Bridgerton Discussion Space: Not My Thing, But Still Worth Talking About!

I did it! I skipped around and read recaps and went into another room to do dishes and answered work emails and more or less watched the whole season. And now I am ready to talk.

Plot Summary:

Anthony Bridgerton, oldest son of the family, feels a responsibility to marry a nice pretty intelligent woman to raise his heirs, but he is not looking for love because he saw how much his mother was hurt after his father (her true love) died. Kate is looking for a nice man who will be a good match for her sweet young sister Edwina. At first Kate and Anthony sparr because she is trying to keep him away from Edwina. Then they semi-acknowledge their enormous physical attraction for each other, and how that could be an impediment to an Edwina engagement since Anthony would be distracted by Kate. Then after Kate insists she will leave the country after the wedding and she feels nothing for Anthony, he proposes to Edwina. The tension continues until at the wedding itself, Edwina sees what is happening between them and stops the ceremony. Anthony and Kate kiss, then pretend it didn’t happen and focus on containing the scandal around the canceled wedding for both their families. Until they are alone together again and have sex in a garden. The next morning, Anthony goes to propose to Kate and instead finds her after a riding accident. She is in a coma for a week, wakes up to find Edwina has forgiven her and tells her to just go out and be happy for herself. At the same time, Anthony talks to his mother and gets advice to risk it all for love, even if it means pain later. He finally proposes and Kate accepts. Happy Honeymoon Sex Ending.

If it feels like that plot was chugging along for the first few sentences and then went INSANE, you are correct. Definitely way too many stupid STUPIDITY about Kate and Anthony not getting together. Yes, at first he was courting her sister and she had never thought of marriage for herself. But by the time they are almost kissing in the middle of the night in the library, this is clearly a MAJOR problem which they seem to be acknowledging and then, weirdly, pretending like it won’t be a problem.

I don’t love the book, as I’ve said, but at least the book thought things through a little better. Most importantly, I know that Kate and Anthony got together and the whole Edwina courtship was set aside well before the end of the book. Because only idiots would have these big powerful moments together and keep up the pretense of the Edwina courtship.

The book also did not have a lot of stupid confusing plot randomness, like Edwina having to marry well in order to insure an inheritance for her mother. That’s just, like, pointless! What was wrong with simply having Edwina being a dreamy girl who wants a happy marriage and her sister wanting to give that to her? The inheritance thing is way too complicated and adds a nasty edge to their sister relationship.

Keep it simple! Man thinks he wants a simple biddable wife, finds himself in love with her strong sister instead. Woman thinks she isn’t made for marriage because she is too strong, finds out that what she wants is a man who challenges her.

The parts of the show that drew on that thread absolutely sang. The chemistry was over the top between the two of them, and the way Simone Ashley played her strong but fragile character was mesmerizing. But by halfway through the season, even all of that good could not overcome the STUPID.

And it didn’t have to be stupid! So long as you are messing with plots, put in some good old-fashioned blackmail, someone who is forcing Anthony to marry Edwina or vice versa. Or change it altogether, have Anthony and Edwina be engaged before Kate even shows up, so then their guilt and tension makes sense. Or have Anthony and Kate be engaged without admitting they love each other which, I think, is what happened in the book? I remember there being some kind of tension over them agreeing to the engagement but resisting admitting their feelings. Which makes a heck of a lot more sense than admitting their feelings but resisting an engagement!

Anyway, desi stuff! That was actually really well-done by not being overdone. There is a tiny Haldi ceremony between the 3 women. There is a moment when you see Kate giving Edwina an oil head massage. There is discussion of how they lived in Bombay and before that her father was the secretary for a royal family. I was hoping there would be something I could pick apart as being culturally significant, but no. It was just an appropriate small part of their family background.

But yeah, first third of so of the story was good, and remaining two thirds were just a bunch of people acting dumb and heavy breathing.

What did you think?

36 thoughts on “Bridgerton Discussion Space: Not My Thing, But Still Worth Talking About!

  1. Ugh, I agree with you that it’s totally stupid…but I’ve watched it 2.5 times already 😦 I hated the first season (so terrible), but this was better??

