Welcome to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss Romance Comics (mostly). Giddy on the high of being given everything we ever wanted from a romance comic, we decided to venture further into Actually Good Content to celebrate our collective survival of 2020. Enter Bridgerton, aka Regency Gossip Girl, the hottest new thing on Netflix, and our first ever television edition of Romance Roundtable! Join us as we yell about our favorite tropes, throw “historical accuracy” to the wind, and marvel at how far peer sex education has come (heheh). And since this is our first time covering a very fresh new release, be warned: spoilers for the first two episodes of Bridgerton lie ahead!
Jenny: so i mean, may i just start by saying
Jenny: this was a satisfying watch
felt like a deeply niche boon, for me, personally — so was pleased to see so many people into it
Rachel: Yes!! I also loved being able to bond over a shared interest with my mom and moms everywhere
Jenny: LOVE MOMS
CC: connected to all moms thru this show
Jenny: also real quick:
talk about milf list
Jenny: a great mom! such a step up from riverdale
CC: for once, an answer to the age-old question, “where are all the parents”
Rachel: Yes!!! Good parents for once!!
And Violet was truly great
alphabetically naming your numerous children
Jenny: honestly it IS orderly and she should say it
Rachel: WOW I didn’t even realize!!!
CC: definitely helpful to me as a viewer, although I could not tell one bridgerton older brother from the others if u held me at gunpoint
Jenny: made it so much easier to keep track of all of these children
CC: I think somebody makes fun of her for it early on in episode 1 and jenny you are right, she SHOULD say it
oh I guess before we get too much farther
Ashley: oh my gosh, so much happens, actually!
CC: I’d summarize by saying we start off Bridgerton like any good regency-era period drama by introducing a bunch of fancy youths who are making their entrance into society
quickly followed by a fake dating plot
but that is admittedly a very broad brush to paint by!
Ashley: yeah! in the first ep the stage is set by introducing us to the Bridgertons – who are Good, Likable rich people – and the Featheringtons, who are Tacky, Mean rich people. both families have daughters that they are trying to get married off, although the B’s sensibly prioritize the eldest daughter, while the F’s are trying to get all 3 of their girls married off at once, i guess?
hijinks and elegant witticisms ensue
to use my degree for a minute
to dust it off and check that it isn’t too motheaten anyway
have any of y’all read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray?
Ashley: ha, yes!
Rachel: i have seen the movie which i am sure adequately captured the literary experience
CC: my main thoughts throughout these episodes and also the whole series was just
this is the level of mean regency hot takes I am here for, without thackeray’s racism and uh, all his other issues, so many other issues
the best things about vanity fair imo are 1) it has illustrations interspersed into it and 2) it is SO MEAN, gleefully mean
joanne the scammer, lives for drama mean
which was my favorite part of it
and whenever characters from bridgerton visit a location from vanity fair I would yell out “OH, IT’S THAT PLACE, FROM THAT BOOK!” to myself so thanks for the edifying knowledge, My Otherwise Pretty Underused English Degree lmao
vauxhall included, which is also the scene of some next level marriage plot intrigue in both titles
anyway that’s all I got, time to put my degree back in a box and forget about it for another 10 years lol
well speaking of degrees
i may have a bachelor’s in english and an almost meaningless “certificate” in comics studies, but i am a Doctor of Tropes, and would like to ask:
when will we stop using corsets as shorthand for “THIS IS WHEN IT SUCKED FOR (rich white) WOMEN, not before and not after, when everything was fine”
also, i have absolutely NO QUALMS with any of the rest of this show, which is perfectly delightful
Jenny: oh yeah the lack of shifts was obnoxious
as if the camera were visually delighting in the welts
but also like, what other boob support was there my dudes
Ashley: this is actually a really important question to me
Jenny: will grant though that it is oppressive for anyone to try to force their daughter’s waist down to the size of an orange and a half
CC: also weren’t corsets of the regency era a lot looser than those of the victorian era?
what with the booming popularity of empire waist garments etc?
