Nicola Coughlan defends Bridgerton’s diversity: look at our streaming numbers

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The viewing numbers for Bridgerton are here and over 63 million households have tuned in. Bridgerton is also the fifth most streamed Netflix original series of all time. To be fair, I and a few of my Twitter followers make up about 50 million of those streaming numbers. As an infuriating aside, Bridgerton has a lot of racists clutching their pearls. Many folks has taken to Twitter to whine about the diversity of Bridgerton, claiming diversity in period drama doesn’t work. Of course most of these people making these statements don’t know history. There were several BIPOC in positions of power in the British, Italian and Russian aristocracy circles during that time period. But I don’t need to tell you that because the Bridgerton numbers prove these idiots wrong. Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington on Bridgerton, also defended Bridgerton’s diversity. Nicola stated that the numbers prove that people obviously “appreciate the diversity and inclusion on screen.” Below are a few excerpts from her tweets via Hollywood Life:

“You know the way some people were like ‘Diversity in period drama doesn’t work’….63 million households thought it did tho so,” she tweeted adding a skull emoji.

Doubling down on her response, Nicola even retweeted a January 4 statistic from the Netflix Queue account, which read, “In its first four weeks, Bridgerton is projected to court more than 63 million households, which would make it Netflix’s fifth biggest original series launched to date.” Of course, Nicola wasn’t quite done with her brilliant retort.

“Remember people were trying to downvote the show on IMDB cos it was so diverse?” Nicola added to her thread. “You can’t downvote us being [Netflix’s] fifth biggest original release ever,” she proudly said. Nicola received a ton of support from fans, with some saying the show has become a total “game changer,” and some revealing how much they “appreciate” seeing such diversity and inclusion on screen!

[From Hollywood Life]

I love how Nicola came for these people with facts and would not let up. The fact that these people were trying to downvote the show on IMDB because it has BIPOC in it is pathetic. It would seem that many of these racists only want to see period dramas with white faces and if there are any black or brown people they must be in subservient roles. Fortunately, Shonda and her people don’t have this sort of mindset and that is one of the reasons why her shows succeed. Shondaland has proven that people want to see representations of themselves that are not just about their struggle or the violence perpetrated on them. And I believe many white people also want to see stories with BIPOC that don’t depict them as the aggressor or in some white utopia. People want uplifting shows with a diverse cast. And Netflix is a platform for that. The era of white washing history is quickly coming to a close. So the racists can stay mad.

I personally enjoyed the diversity in Bridgerton because it is never seen in period dramas. I love that Bridgerton also depicted Queen Charlotte more accurately than other shows or movies from that time period. Often Queen Charlotte is depicted as a purely white European queen despite historical evidence to the contrary. Honestly, I do not think I would have been so into Bridgerton if it was an entirely white cast. For me the draw was the diversity and it would seem that the 63 million other households and Nicola felt the same too.

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photos credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix press

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115 Responses to “Nicola Coughlan defends Bridgerton’s diversity: look at our streaming numbers”

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  1. Kim says:

    People still can’t get past skin colour and connect with a character? No surprise there.
    On a lighter note, I was wondering why Nicola Sturgeon was tagged in this post? 😏

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      The phenomenal talent and great acting is all I see. If people are upset about non white people acting in historical privileged roles, imagine how they must feel about such people in real life. I say bring it on and brava Nicola for speaking out.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      I think all these things should be remade to include BIPOC – Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice
      Re do them all.
      Making tv reflect our reality will help flush out salty racists and change minds unconsciously

  2. GoldenGirl14 says:

    I don’t generally watch period dramas and specifically watched Bridgerton because of the diversity. As a black woman I was interested in seeing how it would be handled. Episode 4 briefly discusses this world and how the diversity came to play and I think the diversity of the show allows it to go into so many different avenues. I had a lot of fun watching the series and can’t wait to see more.

    • Michelle says:

      Agree that I’m so interested to see how the diversity plays out in the Bridgerton world. It sounds like they have racism and politics to deal with as well (but love conquers all!).

  3. Rmcgrudiva says:

    I love any and all photos of Lady Danbury – her face mesmerizes me.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      She is awesome, isn’t she? This is my favourite speech of hers:
      “When I was a girl some centuries ago,I was afraid even of my own reflection,
      I entered a room and attempted to dissolve into the shadows,
      But there is only so long one in a position such as ours can hide.
      I knew I would have to step into the light some day and I could not very well be frightened.
      So instead, I made myself FRIGH-TEN-NING.
      I sharpened my wit, my wardrobe, and my eye and I made myself the most terrifying creature in any room I entered.”
      The actress who plays her, Adjoa Andoh is just superb!

    • Mac says:

      She is very beautiful.

    • Seraphina says:

      Lady Danbury and the Queen, bravo to both actresses.

