center of the show not only accounts for its success, but also is a fantastic (in every sense of the word!) innovation in both adaptation from the book, and in television production and casting. That the swoonworthy male lead of the show is a black man—I think that in and of itself is extraordinary. How many other shows with a black male lead who is the object of desire are there? Now of course, the idea of interracial desire in a colonial/imperial context is problematic—while I’m celebrating that a black man is the sexy hero, I am also acknowledging the long and fraught history of representation and objectification of black men as objects of sexual aggression and desire.
Like you, I loved the casting of Golda Rosheuvel as the Queen, and I also loved Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh). So it was important and good that two of the most powerful female figures in the show are black women. They are savvy and smart and beautiful and fashionable and I was all in on the fantasy! The most problematic black character for me was Marina. I loved the actress but I did wish that a black female character would have had a romance with a happy ending.
Janine: Yes! And in fact, the sad ending of Marina’s story thread made no sense. She gets a groom who is obviously honorable and willing to marry her and be a father to her child. That was what she wanted Colin for. It’s not like Colin was the love of her life. She barely knew him when she made the decision to pursue him. So at the end she gets what she wanted. This is something that should be celebrated, not mourned.
A friend of mine made the point that the show did this to punish Marina. I agree, and I didn’t feel that was deserved. Yes, she was wrong to deceive Colin, but she was in desperate straits. Her situation was dire. It was either that or marry the elderly man who only wanted her for producing offspring and nothing else. I would argue that the exposure of Marina’s lie was at least as harmful as Marina’s lie. Even if you think Marina deserved the consequences, her child’s future is at stake too. This was a time when being born out of wedlock carried a powerful stigma and a woman alone couldn’t easily support herself. So yeah, I agree with you that Marina’s characterization was troubling.
Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews)
Janine: The show made excellent use of Lady Whistledown’s narration. Julie Andrews does a great job of introducing viewers who may not be readers of the genre to some of the major tenets of historical romance: the ton, the marriage market, scandal and its huge ramifications. The writers make good use of the montages invested with her voice-over narration to set the stage and frame the characters’ dilemmas.
Andrews also conveys how delicious gossip is to Lady Whistledown, how she loves to dish. There’s an edge of cynicism there; she’s wise to the ways of the ton and its peccadilloes. She verges on catty but never goes all the way there.
The one flaw I found with Lady Whistledown’s portrayal is that her tone isn’t a good fit for the woman secretly penning these scandal sheets. They are not at all alike in personality and it’s hard to imagine her voice as Lady Whistledown’s.
Layla: I love love love the casting of Julie Andrews whose voice is ICONIC! She is the total epitome of upper crust Englishness. She has a bit of Mary Poppins—there is something almost magical about how she knows so much! And I felt a big mystery that worked for the show was not knowing her motivation.
Eloise dislikes her at first, then comes to admire her. She’s scorned by other characters who disdain her as a malicious gossip, yet she is really the heart of the show. As an omniscient narrator she reveals things we need to know, conceals things that heighten our sense of drama and surprise, and delights us with her witty and keen observations and descriptions.
I’m interested in the question of feminism and the show and I think a key figure to think about that is Lady Whistledown, who is able to comment quite acidly about the institution of marriage, the role of women in society, and the constraints and hypocrisy attendant to certain proscribed gender roles. Final thought—this epistolary device in the novels is one of the things that sets the series apart and it works beautifully as a narrative device in the television series.
In Part II of our Bridgerton discussion, we talk about the show’s matriarchal figures–the Queen, Lady Violet, Lady Danbury, and Lady Featherington.
I’ve been on the fence about watching this show so I’m looking forward to reading what you and Janine have to say about it.
But what’s with that woman on the right in the top picture? Someone get that woman a pet Pomeranian!
I took Marina’s marriage at the end of S1 to be the beginning of her “marriage of convenience” love story in S2, where she and the new hubby awkwardly fall in love, neither ready to admit it to themselves or each other.
Welcome, Layla. My thanks to you and Janine for this review. I haven’t read the books, was absolutely not going to watch the series, and then the universe insisted I would.