    It does drag on – I think a bit more of Kate’s issues being touched on would have rounded out the story well. Instead, it was just Lady Bridgerton and Daphne being constantly worried over Anthony, repeating similar dialogs.

    I don’t usually discuss whether a character is “good” or not with terms of morality, so I’ll refrain from doing that here, but they SHOULD be more complexly built! But I guess that’s not the point. Most of them are rather one-note.

    The Edwina courtship part…I agree and disagree with you. What I got, on thinking it over, was that at first there was nothing TO admit, they truly did hate each other. And when something was there, it was too late (in their opinions) – the Sharmas were at the home, Edwina was expecting a proposal, and it’s not unreasonable to think that the, well, horniness would die down (I admit I break the cardinal rule of every romance novel/series by always thinking, “it’s just sex.” Seriously, Kate and Anthony could have had a terrible OR a disastrous marriage. Edwina and Anthony’s could have happy as well!). Then it kept getting worse – Edwina DID fall in love and the wedding was moved up and the feelings (read: Sex) weren’t going away. So it did add stakes.

    I liked the inheritance plot! Money is usually so easily ignored in the show, this also added some stakes. I can see why it would be unnecessary, but I like it – money is REAL, love and sex is a bit more floofy – and that seems to be a conflict within the characters as well.

    And the K3G cover made me swoon.

    The part I didn’t get was…why was Edwina mad at Kate like she’d betrayed her after the almost-wedding? She was willing to let you get married to the guy you liked!! She didn’t betray you! Because the arguments were not so much about agency (how could you keep this from me?), but about something else entirely?? Which I didn’t seem to get.

    Also, I kept waiting for a Mujhse Dosti Karogi-esque scene with the sindoor blowing into Kate’s hair but ah well.

    I have some other thoughts…but this has gone on long enough whoops!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I found the reasons why Anthony and Kate won’t get together funny … It didn’t annoy me as much as made me laugh. Agree with you that the inheritance part didn’t make sense, although now that I know it wasn’t in the book, it makes even less sense. 😀

    But I really enjoyed the dialogues! Thought them strong (when not talking about love) and found myself smiling along with the younger Bridgetons and Penelope! Also really liked Anthony’s younger sister (as a character and an actor).

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    • Also did anyone think that the actors Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley share the same-ish face cuts as Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina from the Mindy Project? I found myself being reminded of the latter couple!!

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      • Did not notice that at all, but now that you say it, you are absolutely right!

        On Tue, Mar 29, 2022 at 11:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • It’s definitely still a fun watch, even with plot holes. Although I got bored during some bits and fastforwarded and stuff, it’s on the whole well-written and pretty and engaging and all those things.

      On Tue, Mar 29, 2022 at 10:40 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Yup, too much stupid stupidity! It was so frustrating that the show kept insisting these two can’t get together and I’m like why? I’m seeing reactions of people whose tastes tend to align with mine, saying they loved the angst, but for me there has to be strong reasons for the angst to be there in the first place. I’ve tried to remove comparisons with the book in figuring out the problems I had with the show because it’s not fair to either. But man it’s not a good look when a romance novel has the better plot! However, Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley are so good, their chemistry is scorching, they sold me things above and beyond what was given to them, I love them!