    • Emm says:

      Ugh, agreed. I’m only on episode four but I’m obsessed. I’m a historical drama junky though and this is exactly the type of delicious binge worthy not too serious show I need right now. I have all my kids at home now though so not binging unfortunately. I also agree that I don’t think I would be THIS into it if there wasn’t such a diverse beautiful cast.

    • coffee_coffee_coffee says:

      An amazing actress, I was mesmerized!

  4. Cee says:

    People are idiots. Life is full of diversity so why shouldn’t the arts portray that?
    Does a black duke really infurate you? Go to therapy.
    Bridgerton should adopt Meghan cause the shit they’re getting is the shit she’s been getting for the past 3 years.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I will admit I am very stupid so do not pile-in on me. In BIPOC what does the BI stand for. I just want to get this right. Sorry for my ignorance.

      • Aven Sharp says:

        Black,
        Indigenous,
        People
        Of
        Color

      • MarcelMarcel says:

        @baytampabay I literally thought the acronym meant Bisexual People of Colour* until a friend gently corrected me. And she explained it stands for Black and Indigenous People of Colour (as @avensharp already said).

        *I had pride stuck in my mind that month. I think I was teaching myself about the 1978 protests in Sydney and got my wires crossed.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @MarcelMarcel – i am glad I am not the only one. I at first thought it was Black, Indian, people, of, color but I knew this could not be correct.

        Thanks to Aven Sharp for the enlightenment.

      • Cee says:

        @Aven Sharp – I don’t think you’re an idiot, lol!
        I meant people who get enraged at a black man portraying a duke, or any BIPOC portraying any character who holds power.

  5. OriginalLala says:

    Considering the same pearl clutchers who are yelling about “historical accuracy” of the race/ethnicity of the cast don’t seem at all concerned that the designers have dressed up the Queen and her court in 18th century dress whilst everyone else is in more period appropriate 19th century Regency dress.. it’s not about “historical accuracy”, it’s about racism.

    • Genevieve says:

      The queen apparently did stick with her old fashioned styles, and insisted that debutantes also dress in the same styles when being presented to her. (based on what I’ve read, a long time ago)

      But I haven’t seen anyone complain about the diversity. More about the accuracy of the fashions generally, and most particularly the consent issues. I think the majority of people were happy to see the diversity.

      • OriginalLala says:

        I don’t know much about Queen Charlotte’s personal fashion so that is totally possible, but I was so confused when I was watching the show, like, why is she wearing a robe a la francaise in 1813?

      • Genevieve says:

        Most people probably wouldn’t know that anyway, so really your original point holds. Why wouldn’t they at least question the difference in her style from the rest? And if they were so historically knowledgeable, why wouldn’t they be making the connection to Queen Charlotte’s BIPOC ancestry? Just racism.

      • SpankyB says:

        I was confused by the different dress styles. I know nothing about period dress, what they wore in what century, etc., and assumed Empire waist was the more modern. But I hate the look of Empire waist and loved the Queen and her court’s outfits. I noticed Lady Featherton didn’t wear Empire waist either, but her daughter’s did. I wondered why.

      • JackieFox says:

        SpankyB – I think Lady Featherington wouldn’t fit her boobs into an empire waist, by the looks of those twin girls, so for practical reasons it probably had to sit lower. I actually wonder what bigger-busted women did with that fashion. Not sure it would have been too comfortable.

      • Oya says:

        The first book and season are set in 1813 so the dress for the queen particularly was accurate. However, like you said it was more French court than British court.

      • SpankyB says:

        JackieFox – that’s what I was wondering, and one reason why I hate Empire waist. There is no way I could look good strapping my boobs into that style. LOL I was actually getting a bit claustrophobic thinking of how tight the dresses looked across the chest. Lady Featherington looks good showing off her hourglass figure.

      • Marianne Hord says:

        Thats not actually accurate. There are paintings of her in at the time’s modern dress. You can watch this video that discusses the costumes and historical accuracy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aruca1m4nYg

      • JanetDR says:

        Thanks for the link Marianne! I kept clicking for several more after that.

    • Noodle says:

      I think they forget this is fantasy. Some of it is based in reality, but this isn’t a documentary. If it were, I would be worried Shonda would have to show up and watch with FFK William in their director’s chairs while he pulls out stolen artifacts to impress her. It doesn’t have to be historically accurate, and I love that it takes these liberties. The story is richer for the diversity.

      What I want to know is whether the 63mil number includes those of us who may have watched episode six a few more times than the others?? Like, THAT isn’t being tracked, right!?!

      • Becks1 says:

        Oh I think Netflix is tracking everything, LOL. Those of us who are episode 6 fans (*cough*Oya!) are definitely boosting their numbers hahahaha.

      • windyriver says:

        Hamilton? Diverse cast. Real history and period drama. That’s the first thing that occurred to me when I heard about the Bridgeton casting. It seemed like a follow on to what had been widely applauded with that show.