Ashley: oh yes absolutely
imperial waists were very in
Rachel: yeah otherwise what was the point of the empire waist????
those are not flattering!! i hate them!!!
the only benefit is a loose corset!
Jenny: honestly i think the underboob waist is what managed to hide marina’s secret pregnancy
bc let’s remember: there’s a SECRET PREGNANCY!!
this show truly has it all
Ashley: wait, the pregnancy is already revealed in the first two eps? SO MUCH HAPPENS
Rachel: oh yeah should we list the tropes?
enemies to lovers
Jenny: big fake dating
CC: love this for you jenny
Jenny: thank you thank you it’s all i’ve ever wanted
Rachel: at the end of the ep, it says “this was all for you, jenny”
CC: i loved that part
direct eye contact with the screen
thank u jenny, specifically, for your patronage; this is all for you
it really felt that way!!
there’s also hidden identity, right — lady whistledown
Rachel: YES lady whistledown
i don’t know who you are, but i love you
you gossipy bitch
Ashley: voiced by julie andrews, BTW, which DELIGHTFUL
CC: GREAT use of julie here
Ashley: i believe an angel gets its wings every time julie andrews cusses
CC: is a dude getting laid out smack dab in the jaw by a smol lady a trope
if so sign me up
Jenny: a lovely moment in the garden
Rachel: this Mr Collins mf
Jenny: i hate him so much
Ashley: he is made to be loathed and i love to loathe him
tbf the satin knee breeches remark would be completely relatable if not uttered by him
i hate getting dressed up only to be Thwarted
what’s more relatable tbh???
CC: love 2 see ur enemies dress up to be thwarted tho
Jenny: but yeah no this dude sucks so much
Jenny: just the embodiment of male entitlement
by the end of the second episode, he’s already trapped our girl daphne, eldest bridgerton, into marriage
and now they have to find some way out of it!!
gotta say i love their plan so far
(have their maids gossip w his mom’s maids)
CC: oh yeah, WEAPONIZED GOSSIP
legit one of my favorite tropes of all time
Jenny: that’s it!
that’s the show!
really that IS the whole show
and also, kudos to the Good Rich People (the Bridgertons) for having a good enough relationship with their employees to make this happen
does this show have communism? no. but does it have servants giving lip to their bosses with absolutely no ill consequences? YES and i’ll TAKE IT
i think we can safely call this a subversion of the upstairs/downstairs trope specific to historical romance
Jenny: yeah i gotta say that the bridgertons (and maybe esp daphne) do display more or less ideal rich people behavior throughout the show, which like — if this is the world we have to live in, then at least we have this
oh yeah yeah good call on upstairs/downstairs
should we maybe talk about this love interest?
Jenny: he is possibly the platonic ideal of man
Ashley: REFORMED RAKE! REFORMED RAAAAAAAKE!!!!!!!!
Rachel: ANOTHER TROPE
Ashley: i live for this because i am TRASH and PROUD
CC: is he really a rake tho
not to be pedantic but
he just seems to be a regular dude who Made A Solemn Vow Never To Marry
Jenny: yeah we see him exit one brothel and that really seems to be it
Ashley: also, he has a flask, and he ALMOST unwittingly bangs his best friend’s commoner girlfriend
only realizing that he is possibly catching feelings for a Real Lady just in time to avoid this fate
CC: big tittie opera gf
Jenny: love big tittie opera gf tbh
she deserves better
Ashley: she deserves the world, fully agree
Ashley: oh yes, perfect time to call this trope: protective older brother / feckless eldest son
Jenny: she’s so great and he sucks so much
i fucking hate this guy (oldest bridgerton, starts with an A)
Rachel: so, apparently, Bridgerton book 2 is about Antony
i am really curious if they are going to do a season for each book, and thus each Bridgerton??