So much fun, which I completely attribute to a diverse cast and the sexy, glamorous, delicious fantasy world Shonda Rhimes envisioned. I agree with every word you’ve shared here–especially re: Marina, Will Mondrich, and Lady Whistledown narration vs. character–and can’t believe how eager I am for another season.
As for Marina, I have a family member whose mother had to flee Scotland in the late 1800s because she had a child out of wedlock. Marina deserved better and I hated watching what felt like a walk of shame; even a small smile between her and the groom would have done much to suggest hope for the future.
England’s libel laws are strict, IIRC, although they may not have been at that time, but I always thought letters/scandal sheets by society writers like Lady Whistledown only supplied sly hints about people. Was it customary to name real names?
Really looking forward to your next post tomorrow.
Oops, sorry. HTML tags don’t work. I was quoting you, Janine, about the “sexy, etc.” world building.
Thanks everyone for the great comments! I totally would love for marina to have a love story with a happy ending in the second season. My fingers are crossed.
Jayne that’s hilarious those pomeranians look sort of like an extension of the crazy hairdos. Big and fluffy.
As for the libel laws— I have no clue but what an interesting point!
@Jayne: LOL re the dogs! I found even better publicity stills of them but I thought this one conveyed the worldbuilding best.
@Nicole: I didn’t think of that because it’s not in the books but I would love Marina’s marriage-of-convenience to get more airtime. Especially with the baby on the way, the stakes would be high and it could be really romantic.
@Darlynne: I’m so glad that you’re enjoying them because this is a five-part series and we are planning to run one a day this week (in addition to reviews).
I hated the walk of shame also.
I’m not sure about the libel laws but in the past I’ve seen fictional scandal sheets referring to people mentioned there with a title, initial and blank. So for example Lady Featherington would be referred to as Lady F_____.
No worries about the quoting.
It’s been years since I read the books but I thought that was how “Lady Whistledown” wrote her comments.
Is it just Queen Charlotte and her ladies in waiting who are still wearing 25 year out-of-date Georgian wigs and clothing styles?
I remember reading somewhere that she clung to her clothing styles even after the higher waisted gowns came into style and that Court presentation gowns were a horrid mishmash of high waist and ballooning paniers.
@Jayne: That’s what I remember as well. I can’t recall how it’s done in the show, that part has faded from my memory.
@Jayne: I think it’s just them but I could be wrong. Many of the dresses are embellished with non-period features like lapels or glittery, patterned fabric, though. The clothes are nevertheless one of the best things about the show—they contribute so much to the spectacular pageantry.
@Janine: These are the awful ones – http://candicehern.com/WP/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/court_dress2-166×300.jpg
OMFG! The last one hurt my eyeballs, my eyes got so big. There is actually a nod (well, more than a nod) to the headdresses on the show:
I am going to dissent a bit here and say that the casting made me uncomfortable. It seemed to me to do a disservice to the lived experience of actual historical Black people, who were not holding court and going to balls in early nineteenth century England. If it were even more fantastical, like the Cinderella with Brandi and Whoopi Goldberg and Bernadette Peters, or if it showed a more realistic path to a person of mixed race ending up with a dukedom, like Courtney Milan’s half-Chinese duke, ot Liz Carlyle’s half-Jewish one, I would have no problem with it, but just casting a lot of Black people in aristocratic roles with the “explanation “ that the Queen is Black, so hey, there are Black aristocrats now, didn’t work for me at all. Did the Queen free the slaves, too?Truly colorblind casting with no explanation at all would worked better for me than the kind of half-assed explanation we got. It’s nice that a lot of talented twenty-first century Black actors got good jobs, and Simon is very pretty to look at, but I stopped watching after two and a half episodes and I am not sure I will resume any time soon.
I really did not like the portrayl of Marina’s character. I felt it was really inconsistent in terms of motivation and actions. I will be interested to see how this plays out because Marina does appear in the books albeit in an off screen fashion. If they stick to the books it will be troubling. If they don’t then equally troubling to me.
I liked the show and thought it was fun. I also disliked what happened to Marina’s character. I was interested in the show’s decision with the Lady Whistledown reveal, I remember it being much later in the books.
Thank you, Janine for the write-up. I’m in a weird position in that I’ve only watched four episodes b/c it’s hard to find the time/split the TV with my husband. But I will finish, someday?!