      • Oya says:

        @Becks1 don;t be calling me out sis… LMAO.. I promise between you and me we make up about 40 million of those views..

    • D says:

      That was actually one of the few things they did historically get right. Court dress was 18th-century gowns, and it’s been written about often enough in Regency books to know that Daphne wearing the gown she wore, was completely inaccurate when being presented to Queen Charlotte. But, if you’re not a person who has read Historical fiction, knowing such a thing would be impossible, and I’d probably find it odd too knowing the empire-waisted style was the standard. There are countless scenes in every Regency author from Georgette Heyer to Lisa Kleypas, about young debutantes being confused when wearing the full court dress of the previous century, down to the massive hooped skirts, a certain amount of plumes in their hair, when being ready to be presented at court.

      As to the other part, as much as I disliked this show, it was because I was disappointed in it and wanted more as a long time fan of the books. And I felt they really dropped the ball in terms of how they treated every minority character. But a lot of the pearl-clutching is racism, and it’s frankly absurd. Everyone deserves to see themselves represented on screen, as the central characters in a love story, even if they are not white. But the people crying foul for having a black duke, or a black queen, could never admit that.

    • Alex says:

      I find this frustrating, I haven’t even watched the show yet but have been hearing this complaint and I’m like…wouldn’t you *expect* the queen to be old fashioned? like hi.

  6. Leslie says:

    Bridgerton is fantasy/comedy, so the argument that it’s “not historically accurate” or whatever garbage their argument is isn’t even relevant here. If the show wants to include a diverse cast they are more than welcome to. Personally I really enjoyed the show and thought all the actors were fantastic.

    • Northerngirl says:

      +1000!! :)

    • Becks1 says:

      Yes! This is what bothers me about the “historically accurate” argument. It’s a escapist romantic fantasy/comedy. It’s meant to be fun and enjoyable – yes there are some serious undertones to some of the storylines, but overall its just a fun romantic romp in my opinion. Why cant we have this?!?!?!

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      Hear! Hear!

    • Dee says:

      I follow several literary forums and the Jane Austen one is full of pearl clutchers mad that people are talking about this series. They even tried to ban Bridgerton posts, then created a separate page, but the posts keep coming. The worst decriers are the ones who claim it’s not “historically accurate,” as though any modern adaptation of Jane Austen isn’t played by actors with white, even teeth and no acne.

      • Becks1 says:

        As an update – I saw a Time article over the weekend about what Bridgerton did or did not get accurate – and rest assured, every single complaint that people have made here over the past week was actually thought through (not in your comment @Leslie or @Dee, I’m just picking it as a place to respond, lol.) For example, someone the other day was saying she couldn’t believe they weren’t wearing bonnets, because they ALWAYS would have worn bonnets – but apparently the costume designers “banned” them from the set. They banned muslin gowns (like the ones we see a lot in P&P and other Austen adaptations), etc. So its not a matter of the show being ignorant, which I think many critics are assuming, its a matter of the show making very clear choices to give it a different feel than your standard regency period piece.

  7. Becks1 says:

    So as a quick question – when they say 63 million households, what does that mean? Everytime I watch an episode, does that count as another stream? Or is it just one stream since its the same household? Does it make a difference if I’m watching it on our main TV or the Fire Stick in our bedroom or on my phone or on the FireTV in the basement (while I ride my bike lol.) Are all those still under one “stream” as part of the 63 million? I just want to know how responsible I am for the total, LOL.

    I absolutely think the diversity is part of the appeal. Do I think Lady Danbury could have been white and still have been a great character? Yes. but I think she would have had a very Maggie Smith in Downton vibe, and so having Adjoa Andoh play the part removed the possibility of there being a direct comparison. Plus, she was awesome in the role.

    The diversity right away made it have a more modern feel – and we can discuss the diversity, and how POC were actually represented in it, and I know we have had some good conversations on that over the last few days – but the fact remains that it is a period drama set in the early 19th century where the main romantic lead is a black man who marries a white woman, and the two actresses who continually steal every scene, in my opinion, are WOC (Lady Danbury and Queen Charlotte.)

    If there is a Season 2 (and I feel confident there will be) then I wonder how they will continue the diversity going forward. Will Simon continue to have a major role? Will Kate be a WOC like we discussed yesterday? My impression in the books is that Lady Danbury becomes more of a character (though still not a major one) so it will be interesting to see what they do with her in future seasons, because she is definitely a scene-stealer like I said above.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I believe the second book in the series focuses on Daphne’s eldest brother, The Viscount Bridgerton.

      Disclaimer: I could be be wrong.

      “and the two actresses who continually steal every scene, in my opinion, are WOC (Lady Danbury and Queen Charlotte.)”