CC: i have my own internal list of regency tropes & “opera = promiscuity” is right up there with “vauxhall = marriage plot gone awry”
Ashley: i feel like 8 seasons would be a lot, even for shonda rhimes? but honestly what do i know
Jenny: ooh tbh i did watch ahead and def got those vibes from the finale (that season 2 would be about anthony)
CC: oh boy lol
Rachel: book 2 is called “The Viscount Who Loved Me” so
CC: LOL REALLY
Jenny: maybe it’s actually about big tittie opera gf!!!
Ashley: booooooooo i pretend i do not see it
oh well that would be better
Rachel: yeah i am playing this delicate game with my self and also with my mom and my partners mom
where i make speculations and they try not to tell me things
and in talking about book 2, i have gotten only SIGNIFICANT GLANCES and knowing nods
Jenny: love that game
Ashley: no one tell my mom about this show, please
Ashley: i told her about jane the virgin like halfway through the final season and she caught up on ALL of it in like 3 weeks!
Rachel: wow!!! that’s amazing
Ashley: she literally watched it on her commute hahaha
Jenny: gotta say though that if season 2 is about anthony, he’ll need to do better than this shit
he just sucks so much
Ashley: EW EW EW EW EW EW god i hate him!!!!!!!!
CC: “i couldn’t find anything wrong with him, except his terrible personality, HE DOESN’T EVEN BEAT HIS HORSE”
Ashley: SO older brother of him to be like, “i looked into this guy and he’s a totally normal not-rapist” and then NOT HAVE LOOKED INTO IT AT ALL
Jenny: i really hope season 2 is about him slowly and painfully wasting away from whatever the nicole kidman disease was in moulin rouge
CC: paraphrasing here to be fair
CC: look I’m worried about season 2 a little bc every time the plot starts to follow a bridgerton son, I’m just like
Ashley: oh yes, which is your least favorite brother, Dumb Jerk, Low-Rent Paul Rudd, or Fuzzy Fauxhawk?
Jenny: i mean, but what about…
Rachel: YES OK
see i only care about Colin because i care about Penelope!!!
who i love!!!
Jenny: I LOVE PENELOPE!! but to be fair, i also have a massive crush on nicola coughlan
Rachel: also she’s in Derry Girls which is great and I highly recommend
CC: i want season 2 to be all about penelope gettin it
by “it” I mean “whatever she wants”
Ashley: I LOVE Penelope but I gotta say that I’m REALLY hoping for Penelope and Eloise running off and doing a gay together
Jenny: THE DREAM
Rachel: sigh i’m sure it won’t be, but i wish
Jenny: from the very first moment
this tender “waving to your lover from across the square”
Ashley: LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
i feel seen
CC: YEAH to be honest I was STRUCK by the hetero pivot
I thought they were cannon explicitly In Love from this intro!!! rude!!!!!
Ashley: i really didn’t expect it because i do not live in reality, i guess
(the pivot that is, i fully expected lesbians)
Jenny: but honestly they are so undeniably cute together!!
Ashley: this show has already MADE HISTORY with REGENCY BARE-ASS and it can do it again with REGENCY LESBIANS!!
Rachel: i mean also it makes me think of that article someone shared a while back about how friendships were more important / almost romantic in olden times
ye olden years
Jenny: lol olden times
you mean highschool??
Rachel: LOL JENNY
i’m dead now
how could u
CC: i just looked up nicola coughlan in her other roles and ur right jenny she is a certified babe!!!!
Jenny: she’s so cute!!!
Jenny: def check out the promo stuff netflix did for bridgerton bc she’s adorable
Jenny: also! a normal age!
drop that skincare routine nicola!!
CC: yeah she’s 33!!! but playing a 14 year old or w/e
Ashley: uhhhhhhhh WOW damn!
Jenny: yeah i think she and the actress who plays eloise (second oldest bridgerton daughter) are both in their 30s, playing younger siblings, but the one who plays daphne (oldest bridgerton daugher) is younger than i am
if you can believe it
CC: I looked that up too and I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT
I was like who is this 15 year old keira knightly
Ashley: what are you talking about, no one is younger than you
CC: LOL ASHOLEY
Ashley: also CC thank YOU i totally also thought she looked like keira knightley!