    My issues:
    1) I like that you cut out all the side-plots, wish I could do that in reality. Nothing against the actors, but do we need to see so much of Featheringtons? Penelope, Eloise, Colin will all get their own stories, it seems unfair we get so much of them at the cost of the main couple.
    2) The mother figures angered me. After all that insistence last season on finding love and literally pushing the leads together when they saw a spark between them, this time they are actively trying to keep the couple apart. Danbury flip-flops between telling Kate to own up to her feelings and admonishing her when she acts on them. Violet is all for Anthony finding love, then asking to suppress what he feels for Kate, then at the end telling him not to give up on her, but the circumstances haven’t changed. It would still be a ‘scandal’! Mary herself caused the biggest scandal by choosing love over rank, she should be the first one telling Kate not to worry about such things. Their reaction in that scene where they are planning on how to keep Kanthony apart while he is literally sniffing her in front of them is hilariously comical. It’s inconsistent with how they’ve built up these strong women characters. I just don’t believe these women would care about scandal over and above helping their children/ward.
    3) Having the money angle was fine. But it could be easily solved if you’re marrying a Bridgerton. Like Edwina said, Anthony would take care of them financially after he marries her. The same would apply for if he marries Kate. And Danbury, who has known the Bridgertons forever, should be the first one to reassure Kate about that, instead of all the nonsense about denying her feelings.
    4) They sold us on the physical attraction between Kate-Anthony (mostly due to the actors) but gave us almost no emotional connection. They never have a normal conversation, all of them are angsty and fraught with tension. Like they literally went from enemies to lovers with nothing in between. That’s one aspect season 1 did better. And the source material is right there; they could have bonded over their similar positions in family, trauma, responsibilities, but we get none of that. I had to fill in their backstories from the book.
    5) Making the sisters love-rivals, ugh! I get the need to create drama, and having two sisters get along perfectly well, never competing for a man, does not make for tv drama. But the way it played out sucks. The fact that it took Edwina getting to the altar to realize what’s going on between them makes her look foolish. She should’ve realized it earlier. I hated that the writers made her a victim with the moral high-ground and righteous anger, at the cost of making Kate and Anthony look guilty and manipulative. I hate that from then on Kate had to be at the mercy of Edwina’s forgiveness. Edwina could’ve had all her character growth without making Kate feel like a complete heel.
    6) The resolution. It took Kate having an accident for everyone to just forgive her and give their blessing to Kate and Anthony’s relationship, huh? Again, the external circumstances didn’t change, people just decided not to care about society’s opinions! What was stopping them earlier? We don’t get the catharsis of Kate and Anthony overcoming an obstacle to come together. It’s just lazy writing.

    I’ll write about the positive aspects later, because I did love quite a few things. I just needed to rant first!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oof I agree with this so much, especially the mothers!! Not the money thing exactly (Kate has a good point, Edwina would then feel compelled to marry Anthony) or the side characters always ( I like them! And it’s nice to follow them before their turn comes!).

      I’ve just replaced our modern idea of romance with the P&P version. They have similar values. Interests, and senses of humor, which is enough for marriage. Some conversations are enough, but yes!! Needed more talking!

      The deus ex machina at the end both annoys me and also annoys me with the fact that it seems to work on me. Of course when someone nearly dies, priorities shift and the truth (Kate owing Mary etc) comes out, but it’s still irritating af that this couldn’t have been resolved any other way. It does help though that Anthony was going to propose already. But still!

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      • Except he was going to propose out of duty! Well, duty and secret desire. Which I actually find really interesting, I would have much more enjoyed a version where he did propose, and her family guilted her into accepting, and then they had to work out their angst together in a fully socially acceptable way. Which goes to your other point, why couldn’t this be a show about how sexual attraction forced these two people together and then they ended up building a real bond?

        On Wed, Mar 30, 2022 at 12:14 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • So I didn’t think he was proposing out of duty! I think he was thinking “Enough is enough, we did the sexy-times thing, we are clearly into each other, screw everyone else, let’s get married.” It was more of Kate misunderstanding what his intentions are and he didn’t get why she said no and she didn’t get why he was proposing with their overall awkwardness.

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          • Again, awesome direction the show could have taken was him reaching that point halfway through the season, and then actively aggressively pursuing her while she avoided him because she thought it was just “duty”. Can you imagine? If all the tricks he did to spend time with Edwina were used to spend time with Kate?

            On Wed, Mar 30, 2022 at 11:52 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • The money angle is fine, but it didn’t have to such a big thing that it was driving everything. Danbury had to know Anthony would take care of the family whether he married Kate or Edwina.

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    • Yes to the mother issues and also to the sister rivalry!!!! Again, the first third works for me, Edwina is just getting to know Anthony, Kate and Anthony are thrown together because of it, the mother figures are counseling keeping options open and moving more slowly. But then all of a sudden it turns into “they HAVE to get engaged!!!!” and then “they HAVE to get married!!!!” and finally “Kate and Anthony can never be together!!!!” But, why? It makes all the characters look foolish and weird. Daphne is the only one with a logical response, which I also don’t like, because it feels like throwing a bone to fans of her character from the first season, “See? Daphne is back! And she’s super wise and perfect!”