I’ve never read a single Julia Quinn novel. So I come into this with no expectations. What I’d comment on at this point is the casting and actors. I know you are covering the Queen, Lady Violet, Lady Danbury, and Lady Featherington today so I won’t go too in-depth, just to say I absolutely ADORE the older ladies and they are most of the reason I continue to watch. Adjoa Andoh in particular has my heart as Lady Danbury. And I’ve loved Polly Walker (Lady Featherington) forever – especially in Rome. She was the main reason I initially turned in.
I think what makes this succeed is down to Regé-Jean Page as Simon. He is a star, honey. I remember him from the redo of Roots they did a few years ago (hey played Chicken George). This guy has charisma to burn. He’s hosting Saturday Night Live this week so that should be…interesting. But seriously – he is movie star stunning. And I love the way he plays to part.
Someone will have to tell me if Daphne is a drip in the books because here, to me, she is a drip. Just dullsville. However, Eloise and Penelope have my interest and I adore them both – as I do both the actresses playing the parts. Nicola Coughlan in particular is such a doll, I look forward to more of her.
I find all the Bridgerton men interchangeable, boring and not attractive. But in the light of The Duke, they would be. I also swear I saw one of them wearing orthopedic-style boots and that tells you what I think of the costume design. I have to tell myself it is a fantasy and suspend my disbelief accordingly.
Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the grand dames!
@Tanya: I loved “Rome” and Walker in it. She’s also good in “Emma” and “Restoration” the latter of which was a bit of a mess but lovely to look at.
@Etv13: The explanation given for the presence of diverse characters puzzled me also. The entire production is hand-wavy to begin with; as pointed out–clean streets, clean air, no ragged children or beggars, a delightful local fair–practically perfect in every way. So I thought we were looking in on a re-imagining, completely ignoring the horrors and hardship of real life in London at the time.
If that were the case, why then mention that the king married a woman of color? We know people/society/racism/slavery/inequality don’t evolve in the span of one marriage, which means we either suspend our understanding of all of reality or … not. For this particular series, I choose to think of it as glorious fantasy, and revel in a world the writers and producers chose to create. Neither history or the present are changed or whitewashed; this is a fictional world unto itself. Strictly my opinion and no offense intended.
@Tanya: “I find all the Bridgerton men interchangeable, boring and not attractive. But in the light of The Duke, they would be.” THIS! I could not keep them straight and was not really interested in doing so, especially compared to the duke. It’s rather like Disney’s Snow White: the prince was so unimportant except as a vehicle to awaken the princess that the animators forgot to give him a chin (I jest, sort of). The women, by comparison, were fully individual and distinctive, except maybe for the two elder Featherington girls. I LOVED how the women were portrayed.
@Etv13: The fantasy aspect was what made it work for me. (although in fact there were a handful of black aristocrats and more black people who were prominent in society). The queen’s wigs were so outlandish that I couldn’t not see it as a fantasy.
@Bronte and @sydneysider: it would work better for me if they do continue Marina’s story than if it ends where it did. In our fifth post, which will run on Friday, we’ll discuss the inconsistencies in Marina’s character a bit more.
@sydneysider — re the Lady Whistledown reveal, I was surprised by that too. It will be interesting to see where the show goes with that.
@Tanya: Agreed with just about all you said. We covered much of it in the posts that will run later in the week so I won’t comment too much in response to your comment, just reply regarding a few things we didn’t cover or have already posted about today. Daphne becomes more interesting (but not in a good way) in the second half. Anthony becomes less interchangeable with his brothers, I think, but he’ll never be a favorite of mine. The grand dames are awesome, all of them.
@Darlynne: Yes, that’s how I saw it too.
Great post. Since you’ve brought up Marina here, I’d love to talk about her a little more. Because I’d been absolutely dreading the episode with The Controversy but in the end it was the way that the Daphne/Hastings plot was mirrored to the Penelope/Marina plot that made the show as a whole finally click for me.
Because in both of those threads one character did something that the other could legitimately perceive as cruel–I’d say that the way Hastings presented his decision not to have children as an affliction rather than a choice was cruel; Daphne deserved the truth, and instead he took advantage of her ignorance–and that Marina’s decision to wallop all of Penelope’s feelings with a one-two punch of hard truths was also cruel.