      @Becks1 – I would add the narrator (Julie Andrews) to that list of actresses who steal the show. Good voice-over narration is difficult and Julie Andrews succeeded. As the narrator narrated, I conjured-up in my mind Pan, at age 75. rereading her gossip columns from old newspaper clippings to a gaggle of tween great-granddaughters.

      • Becks1 says:

        You are correct! I read it last weekend. That’s the “Kate” I referenced in my last paragraphed – the female protagonist of the second book. But the books in general just focus on the love story and the two main leads, most of the other side plots in the series are either made up or they take a minor plot from later books and make it much more significant in the series.

    • Nic919 says:

      I have seen mentioned that Bridgerton 2 is scheduled to start filming in Uxbridge in the UK in March 2021. There is no way one of the most watched shows on Netflix doesn’t get a second season. I’m wondering if they are negotiating a third and fourth one at the moment.

  8. Danielle says:

    I loved the casting. Thought it was brilliant and refreshing and about time. I will say, at the end of the sh*tstorm of 2020, I was a little disappointed that they bothered with a throw away conversation about the King and Queen’s marriage putting an end to prejudice. Can’t we just have some honest to God racial equality somewhere? There was enough going on in the story, enough deviation from history, maybe just leave things diverse without a caveat.

    • Chicken Tetrazzini! says:

      I also didn’t care for that conversation because I wanted that post-racial world to be real with no caveats or strings attached. Just a fun lark with the hottest people they could find for each role.

    • Noodle says:

      @danielle, I agree. They broached it, then never brought it up again. I would have rather them not had that conversation and just went on about their storyline, or really explore it deeper.

      I teach courses with a lot of writing and I always tell my students: if you bring it up, you have to talk about it. You can’t throw something into a research paper without research, explanation, analysis, etc. If you don’t want to talk about it, then don’t mention it anywhere. Disclaimer: I don’t teach creative writing so my perspective may be skewed.

    • Larisa says:

      I actually felt like that conversation DID signal that what they had in their society is honest to God racial equality? That racism was so far behind them that a Black duke vying for a white countess does not raise any of the most judgmental eyebrows. Isn’t it the racial equality we want? Where skin is just a non-factor?
      I actually thought it was brilliant. I loved it that they didn’t just say “we had colorblind casting”, but were like “hey, here’s some alternative history, can you imagine, if America did this straight away, how cool we’d be by now”?

  9. MellyMel says:

    Racists gonna be racists. I love period dramas, but they are almost always exclusively white. Part of the draw, for me at least, with this show was the fact that they had black ppl and other POC in the cast and even in the background, that weren’t just servants, trades ppl, slaves, etc. It’s a breath of fresh air. And it’s a fun show not a documentary.

    • msd says:

      That’s true for the Anglosphere but I just wanted to point out that there are a huge number of Asian period dramas in film and TV. It would be nice if mainstream shows like Bridgerton expanded their diversity to include Asians, too.

      • Janet says:

        Are you serious? In one of the photos featured here there is an Asian woman. Did you even watch the show??

  10. Megaladondon says:

    This attitude is crazy to me. I need another all white story like a hole in the head. The majority of shows are still not inclusive and I’m so glad we are finally getting some diverse casting. *said the whitest of white girls

    • Becks1 says:

      Another “whitest of white girls” checking in. If this Becky is not bothered by the casting, and in fact loves it, then everyone else can get on board too lol.

      • Ann says:

        Yeah, I’m white as they get and I love the diversity. Loved it in Hamilton too. I hate it when I read reviews on imdb complaining about people of color in period dramas. I’ve seen them for Harlots, for Les Miserables (the one with Dominic West), and now this. It’s so stupid.

    • Genevieve says:

      Another white girl and I totally agree. I always notice when shows are not diverse, and it is always a point (a huge one) against them. There’s no excuse for it, and it’s disgusting. It doesn’t matter if it’s based on a book where the character was white. So what?

    • Nic919 says:

      I watch all the period dramas and still will fight to the death that the Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice borrowed too much from Bronte but I thought this series was great. The diverse cast only added to everything. I have also read the series and had an image of Lady Danbury in my head but Adjoa Andoh blew it out of the water with her amazing performance.

      • Becks1 says:

        I’m team BBC Pride and Prejudice all the way. Jennifer Ehle is my ultimate Elizabeth Bennett.

      • mynameispearl says:

        Seconded on the BBC P&P, the chemistry between Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth is something else.

        I tried to like Bridgerton, but I thought it was gossip girl but in mad outfits. I’m such a period drama fan that I like them all buttoned up and repressed, but with chemistry lol! I can only cope with nudity in modern dramas (see Normal People). For people who liked Bridgerton, did any of the lead actor romances have convincing chemistry?

        I will give Bridgerton another go and just tell myself its not a period drama, it’s a modern show with costumes, I need something to get through this new lockdown.

