(This is basically spoiler-free.)
I am going to preface this with a couple of thoughts and prevarications.
First, I don’t think of societal impact or mission statements when I select and view most entertainment, unless that is the specific reason(s) I am viewing said content. In other words, I have the privilege of not needing to view art through a lens of exclusion, cultural appropriation, or trauma.
I am just like everyone else. I have my buttons and my biases and my pain to view the world through. By and large I choose to suspend reality and loose myself in my books and movies and television and music. I don’t tend to dissect intent and nuance and all the looming shadows behind every work of fiction. Is that a luxury? Is that a privilege? Is that willful ignorance? 40 years ago I would have stood on my righteous, youthful, passionate mountain and screamed “YES” at the top of my lungs as I waved my swords of rebellion and social justice.
Today, I am simply too tired and battle weary to summon up the energy. Today I just want a couple of hours to forget about all the shit that is destroying us. I want to turn a blind and defeated eye to anything that suspends all the inhumanity we seem so intent on drowning in. Am I privileged to be able to do that? Maybe. But I gotta tell you honestly, nothing about life here in Eden is feeling very privileged of late.
Second, I am a lover, nay, a connoisseur of romance. I defy anyone to best me when it comes to wallowing in the welling breathlessness of a longing look, a brush of fingers, a baring of souls, a risk-it-all gesture. You will lose and lose in spades. I was raised on Jane Eyre, forged by Jane Austen, and refined by Nora Roberts.
You may best me with sex, but you will never defeat me in romance.
So, therefore, Bridgerton Season Two is, in my opinion, superior to Season One.
I shall not lie. I salivated over every glimpse of the magnificence that is Rege-Jean Page. The sex scenes were hot, and it was a resounding success for what it was – a television adaption of a historical romance novel, flipped on its ear by the entertainment genius that is Shonda Rimes. But for me, the side characters made the story, beginning with the gut and heart wrenching story of the Queen and King.
You want to cut through the noise and see the REAL love story in Bridgerton? Look to the Queen as she slowly loses the man she adores, even as the King holds on to the woman he worships as his mind fades ever farther away from her. Daphne and Hastings are small, fledgling potatoes compared to that. Theirs is a lovely story, and not without pain and heartbreak. But it is the love of youth and vigor. The Queen and King are the love that endures time, circumstances, and the horrors of life. The love and loss that is conveyed just by a camera closeup of the Queen’s face is enough to have me blubbering like an idiot.
Colin and Penelope is the love that began in a childhood friendship and endures in spite of all that changes as we become adults. As young as they are, and as far away as it may seem, that bond is stronger and wider than anything Daphne and Hastings began with. And it is much more interesting and, dare I say, romantic.
So, let us discuss Anthony and Kate.
I must admit here – Anthony is my kind of romantic hero. Flawed, snarky, conflicted, damaged, horny, protective, and brought to his knees by a love he does not want but cannot deny. In other words, perfection.
Kate is my perfect heroine. Intelligent, fiercely loyal, independent, does not suffer fools, passionate, brave – everything a person should aspire to be, and a person who sees Anthony for what he truly is and loves him anyway. A person who is willing to sacrifice herself for those she loves and will do it with her head high.
These are two very different people than Daphne and Hastings. It did not take sweating and groping orgasms to make their story hot and needy and emotional. The scene with the bee sting? OMFG, if you can get through that and not be hot and bothered and swooning, you need a physical and an MRI to make sure you still have a heart.
So this is my three pence worth on Bridgerton Season Two. Some will argue the socio-cultural features (or lack thereof). Some will bemoan the lack of 15 different sexual positions you can do on a library ladder. When it comes to art, many points of view are as valid as the next. But for me, Gentle Reader, I will take the romance.
And that it has in abundance.