Illustration by Kincaid DeBell

Bridgerton lives up to initial hype

The Netflix Original series “Bridgerton” released its second season on March 25, focusing once again on the fictional Bridgerton children and their journey to find love. This season’s protagonist was Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest child and the head of the family. After being spurned by his secret lover in the first season, he begins the season with nare a hint at hoping to fall in love and seeks a wife only to fulfill his duty to his family. Instead, he discovers how a simple look can say a thousand words.

Kate Sharma, Anthony’s love interest, comes from a complex and heart wrenching background. Like Anthony, she is an eldest child who lives for her family, and rarely takes anything, or anyone, for herself. Both her journey throughout this season and her self reflection on her feelings for Anthony, allow viewers to dive into the complexities of the torn mind. It opens the door to the battle between the head and heart, the duty and self.

Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes was very excited to include actress Simone Ashley in the cast, not only for her incredible acting skills, but to continue to maintain as diverse a cast as they did in season one.

“Finding South Asian women with darker skin and making sure that they were represented on screen authentically and truthfully feels like something that we haven’t seen nearly enough of,” Rhimes said in an interview with Netflix. “I felt like it was time for us to make sure that we were seeing as much as possible.” 

This season, unlike the last, focuses on the more subtle intimacies of love, rather than the more explicit scenes the series was known for during the first season. For many viewers, this was a refreshing change that allowed them to experience a  new version of love and intimacy on the screen.

Jonathan Bailey, the actor who plays Anthony, was asked about the lack of sex scenes in his season, compared to the many scenes acted out by costars, Phoebe Dynevor and Regé Jean-Page, in the first season. 

“What you lose in sex scenes you gain in a deeper human understanding, which hopefully enriches the world so that the future intimacy scenes won’t be the heavy feature, and won’t have to lean on them as much,” Bailey said in an interview with Tom Murray. 

For many years, on-screen depictions of love, and the intimacies that go alongside it, have focused primarily on sex. Women have been fetishized for their bodies rather than appreciated for their intellect, and countless movies and shows have profited from this. While the “Bridgerton” series is no stranger to this portrayal, season two takes a remarkable new approach. The emphasis on eye contact, challenging the status quo, witty conversation, and the true, realistic, ugly fear of losing someone all come into play this season. The viewers see  Anthony at his lowest and finally get to witness the barriers of toxic masculinity broken down by both heartbreak and hope for the future.

Without introducing any spoilers to those who have yet to watch the new season, I would note that foreshadowing and minor details will play an extremely important role in this season’s progression. Rhimes greatly looks forward to how the public will react to Anthony and Kate’s relationship as it progresses throughout the season.

“There’s something wonderful about taking the concept of the untamable woman and turning her into a real, three dimensional woman — versus the way you’ve seen her be portrayed by men in the past,” Rhimes said in an interview with TMC. “Kate feels very much like a woman of her own mind, … Anthony feels like he is a man struggling to stay within the bounds of what society has laid for him — but he can’t do that with Kate around. It’s exciting.”

If you wish to be thrown into the woes and complications of high society and analyze the tantalizing season for yourself, check out the second season of Netflix’s “Bridgerton.”

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