      • Becks1 says:

        I did think Simon and Daphne had amazing chemistry. (the main leads.) there were some scenes where his hand was just grazing her back and I had to fan myself, LOL (I don’t have a fan but you get my point, ha.)

        I don’t know if I would think of it as a modern show with costumes as opposed to a period drama, but rather somewhere in between. It’s not meant to be this super historically accurate show. I said this the other day but its like a cheesy regency romance (written by a modern author) come to life. So everything is kind of bright and pretty and the main family is absurdly close and its just a fun watch, even when things are going rough for the characters. Don’t go into it thinking you’re watching an Austen adaptation. Just kind of go with it, lol.

        I have never seen a single episode of Gossip Girl so that’s probably why I was not at all bothered by any similarities, lol.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        “(I don’t have a fan but you get my point, ha.)”

        Call up Miss Lindsey and borrow one as I am sure he has several extras laying around. LOL!

      • Ann says:

        I might be the only one here who preferred the Knightley P&P to the BBC one. I liked Firth’s Darcy better, but I liked the movie better just as a viewing experience.

    • lucy2 says:

      White girl here too, and I enjoyed the diversity of the cast a lot. The Duke…whew.

      Pretty much everyone I know watched this over the holidays and talked about it, so I’m not surprised the numbers are so high.

  11. Talie says:

    Nicola is so delightful. I watched a great little documentary Netflix did on her – highly recommend checking it out on youtube. I hope she continues to rise.

  12. February-Pisces says:

    I loved it, I can’t believe how high the streaming’s number are already considering it’s just dropped. I loved the diversity in it, and I especially loved that it was never a issue. I think race was mentioned only once very briefly. I am sick of people thinking the existence of minority groups is to tick boxes or be political. It’s just racism from people who don’t want to share the same stage. Also minorities still existed in this time period too, they may not have been aristocratic, but they were still there. I think the diverse cast made it so much more youthful and less like a stuffy period drama.

  13. Midnight@theOasis says:

    The diverse casting is exactly why I enjoyed Bridgerton so much. The show is meant to be a frivolous, suspend your disbelief fantasy. It’s not meant to be historically accurate or serious. I don’t usually watch period pieces exactly because they’re so bland and all white and I can’t identify with any of the characters. Bridgerton pulled me into its world and I loved it. Praying there’s a second season and we get served more of Lady Danbury and Queen Charlotte. Those two are my favs and loved every scene they were in.

    • Ninks says:

      The casting was great and I think it’s changed how period pieces will be cast in the future. There’s no excuse now. It works.

      My slight concern is that with Simon and Daphne’s story wrapping up, they’ll take a back seat so Will and Alice might not feature, the Queen and Lady D have no reason to get involved in Anthony’s relationship as they did with Simon and Daphne, and Marina has left. So that’s all the main Black characters with reduced roles or possibly gone completely in season 2. Genevieve might get a bigger role if Benedict gets the B plot but she’s not his endgame romance. So I’m really hoping that Kate and the Sheffields will be played by BIPOC actresses.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        Who was the dress-maker character that owned the bespoke boutique. She will definitely be back. I think all the characters will be back, even Marina, as Shonda Rhimes is smart enough to figure out how to do it and still follow the storylines of the books.

      • Becks1 says:

        Genevieve De la Croix – I definitely hope she is back, but she’s not a character at all in the books, so again it will be interesting. but “the modiste” and shopping for clothes is a common theme, so it would be easy enough to keep her as a character, it will just be interesting to see how her storyline continues.

        I could see Lady Danbury taking an interest in Anthony’s relationship if she develops a relationship with the love interest (Kate in the books.)

      • Elizabeth Regina says:

        Lady Danbury is friends with Lady Violet and they both played a role in the Daphne/Simon romance. I’m sure the writers will find a role for her, fingers crossed.

      • Nic919 says:

        Lady Danbury shows up in most of the Bridgerton books so she will definitely be involved in the next seasons. She didn’t have such a personal connection with the Duke in the book but was generally the society busy body so I am sure they will find something for her to do later on.

  14. Bren says:

    I actually thought there wasn’t enough diversity to be honest. Let’s have more Latinos, Asian, Native Americans in season 2

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Could easily have descendants of John Rolfe & Pocahontas as it would be “hysterically” and historically accurate.

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      Pocahontas visited the royals in London and slapped John Smith in the face at the Globe the last time she saw him. (I read about it in The True Story of Pocahontas by Dr. Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow and Angela L. Daniel “Silver Star”). Pocahontas has been misrepresented enough in mainstream Eurocentric cultures. So I’m not arguing that she should be shoehorned into a period drama. I’m just saying it would be entirely possible to have Native American visitors at court.
      There are lots of interesting first hand accounts of people like Ambassadors traveling the globe and experiencing new cultures. (Voices from the past is full of them on YouTube).
      So I think it could be fun to have more people from different backgrounds in the show! Like an intriguing Japanese ambassador who is shocked by the bland food. Or Native Americans travelling across the ocean to visit the Queen.
      (PS I realise you’re probably being sarcastic. But I do think it would be cool to have even more diversity on Bridgerton).