In both cases, I understood where they were coming from–I felt for Hastings and for Marina & would have supported them had they opted to stay the course (Hastings choosing life without family, Marina a strategic marriage founded on a lie)–just like I understood why the person they hurt (Daphne and Penelope) reacted badly, with anger. Both Daphe and Penelope responded to the initial cruelty with *greater* cruelty, making choices that were both destructive and potentially unforgivable.
To me, that mirroring was really powerful. It made the whole show feel more intentional to me, more thoughtful and deliberate. I sympathized with all four of them, and that made it harder to watch everyone transform into the worst possible versions of themselves, hurting and lashing out to cause greater hurt. The downward spiral was very clear.
So it really worked for me, and it made me give the show as a whole a lot more credit, but then I found myself wondering. In both cases, the character who has to swallow the worst, potentially unforgivable cruelty & then break the cycle of bad behavior by responding with grace or acceptance, abandoning their dreams/vows/vision of the future… was the POC. It only makes sense to me as a moment when the fantasy is ruptured with a painful dose of (an unjust, unacceptable) reality, but why make that choice? It seems like a betrayal of the show’s premise.
@Erin Satie: We talk more about Marina in Friday’s post which is about feminism and the writing so I hope you’ll come back for that.
I also loved the way those two relationships were mirrored and I thought the Lady Whistledown narration was so great in the way it supported that mirroring. There’s also a point when Daphne gets angry at Colin over his coolness toward Marina and you can see that it’s really her own marriage she is talking about and not his relationship. So yes, 100% yes, that was one of the strongest sections in the writing and I wish I’d brought it up in the part of our discussion that will run on Friday but I didn’t think to.
I don’t see Simon’s actions in as harsh a light as you and many others do. I go into it a bit in tomorrow’s post but I’m glad you brought it up because I want to expound. Simon’s representation of himself as infertile was IMO in no way cruel.
Simon thought Daphne would be, if anything, dissuaded from marrying him when he told her he couldn’t have kids. He was trying to be fair to her, to keep her from marrying him to stop the duel and so cause her to enter what would be a childless marriage without her knowledge Even more so, he also didn’t want her to be hurt by his rejection of her and believe he was repulsed by her. He was trying to be kind. He was not (unlike Marina) in any way acting to entrap the other person. If anything, his action was the reverse of Marina’s. He confessed the reasons he was ineligible.
I also don’t see why, at that point in their relationship, when Simon thinks he’s about to say something that will drive Daphne away, he should be expected to share his reproductive choices with her. It was something he volunteered from kindness but was not IMO required to. All the more considering that his stance on having children connects to his father’s abuse of him in his childhood and so there’s clearly a trauma there.
Does he really owe her chapter and verse about that? She’s the one who turns the situation into the acceptance of a marriage proposal that was never, in fact, issued, so I’d say the fact that she gets stuck in a childless marriage is at least as much on her.
Janine, I totally agree that during the scene on the dueling field, it was entirely up to Simon to disclose what he felt comfortable with–saying, “Can you agree to a marriage without children?” is enough.
But after they’re married, when Daphne is struggling with her ignorance and repeatedly asking Simon what’s going on when he pulls out, getting cheery non-answers that send her looking for advice from her maid, at THAT point I think Simon was committing to deception and exploiting Daphne’s ignorance when it was time to offer her trust and recruit her as an ally.
Up until that point, I’d been a little frustrated with the way Daphne was running around asking everyone like, “How are babies made?” because it had become a little absurd. But once I realized that her ignorance was, in fact, the conflict–that she’d been vocally frustrated and trying to get the answers she needed & the person she ought to have been able to trust had, instead, kept her in the dark for his own ends? That clicked for me.
But for sure, the dueling scene was a mess and Simon should have bought himself a LOT of forgiveness by stepping up there when he’d made his position very clear.
@Erin Satie: Doesn’t Simon say later that he believed she already knew how babies were made when she married him? From his perspective that makes his actions during her moments of worry and puzzlement sensible. It’s not like she ever asked him “How are babies made?” or “What’s that you are spilling away?”