Jenny: but the age of the actors aside, penelope and elosie are just so good together!!
Ashley: OH YES
WE CAN TALK ABOUT MY FAVORITE THING
which is that HILARIOUSLY, much of the plot is devoted to no one knowing about sex!!!!
Jenny: they are on a mission!
to figure out how people get pregnant so that they can make sure it never happens to them!
boy have i got some good news about lesbianism, ladies
Jenny: so much of this show’s conflict could’ve been resolved if only they had a — what was it you were CC?
sexual health ambassador?
CC: sexual health peer educator
Jenny: there’s just so much misinformation circulating that they need to be peer educated about!
Jenny: just like truly! what the fuck!
CC: I taught 8 “managing contraception” classes in 2010 and hoo boy I wish I could have brought my giant white board and plastic uterus model to both of these regency houses
Jenny: would’ve made a meaningful difference, i believe
CC: oh I just thought mom featherton was being mean and judgy LOL
Jenny: i mean, it can be both
Ashley: please remind me to bring this up again when we talk about the end of episode 5 because i HAVE QUESTIONS
about CERTAIN THINGS THAT HAPPEN
Jenny: gotta say though, i did genuinely enjoy this scene:
CC: how is babby formed
Jenny: got a laugh out of me
Ashley: “Dear younger sister, have you ever seen horse dong”
Rachel: honestly this show does make me feel both grateful for being only one of 2 siblings and also jealous of big, close knit families
Jenny: oh yeah for sure
Jenny: i mean
this really does seem nice!!
milf and all
Ashley: the real fantasy of the show tbh
CC: to have that many younger sisters
no offense younger sisters of the world
Jenny: i mean but with the caveat that you can apparently just ship some of them off to Bath to study pianoforte for the rest of the season
(that’s what happened to fran, the daughter between eloise and gregory)
Ashley: i was wondering!
there’s also Hyacinth, who seems delightful
maybe that’s the long-game for this show — an eventual hyacinth season
CC: good for the bridgerton parents
seems like they could and did get it
Jenny: oh man did they ever
there’s a part at the end of ep 2
when we’re hit with THIS absolute vibe
Jenny: when they’re talking about how their dad died JUST A FEW MONTHS before Hyacinth was born
so those parents really were getting it right up to the finish line
Ashley: wait what? has it really been that long?????????
for some reason i thought that the dad had died like right before the show started, i think because Lady Danbury and Mom Bridgerton were busting his chops for not being a responsible head of family or whatever
Jenny: oh yeah that was def confusing
Ashley: but also, Simon’s dad DID die right before the show starts, so maybe i mixed it up in my head
Jenny: maybe it was like — anthony did a fine job with all the boring accountant work up until this moment when he had to start making decisions for other people (daphne)
Ashley: ahhhhhh hmm okay
Jenny: or like, maybe he was supposed to have been married already and now daphne’s being put on the market is like a signal that he needs to hurry it up?
i’m not sure what the rules are
Rachel: i mean based on all the regency romance i’ve read, if he had died recently then the family would still be in mourning
based on Regency Romance Law
Ashley: that’s a good point
Jenny: i did really enjoy when the mom would berate him for his irresponsibility though
Ashley: both good points actually, there is a conversation about how Anthony needs to man up and wife up, causing him to dump the big tiddy opera gf
Rachel: i liked this part because even though i love opera gf, Anthony had been very disrespectful to his mother previous to this
so her coming in with the law was [chef’s kiss]
Ashley: ^ ^ ^ factual
Jenny: oh for sure! anthony sucks and i want to see everyone do it to him like this. but also this conversation leads into his dumping big tittie opera gf, but also ends up w him rushing daphne into this berbrooke engagement
CC: opera gf is too good for him
Jenny: he says this to milf, but it’s funny bc it’s actually what he is doing himself
that’s JUST good writing
Ashley: ALSO FACTUAL
Rachel: you love to see it
CC: oof I just realized that we have not really talked much about the biggest part of these two episodes
our fake dating couple!!!!!
baby keira knightly and count beefcake
Ashley: there’s so much to say i hardly know where to begin!!!!
but here’s one possible start: why does the Duke of Hastings show up to the party to begin with????????