      • BayTampaBay says:

        Yes, I am being sarcastic as my husband always refers to Downton Abbey and Gone With The Wind as a Hysterical Costume Drama.

        Pocahontas died March 21, 1617 so it would have to be a descendent9s) but I still think it would work as a character and be good for diversity as Pocahontas herself really was at court and out in London society.

  15. Case says:

    As I mentioned on yesterday’s thread, I loved the casting and at first thought (and liked!) that it appeared to be colorblind casting. However, race within the show was quite poorly handled, I felt. A few episodes into the season we get one conversation between Lady Danbury and the Duke about how they didn’t used to have this standing in society until the King fell in love with a Black woman, and then…that was the end of that conversation in the entire show. You can’t introduce that concept and then not touch on it again. Such a concept has vast implications on the worldbuilding, and the writers ran away from that. Like much of the rest of the show, it felt so thinly written to me.

    • Danielle says:

      Yes, strongly agree. Address that issue you brought up or just don’t make prejudice part of the story at all. It’s fluff tv and I’m for it but that just felt flippant and unnecessary to me.

    • Midnight@theOasis says:

      I thought the conversation between Simon and Lady Danbury was unnecessary and added nothing. I feel the writers should not have bothered providing an explanation as it really wasn’t needed. This is supposed to be fantasy not historically accurate so just do color blind casting and leave it at that. I would like to see other ethnicities bought into the show and the diversity of the cast expand.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I have no doubt Shonda Rhimes included the racial conversation scene for a reason and this reason might not get answered/explained until season 2 or 3.

      Shonda Rhimes is a very successful TV producer and to be successful in TV you “gotta” know “exactly” what you are doing and where you are going.

      I trust Ms. Rhimes and her artistic choice completely.

  16. Blondems says:

    I (as a straight, white, 40-something) LOVE diversity on my screen! I definitely notice when it’s not there. In fact, I watched the pretty much universally panned ‘Battleship’ movie the other day on Netflix, and I loved it. Not because it was a great movie (it’s really, really not), but because of all of the diversity; PI, African American, Asian, plus the glorious Rihanna to name a few. I mean, what’s not to love?? (If it’d been your classic, all-white, white saviour alien attack movie, I’m almost certain I would have switched it off.) If people are given the option to see something with a diverse cast, even if they don’t think too much about the ramifications or the deeper issues, I think they’ll go for it.

  17. Ann says:

    In 1997, Disney and Whitney Houston produced Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” with Brandy as Cinderella. It had a wonderfully diverse cast, including Victor Garber and Whoopi Goldberg as the King and Queen. It was glorious and well worth watching again and again! It’s mind boggling and sad that it’s taken 23 years for such diversity to be seen again.

    • Becks1 says:

      Good point! that was a great movie/tv special (I cant remember which it was at this point.)

      I would have more hope for this had ABC/Disney NOT royally messed up their chances with Shonda Rhimes, but it would be nice to see more diversity in future Disney movies – specifically the live action remakes. I know the Little Mermaid is going to be more diverse and has been getting pushback because of that, but I’m hopeful that the success of shows like this (and hopefully the LM remake is a big success) will encourage Disney and other major studios to stay away from all-white casts. We watched Into the Woods the other night and while I really do love it, it was SO white. There was no reason they could have not have had a black Cinderella, or a black Baker’s wife (or the Baker himself be black, or another minority.)

    • Case says:

      That came out when I was young and I have wonderful memories watching it! As Becks1 said, I’m hoping Disney will continue to inject more diversity into their films. As a kid, I didn’t give it a second thought that Cinderella was Black, or that the Prince was Asian with Black and white parents, lol. It didn’t matter and it still doesn’t. I just loved it!

  18. Godwina says:

    I’m enjoying it. It’s great to see a world where racism doesn’t really seem to exist (I’m only 2.5 episodes in, though, so that might change). Is it weird, though, that racism is excised from this world, but classicism and patriarchy are in full toxic flower? That imbalance/cherrypicking is hard for me to get past, but then I’ve also written fiction where racism is dead but other -isms are around, so there we go. We’re not a consistent species when we do art, but that’s fine.

  19. Lady Keller says:

    Because Hollywood and the entertainment industry is so well known for its accuracy. Plenty of well known historical women were fat, old and dare I say homely by Hollywood standards and yet they are played by young, botoxed beauties. And these pearl clutchers stay quiet about the pretty white ladies.

    There was actual diversity at this point in history, and EVEN if there wasn’t, how about we use our imaginations, suspend our expectations and just enjoy the story without nitpicking about details. The way most viewers do with every white centered historical tale.