      Can you remind me how the Edwina plot plays out in the book? I remember that she doesn’t fall in love with Anthony and in fact prefers someone else, but I don’t remember the details.

      On Tue, Mar 29, 2022 at 11:15 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I too don’t remember all the details because I wisely decided not to read the book again before watching. Edwina likes Anthony well enough to consider Anthony as a suitor along with other men. She was never interested in him romantically because it’s later revealed she was actually corresponding with a scholar all along, whom she eventually marries. By the time Kate and Anthony have to get married halfway through the book, both Mary and Edwina can already see their attraction developing and try to encourage Kate.

        I liked Daphne, maybe even better than season 1, because she was the only one pushing Anthony hard enough, otherwise he just rides roughshod over everyone else. But ideally, it should have been his mother.

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      • Anthony takes a little more time in the book to fully decide on Edwina as his intended. Which allows her to stay a little more indifferent, thinking that he might like books well enough if no true scholar comes along. Plus, in the book she knows that at least one of the girls needs to marry well to save the family finances, an Edwina‘s the one with all the suitors. But it’s Kate who’s passionate about Anthony – if at first about trying to keep him away from Edwina.

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        • And then he switches to Kate about halfway through, yes? I remember being irritated by the set-up of him going after the sister, and then pleasently surprised by how quickly that is set aside.

          On Wed, Mar 30, 2022 at 2:35 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yeah, the bee sting is when they’re caught in a compromising situation and have to get married.

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  4. I agree with Saira that Eloise is the best part of the show.
    Kate lost major sympathy points for actually being in competition to her sister. Even though I never understood what this version of Edwina really wants.
    Anthony seemed a total entitled jerk when they didn’t introduce his bee backstory until the third episode – and then pretty soon the stupid stupidity started. And yes, that very much reminded me of MDK in parts, townsandtulips. The broken bangle was pretty much a poor man’s magical sindoor.
    The other Indian touches – well, they didn’t manage to make the characters any different from the other prim and proper gentlefolk of the show. Though I found the use of the K3G music an interesting inside joke: I think to recognize the intro to the title song, you need to have listened to the soundtrack several times, not just seen the movie once or twice.

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    • It’s definitely K3G, but I only know it because someone on the blog told me to look for it so I was.

      On Wed, Mar 30, 2022 at 6:14 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh, I guess I wasn’t clear enough: I meant that you need to know the K3G soundtrack really well. Which means that it’s a nugget for actual Indians or super devoted fans like us. We’ll, and those who read the CC subtitles.

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  5. Despite all my complaints I enjoyed the show a lot. The acting is all around excellent. Jonathan Bailey is the perfect tortured romantic hero. I love how he played Anthony as carrying a lot of suppressed tension who only truly relaxes and genuinely smiles around Kate. I loved those small moments of stolen smiles, like he can’t help himself! It should be a given, but I hope people realize good actors can play any role regardless of their orientation. Simone and Charithra played their roles so well. I have to say it was simultaneously joyful to see dark-skinned Indian women being presented in all their glory and depressing that Indian industry has yet to do that. I wanted all of Kate’s dresses – the colors, fabrics, sub-continental motifs were so gorgeous. I loved the sleeves with two overlapping fabrics on most of the women. I found it funny that the Sharmas were a mish-mash of Indian identities – The North Indian Sharma, Tamil Appa for father, fluent in Marathi, Bengali Bon for younger sister. Didi was the cutest though! I loved Mama Featherington’s flirtation with the cousin, as bad as they both are I was rooting for them. Most of the Bridgerton family interactions were fun to watch. The highlight was the dance with the Sharmas – so free and joyous. Anthony calling Hyacinth to dance, picking her up and twirling her was such a great scene. I’m looking forward to future seasons, I just won’t expect them to follow anything from the books from now on!

