Before beginning, I should issue that I do not hate the show or wish any ill will to the cast and crew or even Netflix for creating it. What I will discuss were themes and concepts that I picked up on after reflecting, once I finished watching season one. I wondered if anyone else noticed these things.
To start on an easy note, there were a few unproblematic characters of "Bridgerton" in my eyes. Number one is Eloise Bridgerton. Eloise Bridgerton could be deemed as annoying, however, her annoyance only stemmed from her wanting to uncover the true identity of Lady Whistledown and not wanting to be placed inside of societal standards for women her age. Which, I'm not going to lie, I was rooting for Eloise Bridgerton throughout her decision-making and stood behind her concepts she brought up throughout the show, thus, making her one of my favorite and least problematic characters.
Moving forward, more of my favorite and unproblematic characters from this television show are Benedict and Colin Bridgerton. Though we'll dive into Benedict's character later, these two men did not do anything problematic throughout the whole season in my opinion, which can be considered a compliment considering what all their fellow family members and community members were up to.
Jumping straight into the bigger problems I have with this show and not just focusing on the characters, the show writer, producers and the characters of "Bridgerton" are queer baiting, and that is kind of not okay.
To define queer baiting, google says, "Queerbaiting is a marketing technique for fiction and entertainment in which creators hint at, but then do not actually depict, same-sex romance or other LGBTQ representation."
The character that comes to mind is none other than Benedict Bridgerton and his relationship with Henry Granville.
Through the start of the series, it was mentioned and made obvious to the viewer that Benedict Bridgerton is different from the other Bridgertons. He's into art and is more reserved about his own passions than his family, and when he meets Henry Granville, their connection to art and each other is clear. I remember watching the art scene with their banter together and thinking, "Are they flirting?" To that, the answer is no. While Henry Granville is a gay character, he is not romantically involved with Benedict Bridgerton, despite the filmmakers and writers having led you to believe that this was a couple/pairing that would get together.
Another issue that arises from this television series is the lack of diversity. Yes, this is a series that involves colorblind casting; there is a mixture of Black and white characters together (however, when diving deeper, there are not a lot of darker skin tones of Black People, although colorism is a different topic and discussion about this show for a different day), but there are no Native Americans, no Hispanics or Latios, there were no Asians or any other POC. While colorblind casting does work well in this television series and makes it diverse in a way, there is a lot more diversity that needs to be added.
Lastly, one more problem I have with this show is something that I have picked up on through mainstream media and other television networks. SPOILERS AHEAD. Why are the plus-size characters considered to be the watchers or wallflowers of their community and are therefore the ones that really know what is going on? As you hopefully already know, Penelope Featherington is Lady Whistledown. This reveal was not as satisfying as I thought it would be. However, it got me thinking, why do plus-size characters have to be the ones that are watching and taking note of everyone? It's almost as if they are being pushed to the side and viewed as unwanted. I feel as though Penelope Featherington's character got this demotion and it was unnecessary and unneeded.
All in all, "Bridgerton" is a scripted television series that is made for pure enjoyment and not to be reviewed as a critical analysis essay as I did above. I have to say before departing, I enjoyed watching "Bridgerton," and there were moments that were fun and interesting. With that being said, my hope for next season is that these certain aspects will change or at least improve, building onto my excitement for the next season.
Now, here are some other resources by other people who share similar views on the subject matter of "Bridgerton" that more people should be more aware of.
"Race-baiting, queer-baiting, colorism, featurism, and performative diversity" by Khadija Mbowe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYPB5nJV3h8&list=LL&index=24&t=1753s
"Why I Didn't Like Bridgerton (spoiler: it's problematic)" by Luke Alexander https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySSZ72ZxZIA&t=284s
"Bridgerton: 10 Major Flaws Of The Show That Fans Choose To Ignore" by Glenna Blair