Netflix series Bridgerton captures the fancy of millions, including that of the OH students and staff

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The first season of Netflix’s Bridgerton follows the romance of the Duke of Hastings Simon Basset (Rege-Jean Page) and Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor).

On Christmas Day last year, the British drama Bridgerton premiered on Netflix capturing the eyes of millions with its unique plot and period setting. Of the 200 million Netflix subscribers, 40 percent gave this new show a chance and most were instantly hooked.

Written by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton was originally published as an 11-part romantic drama book series that Sonda Rhimes worked into her first scripted Netflix series. Bridgerton, which rose to the number one Netflix show in 83 countries, is the latest in a long line of wildly successful Netflix shows that have debuted in the last year despite the fact that the television industry has struggled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Set in early 19th century England, Daphne Bridgerton, the popular and respected Bridgerton family’s eldest daughter, renders her debut on the diverse Regency London marriage market. Daphne’s chances seem to be peerless at first, as she hopes to follow in her parents’ footsteps and find a true love match. Daphne falls for Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings. Bridgerton’s first season focuses on their relationship and the effect it has on their families, colleagues, gossipmongers, and well-wishers.

What is it about this British tale that has caught the “fancy” of audiences including many of the Olympic Heights students and staff? Well, the intriguing plotline, characters, and the period setting of the show is very appealing to many.

OH English teacher Ms. DeAnna Allen has watched the show and fell in love with it. One aspect of the show Allen appreciates is that “there is no separation of races. It’s almost as if the characters see no color.” Allen also appreciates the backstory of how the mixing of races came to be during the time period of the show as Daphne Bridgerton is white and Simon Basset is black. “It shows us that we can love each other regardless of background and race-love and humanity is what unites us,” Allen comments.

Even though many are eager for the second season of Bridgerton, currently in production with an early 2022 expected release date, Allen is not. “I did not feel a longing to want more. I got the feeling that everyone will live “happily ever after,” Allen explains. She believes it would actually be a bad idea to have a second as the show ended with “all the books perfectly aligned on the shelf.”

The OH students who have watched the show adore it. OH junior Makayla Lewis explains that her favorite part of the show was “how the characters look at each other and how they feel towards one another even though they don’t want to feel a certain way.” She likes the “forbidden love” aspect that permeates the show’s plotline.

OH junior Riley Towbin was drawn to Bridgerton because she really enjoys historical romances. Towbin explains how she is “really looking forward to seeing how the  characters develop, specifically what happens to Penelope.” Towbin feels Penelope Featherington is the most interesting character because of how she is at first perceived as sweet and innocent but then turns ruthless. And Towbin explains that she loved “the beginning of the show when Daphne and Simon are first falling in love. It’s very corny, but I still appreciate the connection and sparks between them.”

OH sophomore Olivia Scheichet explains how she liked how the show took turns that no one would expect. In fact, Scheichet loved the show so much, she watched the entire first season in just one day.

OH junior Nicole Gigliotti has similar feelings on the show as Scheichet, explaining how she “enjoyed the suspense that came with each episode and the many different plot twists.” This is what kept audiences on the edge of their seats and wanting more. The suspense in each episode has viewers staying up for one more episode, or as in Scheichet’s case, watching it all in one day. 

Gigliotti also “enjoyed the elaborate costumes that portrayed the old-fashioned theme.” This is another key factor in why people are so obsessed with the show. The whole historical English vibe the show carries has a growing appeal with American viewers. 

In fact, the show has inspired a comeback trend of corset wearing. Corsets have been a part of the fashion world for many years and are now making their way back onto the fashion scene. The corset hasn’t always represented what it does now: a means of liberation, with women wearing it to flaunt or hide their bodies on their own terms. Throughout history, the corset was an essential undergarment for a woman’s daily attire but is now worn as a trendy top coming with numerous designs and different ways to wear it. 

Having captured the imagination of so many, both young and old, Bridgerton has rightfully earned its popularity. The show provides an incredible escape for audiences at a time where that’s exactly what’s needed. Chris Van Dusen, Grey’s Anatomy collaborator with Shonda Rhimes, explains, ‘“Bridgerton is this lavish, vibrant, steamy Regency love story; [that] is about romance, love, and joy; I think all of those things are really universal themes people are responding to.”’ 

With its second season in production, Bridgerton will continue its theme of love and romance. However, if the show’s plot follows that of the books on which it is based, it will be focusing on a different Bridgerton sibling. Bridgerton fans will just have to wait and see.

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