Jenny: that’s in his intro scene w lady danbury
CC: messy duke who lives for drama
Rachel: Lady Danbury is a force to be reckoned with
Jenny: he says he doesn’t want to go to the party and she says tough titties
and he agrees to make an appearance
Ashley: has she already cooked up the Simon-Daphne match by then, you think???
Jenny: lol i hope so
but i gotta say that w simon: i very much enjoyed the introduction to his inner life/hot best friend
CC: shirtless bareknuckle boxing is the crux of male friendship
Jenny: just this barbara kruger piece??
Ashley: absolutely truthful own re: men
that scene was a little too much for me, like, you want me to believe these Old Englishes are sweaty and shirtless and NOT inflamed with desire for one another?
Rachel: an excellent point
Ashley: whenst will we fujoshi get our regency fanservice
CC: i do love the matchmaking moms tho, I feel like they are all of us in these moments
Jenny: THEY SCHEME!!
CC: consistently throughout both episodes
also love that they have their power colors that just work for them
lady danbury especially
Ashley: YES POWER COLORS
CC: that pomegranate red
Jenny: looks great, even (maybe especially) while roasting you
Ashley: THIS scene is what really truly made me fall in love with this show
Jenny: it’s a very good scene
but tbh for me it was
Ashley: OMG OMG OMG OMG
i literally cried when i figured out what song that was ahhaahaha
CC: as the least terrifying thing in any room I’m in, I appreciate this scene so much #goals
also do the other musical scenes describe what they’re a cover of?
I genuinely think they’re all covers but I don’t think they’re all labeled this way ha ha
Ashley: i think the closed captioning does say what they are
Jenny: most of the time — yeah
Ashley: but there is at least one song that’s like, legit classical music
Jenny: yeah, and i think they use the theme song too
but i think you’re right CC that they are mostly covers
but the only other one i caught was the taylor swift one in ep 6
Rachel: LOL i’m stoked to get there
Ashley: i have the memory of a goldfish apparently because i cannot provide another example but i did feel like a clever girl when i recognized the melodies
Jenny: lol i mostly failed to recognize the songs
JUSTLY DAPHNE FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THE DUKE
Jenny: a classic enemies to lovers set up
Rachel: what a meet cute
mean-cutes are the best enemies-to-lovers meet-cutes
CC: rachel….ur brain
(i have never heard “mean cutes” before so if you didn’t coin this term I’m just gonna believe you did until the end of time lol)
Ashley: it’s canon, rachel invented it
Jenny: LOL mean cutes!
personally my fave is when we get to this point
Rachel: the EYEBROW
CC: the cuff buttoning was nice
Jenny: a genius moment of fake dating performance
Ashley: “she doesn’t know he’s a duke” is the Olden Times “she doesn’t know she’s beautiful”
Jenny: REGENCY ONE DIRECTION
it’s the crossover event i need
(is this too young for y’all??)
my first intro to one direction was the article jenny wrote when she first met us
Ashley: jenny, until we were talking about one direction a couple weeks ago, i had no idea that song was by them
despite the fact that i heard it every night of my life when i worked at a fancy pizza joint in 2010
i think i thought One Direction was the name of a K drama
CC: my only memory of one direction before jenny pitched us this piece was thinkpieces about how this song was problematic bc the ouroboros of internet outrage is eternal LOL
Jenny: lol i would watch the 1D kdrama
they’ve been broken up for 5 years, but somehow i am still trash for it
i think i’ve moved on and then someone says
“she doesn’t know she’s beautiful” and i regress
Ashley: we’ve all been there
i, an Olde, feel that way about (spins giant wheel)…. Bach’s cantatas
Jenny: but tbh you know what i am also trash for?? it’s fake dating
CC: every time these two are on screen together
i’m just muttering to myself
good for you, you baby idiots
good for you
Ashley: absolute same
Jenny: i know!! they like each other!! it’s undeniable!!