Given that he thought her mother had already had the birds-and-bees talk with her, there was no reason for him not to believe that she was voicing worries that something else was wrong—that he was rejecting her or that he was pained in some way. Which is why he told her there was nothing wrong.
What else should he have said? He’s not a mind reader. It may have been thoughtless to assume her mother communicated the facts of life to her but it isn’t cruel.
Janine–I don’t think that excuse holds much water. There was that whole interlude while they were fake-dating where Simon had to explain to Daphne that sex can be fun & he explained how to masturbate, so he knew at that point that she was really starting from zero.
I don’t recall a conversation after the wedding where he asked, or she volunteered to repeat, the (inadequate) primer her mother had given. If we’re meant to believe that Simon thought she’d gotten up to speed, we should have seen him acquiring his misapprehension, jumping to a wrong conclusion. Instead, we see lots of scenes where Daphne seems confused or concerned by aspects of sex–she doesn’t ask him specifically “What’s that you’re spilling away?” but I think a reasonable person would understand that her *frequent* confusion is a manifestation of ignorance.
Plus, there’s that whole scene at the fair where Daphne is so clearly expressing empathy for him–trying to soothe an imagined hurt, to comfort him, to express solidarity. It’s one of those moments when we see the best of her, because instead of banging on about how that whole interlude with the toddler and the pregnant woman caused *her* pain, she wants to use the occasion to bond with her husband and share what she imagines to be his burden.
That fair scene, in particular, drives home the problem. Hastings is letting Daphnes misunderstanding persist because it’s easier, but every time he reinforces her ignorance instead of telling the truth, he’s digging the hole deeper.
I forgot about how he explained masturbation to her but that’s a great point. Still, it’s possible that he thought her mother had explained the mechanics of sex without saying anything about masturbation or even pleasure. It’s likely masturbation would not have come up during a “birds and bees” talk during this era. The “close your eyes and think of England” adage exists for a reason.
You make good points, though. I didn’t notice the frequency of her confusion. I only remember three times and her asking only once or twice. But I probably wasn’t paying enough attention.
So you think he was just making up what he said about believing that her mother had given her the talk? I guess that’s possible. It does make me see Simon in a different and less innocent light.
@Sydneysider: I think this was a mistake. they should have held out longer !!!! I wonder if its because they didnt know how successful it would be and just wanted to end on a shocking note?
@Tanya: OMG i was laughing out loud about the Orthopedic boots. I think that was Benedict wearing them. BTW, I didnt get to post about his plotline but it was bonkers—wierd and not sexy and confusing. And I did not find the actor attractive—his orthopedic shoes didnt help :)
@Tanya: I adore Nicola Coughlin too. She had depth, dimension character and her face was so expressive!
@Erin Satie: Wow what a great comment, so thoughtful and thought provoking. You framed things in a way that made me rethink the Marina/Penelope and Daphne/Simon plotlines. I like your attention to the ways power works in relationships—it is an always shifting fluid thing and sometimes, the cause of great cruelty. Although I dont condone Daphne’s actions–I think they are totally reprehensible–I read that scene as her trying to take some control or ‘power’ in the relationship through sex. Is this cruel? Absolutely. And a betrayal of trust. That was kind of what I meant in my comment about how these kinds of betrayals and cruelties operate on an intimate level—her mother betrays her in that terribly moving scene where she conftonts her about it, I was moved almost to tears. That scene is a total encapsulation of how the oppression of women—an oppression that is maintained through deliberate ignorance and misinformation, at its worst it alienated women from thier own bodies—is maintained through women themselves. Daphne’s mother betrays her unwittingly, just as her lack of knoweldge of sex and her alienation from her own body–she has to be taught to masturbate by Simon!!! She’s angry with her mother and her mother’s bewilderment and hurt really moved me. Her mother doesnt even know, but in some ways shes as culpable as Simon in what happens. If I put aside the horrible defilment of the sex scene, I can see the big picture of what the show is showing about women and their lives. Daphne is an object—to be won and to be taken care of, who has to maintain her beauty and her status. There are certainly benefits, but one of the costs is her ‘infantilization’ –and that of other women of her class. She has to remain ignorant of sex, ignorant of her body, in a state of perpetual childhood because that’s one of the ways she can be controlled. Mary Wollstonecraft makes this point in her essay–that this is a technique to control women or keep them in a marginalized status.