  20. MarcelMarcel says:

    By the end of episode 5 the show was giving me weird vibes… so I checked and Daphne takes advantage of Simon’s drunken state to get pregnant?!!! I’m now too nervous to watch it. Does anyone have any hot takes on the lack of consent? Because I’m torn on whether to continue.
    Anyhow my fave characters are Lady Danbury and Simon.
    Sidebar- I *love* the film Belle. Amma Asante and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are creative treasures.

    • Becks1 says:

      We talked about this a few Bridgerton posts ago – maybe on Tuesday? I’m not really comfortable with it, BUT I will say that he’s not drunk in the show – and even in the book he’s pretty on board with the sex. The biggest difference, in my mind, is that (his being drunk) AND that in the book, Daphne and he had already had the “I am doing this bc I don’t want kids” talk and in the show, its AFTER she does it. So she doesn’t really have a sense for how strongly he feels about it, especially given her innocence. So in the show its still pretty problematic, but in the book it is much more so.

      • MarcelMarcel says:

        @baytampabay @becks1 thanks! I’ll keep going then. So far I still prefer the Great in terms of historically inaccurate period dramas. (Unfortunately it has way less diversity in casting compared to Bridgerton. Although Sebastian de Souza is delightful). But as I said I adore Lady Danbury & the Duke so I’m basically watching the show for their characters.
        Have you seen Lady MacBeth (2016)? I haven’t yet. But Princess Weekes (MelinaPendulum on YT) recommended it. I’m psyching myself up for it though because it’s heavy.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Keep watching. It is an excellent plot devise in the Daphne-Simon relationship.

  21. Valois says:

    I think Queen Charlotte had one confirmed Northern African ancestor that we know of in the 13th century (about 500 yrs before she was born). So her portrayal in the show probably wasn’t that accurate.

    With that being said, this is a fictional show, it’s not accurate at all so screaming for accuracy when it comes to the casts’ race is not asking for accuracy, it’s being racist.
    I LOVED the diverse casting. Some parts were not perfect (no dark-skinned women, the conversation about race was poorly handled), but I’m sure it’s gonna get even better next season.

  22. Beth says:

    The diversity is what drew me, a Southern white gal, to “Bridgerton.” It was more accurate, especially for Queen Charlotte — and isn’t the cast amazingly pretty! I loved that attention wasn’t drawn to “here’s a black man” or “here’s a biracial woman.” It just showed people doing their thing. Did people not notice that “Hamilton,” one of the most popular musicals in recent history, included a diverse cast?

  23. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Carpe diem racist pearl clutchers….profiter du présent. The rest of us will bathe in our joie de vivre and pine for tortured dukes.

  24. L4frimaire says:

    I can’t believe people are so bothered by the diversity of Bridgerton. This is such great fluffy escapism and no where close to a historically accurate period piece. They should be more disturbed by all the good dentistry and lack of smallpox scars. This after years of “ Hamilton “ dominating the cultural landscape. Do people also believe that the founding fathers were these diverse people who had rap battles? This is ridiculous. Even readers of Regency romance novels know this is pure fantasy. These are the same people who are bothered by people of color being in science fiction films, but no problem with replicants or aliens invading this planet and using your body to host their egg sacks. Also for those that want to read books set during this time period that has racial diversity with more historical accuracy, I highly recommend the Benjamin January mystery novels by Barbara Hambly. They take place in 1830s New Orleans when there was a large, free black population ( Gens de Couleur libre). It explores the life of the middle class mixed race population at a time when New Orleans had both a distinct French culture that was being overtaken by Americans, and the racial dynamics, with the brutality of slavery as a backdrop, but also this in between class of free, mixed race blacks. Very good books and learned about this distinct culture I didn’t know existed before. Those books would also make a great tv series.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      If you want “some” racial accuracy, go watch Sandinton on PBS.

      But I warn you in advance, Bridgerton is a much better series anyway you look at it.

  25. Veronica S. says:

    LOL, most regency romance does the barest modicum of true historical accounting, so if we aren’t seeing people go days without full bathing and streets filled with horseshit, we can handle mixed racial casting for fictional romance series. Really, it would have been better if they hadn’t even addressed it at all in dialogue – let blacks and other POC live in a fantasy where their skin color isn’t even a footnote in the story. Those of us who are white get that privilege in every single show we watch. Why the hell shouldn’t they get that, too?

  26. Alberto Delano XO says:

    I love having a diverse cast in a period romance precisely because it is a period romance: If it’s going to be an idealized and romanticized version of the past that will take liberties with historical accuracy throughout, what does it matter if the casting isn’t “historically accurate”? Which is a lesson period pieces like Downton Abbey should take, baby, you just a melodrama, feel free to cast antoine.
    In a way, it’s similar to having BIPOC people cast in Shakespeare adaptations, like Sophie Okonedo in the Hollow Crown series, or Denzel as Macbeth. The only problem with Bridgerton is that it entraps itself trying to explain its universe, it needn’t have to, just go with it! Because if it’s going the alternate history route, for the English aristocracy to be that diverse, the point of divergence should’ve been around the Norman invasion or something, not the marriage of Charlotte to George.