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    • That’s where Bon comes from!! I kept assuming it came from the French bonbon, as in Edwina was sweet. Kept waiting for them to discuss the origin story of that, whoops. Makes sense.

      And yes! Many complaints, but I did love it, which I did not expect to, especially since I absolutely disliked the last season. Yay, now where’s season threeee.

      The one I’m interested in is Pen/Colin. How will they work this out, it seems almost impossible!

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      • I was confused for a moment because she says bon like in bonbon, when it’s actually pronounced like ‘bone’!

        I’ve read till Benedict’s story, and I’m wondering if there’s any point in reading further since I expect them to change everything.

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        • There may not be a point in reading further for the show, but it’s a fun series overall! I also like her Smith-Smythe series. And if you want a hint, we’ve already met Eloise’s future husband.

          On Wed, Mar 30, 2022 at 7:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh I know who everyone ends up with! There are also rumors they may change some pairings or genders and the order in which stories are told.

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  6. I got to the bee sting episode, in a day, and then spouse joined and well, Bridgerton isn’t his cup of tea. So instead spouse and I watched Inventing Anna, put together by the same woman/team which even had one of the same actors (the feather-something cousin is the reporter’s husband) – I gotta say whatever you think of the plot these shows are filled GREAT actors.

    I really like the actress playing Kate. I hate Anthony’s character, but I love his sexual tension with Kate. Maybe I’ll be able to finish the series next week.

    I haven’t read the books and probably wouldn’t like them – boudice rippers aren’t my cup of tea. But the overly lush bright & multi-cultural world created in Bridgerton the TV series IS my cup of tea. I enjoyed season one even though I thought the much talked about sex scenes were not actually that hot. Maybe I’ve seen too many Indian films, I often find kisses sexier than sex.

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    • I was trying to explain how the multiculturalism works to my friend while we were watching ’83 (sooooooooooo booooooooooooring) and I think I figured it out. It’s not race blind, it’s just taking today’s racial attitudes and applying them to the past. Which is a really interesting way to handle things. You don’t have to have an all white cast, and you also don’t pretend racism doesn’t exist, you just imagine a world that reached our point of racism much sooner. Where mixed marriages are common, and no one is openly racist (especially in the upper class) but there is still a very subtle awareness of background and skin color.

      On Thu, Mar 31, 2022 at 2:56 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I was thinking what a great actor the younger jack featherington was as he was SO DIFFERENT from the Inventing Anna husband – and so I actually looked it up, and they are two different people, who look very similar.

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  7. I can’t help but compare the show with the book. And I feel like much of the awkwardness could have been averted if they’d dared to actually make their heroine the less objectively pretty of the sisters. Maybe that doesn’t work in a visual medium, I really don’t know.
    And yes, it would have diminished the queen‘s agency in choosing Edwina as her diamond. But it also would have meant that we didn’t need the Sheffield inheritance to explain why it’s Edwina who is expected to marry first. (Depriving us of the obligatory Anthony Head appearance, it is true.) Kate would have had nothing to keep from her (initially), Edwina wouldn’t have been primed for a pure love match, thus no actual romantic competition between the sisters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Sheffield inheritance is so clumsy!!!! I don’t get why they needed that whole elaborate story instead of just “pretty sister, plain sister, obviously pretty sister is where all the gamble goes for a good match”.

      It must have been on purpose that the actress playing Kate was presented as darker skinned than Edwina, but maybe the show should have acknowledged that more openly? That skin tone prejudice is why Edwina is supposed to be so much “prettier” and Kate so unacceptable?

      On Thu, Mar 31, 2022 at 7:24 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. I just love this season. You can call the plot silly, but I almost see it as Mujhse Dosti Karoge made into the Bridgerton universe (bangle/sindoor scene included). The chemistry between Kate and Anthony did it for me. I just ate this season up. Yes, it has mistakes, not excusing them for their shoddy research. But I just love how great this was and enjoyed it all the way through!

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  9. Question about Indian marriage traditions – Why didn’t any of the Bridgerton women join in the smearing of yellow goop on Edwina the night before her wedding (that almost was)?

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