Marina’s speech to Penelope is so cruel because its in the guise of ‘honesty’ but it hurts the person who has been most supportive and kind to her. Its cruel because its so real and its not that Penelope isnt aware of reality–shes secretly Lady Whistledown after all!!!—but to be confronted with the truth so directly by someone she has in some ways, sheltered and taken care of, its deeply hurtful. Marina is bitter in this moment, and cynical, and using the truth to hurt Penelope because she’s been hurt.
As to your comment about POC bearing the brunt of breaking the cycle of bad behaviour–this is intriguing. I’m not sure I totally understand or agree—although I did write in my comments that I found it disturbing that the black body (Simon’s) is the simultanous object of desire and of control. I wonder how Marina would be seen differently if she wasnt played by a black actress?
@Erin Satie: yes to all of this!! Also, I found the scene where her maid has to reveal the truth to her so pitiful. Daphne’s scenes with the adorable toddler and pregnant villager showed a much more warm and charming side to me. I wish they had shown her more with chlidren or shown her love of children more.
@Janine: well he says this but its also true that although they have vigorous frequent sex, he never comments on or reveals why hes avoiding one aspect of it. It seems he is using that as an excuse to keep the betrayal/lie going. Btw, this article on how the sex in the show isnt that sexy I found funny.
That article Is LOL funny. And true.
I was so busy this week that I was unable to visit DA as often as I usually do and for some reason I thought Bridgerton posts will be coming next week! I will hopefully be able to comment in more detail after I read your discussion but I just wanted to say welcome Layla and that I loved the show and I never read the books, but after I have watched the show I went ahead and read Penelope’s book, which I quite liked.
@Layla: That was great, thank you. Glad to see the writer recognized how much better Outlander was at this.
@Sirius: thank you sirius!!
I’m sorry I’m late to the party here. Welcome Layla!
I’d be interested to know what you think about the colourism in the show. I’m not an expert by any stretch and as a white woman I hesitate to comment anyway but I’m interested in your thoughts here.
As for Marina, she has a significant (if largely off page) part to play in a later book in the series so she had to be sad – there was no happiness in her marriage to Sir Phillip unfortunately. I was really troubled by her portrayal. None of the Black women in the tv show had a HEA. I’m glad that Kate has been cast as a woman of colour. I do hope that Black women get more HEAs as the series goes on.
I enjoyed the series very much but stumbled over the portrayal of Marina and the problematic elements regarding Daphne and Simon’s “controversy” which were only made more complicated by the change to Simon being Black. (Otherwise I loved Simon’s casting.).
I loved the production values and was not at all concerned about historical accuracy. Still, I think the show tried to have a bet each way with the casting of actors of colour – It was not “colour-blind” but it also did not really engage with race in any meaningful way. I’ll leave it to others (most especially commenters of colour) to say more though as, again, as a white woman, I’d far rather listen than speak on this.
@Kaetrin: I’m also white and therefore not that comfortable discussing the colorism issue. But a Black friend of mine brought it up when we discussed the show and the context that she brought it up in was to say that although she had many, many problems with the show (the rape was the foremost of these, I think), she did not see any colorism in it. She pointed out that Adjoa Andoh (Lady Danbury) is the show’s second most prominent in the show and she is dark-skinned. Additionally there aren’t that many black characters on the show so it’s easy for me to see her point—there are so few that when you take the choice of actress for Lady Danbury into consideration it’s not a large enough sample to make a pattern.
I’m very happy with the casting of Kate as well. Not just because the actress is a WOC but also because she is a South Asian and South Asians make up a big minority group in Britain.
@Janine: Sorry – I forgot to subscribe to comments and only just remembered to come back and check. Bad Kaetrin!
I’ve heard from various Black sources that they perceived colourism in the show so I gather that for some it was problematic. I don’t know much about it so I’m trying to listen and learn (not that my opinion will ever be one to listen to on this topic but it’s good to be better educated I reckon.)