“How is it possible that there hasn’t been a single betrothal yet? I wish to be entertained.” We get it, Queen Charlotte, we do and we’re right there with you except we’re asking how it’s possible that it took this long for romance novels to get the rightful attention that they deserve.
Repeat after us: change is good—change is necessary. There might never come a time where the romance genre isn’t frowned upon by literature purists or art house film aficionados in the cinematic world, but we’re going to continue praising it. As I’ve had to justify my genre of choice multiple times sitting in my literature courses during my master’s program, I’m doing it here, too I suppose. Respect change. Don’t be hesitant to appreciate beautiful things just because the history you’re used to looked different.
It’s cool to hate the Star Wars prequels and be completely dismissive of the stories they tell. No, they aren’t my favorites, but guess what, they are somebody’s. And here’s a thought, you don’t have to accept canon if you don’t want to, shocking I know. But maybe, just maybe, we could stop being so dismissive of things we don’t particularly like and deeming them less than. Blockbuster hit superhero films are just as valid in the world of cinema as single-shot dramas. I firmly believe BBC’s 2009 Emma starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller is the superior of all Austen adaptations and I’ll constantly find ways to weave it into conversation, but guess what, 2020 Emma is also delight, and if you are willing to stop watching things through a singular lens you’d enjoy it too.
Julia Quinn’s novels, especially the Bridgerton series are lush, hilariously captivating stories, and if you let yourself, you’d love them. If this 19th century “Austen is her queen self proclaimed snob” could bow down to Quinn’s incredible work then so could you.
Bridgerton is coming in less than one week now, and it’s going to be extravagant, luscious, vulnerable, and beautifully inclusive. Again, let it be known, I’m an Austen, period drama snob, a Literature major who thrives off of 19th century, but Bridgerton is a treasure and I kinda, really feel like Austen would agree. (Want to talk about Box Hill and what really happened there according to history?) Bridgerton’s inclusive cast where Black men and women get to thrive is long overdo. And quite frankly, I never want to see an all-white cast again with the lazy rhetoric defending historical accuracy. (Is this the right time to say that Jesus wasn’t white either?!) Bridgerton’s costume designer Ellen Mirojnick has done an exemplary job in creating beautiful costumes even when they’re supposed to be gaudy.
Bridgerton will feature beautiful, gut wrenching and sexy love stories, and the elaborate rouses will be a quick obsession for many. And sure certain things pertaining to the times might piss us off in 2020, but this is a series with tremendous heart. It’s a series that’s anchored in both platonic and romantic love. It’s a series where happy endings are possible for all.
We aren’t here to make comparisons, but we’re here to say that Bridgerton is based off of some incredibly beautiful books that tell the kind of stories that uplift women. (We especially can’t wait for book two and four!) Bridgerton is about men falling hard and women being sensational. Bridgerton is a series written by a hilarious woman (Quinn) who’s great at establishing tone, multifaceted characters, and some achingly vulnerable love stories. We’re not going to stop praising it, and neither should you. This is only the beginning–Shondaland adapting a series likes this sets the groundwork for more 19th century romance novel adaptations and we’re here for it. It’s about time beautiful series written by women get the kind of grand adaptations they deserve, and it’s about time they be this inclusive.
We’ll be covering Bridgerton weekly with episode by episode reviews, podcasts, and more. Netflix might let us binge it all at once, but we’re going to be talking about it long after Christmas day. Check back in for analyses and gushing.