    • Ann says:

      Downton was a soap opera with good production value. It obsessed over obscure period details like dessert spoons but didn’t care about real historical accuracy, decent character development or consistency, etc. I could provide dozens of examples, but never mind. I agree, I might have kept watching the show if it had embraced its soapiness and had loosened up.

      • L4frimaire says:

        I found the way Downton depicted the upper classes with a halo of upright values was utterly inaccurate and straight out propaganda, and how anyone who wanted social change was just some shrill disgruntled scold. There was little nuance. I wish they’d explored more how the Earl was a straight up fortune hunter. The truth was grittier and more interesting. The guy who wrote the series is a straight up Brexiteer who really thinks this stratified world,with undereducated subservient people looking up to the gentry, was better, so not surprised.

  27. Gippy says:

    I watch bc Shonda, and I wasn’t disappointed! I will admit to first being surprised, pleasantly, of the diverse cast the first episode but was quickly caught up in the story I ceased to notice it. I think it’s important for people from all walks of life to see themselves represented in positive ways on screen. The costumes are the best. This time period is usually romanced up anyway, they used to toss poop in their streets and hygiene was different, so yeah pretty it up for me!

  28. Keroppi says:

    As one half of an interracial couple, I love seeing other interracial couples on the screen especially when their differences are not used as a plot point!

  29. K says:

    This show is fabulous. End of discussion.

  30. YeahNo says:

    The only reason to get into the series : t’s a refreshing highlight of diversity in history – depicted in a period film. Lots of periods in this film, no? Anyway- the non Black cast members were a fail IMO- they seemed immature for their role. The Black actors were astute whilst the non Black seemed miscast, hollow & lacking in complexity. IJS

  31. Jenn says:

    I haven’t seen it yet, but this makes me excited to watch it! And yes, it’s been really fun to witness the breadth of who all is super “into” Bridgerton — my mother-in-law, my friends, my extended family…! So anecdotally, at least, I feel like Coughlan is absolutely right that audiences who would ordinarily feel alienated by a “period drama” have been able to super get into this one. Awesome.

  32. HeyThere! says:

    I loved the diversity, it was a breath of fresh air in my book. It worked because it was diverse!

  33. gm says:

    Seriously there are people saying some TV fiction show isn’t accurate? You mean cops, lawyers and doctors are NOT as attractive, young, well dressed or get as much sex as they do on TV shows depicting them? Say it isn’t so…
    Bring back authentic cause middle aged, paunchy, boring which reflects most of real life (and sorry to say I am one of those) is going to draw in viewers!

  34. Romance says:

    I mean this series is based off on a historical romance novel series..You know the paperbacks with the “smutty” covers? So not exactly a “period” drama in any way. The book version is pretty graphic in the sex scenes. Anything goes in my opinion and a diverse cast is perfectly ok! Representation matters.

    • Ann says:

      She’s great. I agree. I also like the actresses who play Eloise and Pen. The one who plays Daphne was OK, but her character never really gelled for me. I liked her as half of a couple, not so much for herself.

  35. Zazu says:

    Yes! A historical mystery I read recently had all white Egyptologists when there were actually several Egyptian and middle eastern archaeologists at the time. However, while historically there was more diversity than often represented, that still wouldn’t enable as many BIPOC actors as I would like to see in this genre. It’s especially stupid when Shakespeare and Homer have been performed for decades by brilliant diverse actors because it’s FICTION. We can use our imaginations people! Who knew?!

  36. Marianne Hord says:

    The diversity doesnt bother me. I work in theater so Im used to seeing “color blind casting”. That being said, I could only get into the first 3 episodes. The drama to me just felt like something out of a teen girl’s fanfic. And I found the two leads utterly boring. I did quite like the actress who played Penelope and Eloise though.

  37. Kazzzzzzz says:

    Speaking of inclusion, nice to see us curvy girls represented too!

  38. JackieFox says:

    I’d take the Duke of Hastings over some of the blander white Englishmen that have played Jane Austen characters any day. Colin Firth has no facial expression and many of those types are too pansy-ish in their poshness. The Duke of Hastings was a delight to watch, however. Bring him back for Season 2!

  39. A.Key says:

    The problem with this show is the story and I have no idea why they have the views that they have. It’s hardly among the best shows on Netflix. The only reason why I watched half of it before giving up was because of the Duke, his aunt and the Queen. All other characters were boring and annoying as f, and the plotline was so predictable and snooze inducing. I’m all for supporting diversity casting but please give these wonderful actors quality material to work with.