Rachel: me, @ them
Jenny: before we wrap up, do we want to mention the thing that’s really stopping them from kissing?
CC: oh yeah
CC: deathbed vow
deathbed vow!!!! DEATHBED VOWWWWW
Jenny: the duke’s deathbed vow to never sire an heir!!
Ashley: omg i honestly can’t wait to talk more about this
Rachel: ok i really do love this level of petty
Jenny: i respect it so much
CC: vicariously living thru this scene
what with the bean dad discourse hitting its peak
i wish this for bean dad’s child
a solid deathbed vow scene
Rachel: CC please tweet this
i want you to be famous for this
the [BEAN] line will die with me
Ashley: i honestly have no idea what we’re shitposting about right now and i am at peace with this
good for u ashley seriously
Rachel: yeah you deserve more than this lol
we all do
CC: now that i know about bean dad…….. i will never know peace
Ashley: oh god now the knowledge of the thing i do not know will haunt me like an eldritch ghost
CC: jk the internet will forget bean dad when a new main character emerges in like one day
now that we’ve digressed into bean dad
do we want to do final thoughts??
Jenny: yeah i think it’s time
i gotta say: i have so much left over for the patreon, but my truest final thought is just that i love penelope so much
Jenny: out here with the sick burns on shitty poetry
Rachel: oh a Mom Weiss fact about Penelope!!!
Rachel: my mom told me that penelope and her sisters are forced to wear these terrible colors because their mom has terrible taste
Penelope makes a joke about it during one of the episodes but
that’s why the Featheringtons are always wearing like, bright yellow
CC: u know what
i love it
also mom featherington milf extraordinare
Jenny: LOL it’s true
Rachel: she’s got real Lillith from Sabrina vibes imo
CC: I’d wear this dress
if I had anywhere to wear it to lmao
Rachel: YES YOU WOULD
Jenny: and you’d look great
Ashley: I MEEEEEAN tbf, although those colors clash with red hair, I LIVE for the green-yellow spectrum on a gown
Rachel: totally, totally fair
CC: also thanks mom weiss for the insight!!!!
Rachel: yes!! i will continue to pass along any tidbits (hi mom!!!)
CC: ok so my final thought is
CC: lol, noted
love the level of fanservice and the commitment to fanservice above all things
Jenny: oh for sure!! that is genuinely how i felt about the boxing scene
Rachel: i feel like ever since Greta made the professor in Little Women hot, women filmmakers everywhere have really gone above and beyond to give us what we want re: the female gaze
CC: god bless
what a huge brain move tho
Ashley: what a time to be alive
CC: still thinking about hot little women professor
Jenny: lol hot little women professor walked so that hot regency duke could run
Ashley: beautiful. poetry.
my final thought is… “hehehehe… “””snuff””” ” 😎
Rachel: ahhhh i love the queen!!!
never loved a regent so much
Ashley: like 1. i get that this is how you do snuff but also 2. THAT’S COCAINE OKAY
Rachel: i mean yes, 100%
CC: it’s good to be the queen
Ashley: i love her, she rules literally and figuratively
Rachel: she’s also a messy bitch who lives for drama and i love that
Rachel: ok well here is my final thought, which isn’t mine but is something that has been living rent free in my brain since i saw it on the tl
Ashley: fuck. FUCK FUCKFUCKFUCK
Rachel: the joy this tweet brings me
Ashley: i’m having a real ron paul “it’s happening” trip in my brain right now
Rachel: well next time we’ll cover episodes 3-5!!! excited to see all the drama these kids get into!!!
Ashley: omg truly i cannot wait
CC: AND HOW
get hyped yall