5 Scandalous Life-Lessons Bridgerton Taught Us
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
1. We can spin the script on history
“We were two separate societies divided by color, until a king fell in love with one of us.” Lady Danbury
Much like Hamilton enjoyed extraordinary success genuinely increasing diversity on Broadway with its color-conscious casting, hip hop, and rap overtones, and mad demand - Bridgerton has done the same for Netflix.
Bridgerton charts the lives of the richest of the rich in early 19th century London where the King “made a choice….” and took a black queen. Queen Charlotte takes her place feather-fanning and center-stage, then enters The Duke - Simon. Sigh. Who captured so many hearts, in addition to Daphne’s, sparking real-life petitions to be the next James Bond. He is mothered by woman-about-town, Lady Danbury, and Marina Thompson joins the infamous Featherington household as a family-plus-one.
This alternate history created for Bridgerton – in which people of color are members of the high society rather than in the scullery – works brilliantly on a very important and entirely intentional level. The way the show rewrites history makes us confront and deal with a plethora of modern-day issues and topics through this unexpected prism.
By placing them in an environment of yesteryear charm, Bridgerton enables us to view current hot topics such as race, social class, gender equality, socioeconomic disparity, sexual preferences, and societal expectations. We can examine, dissect and reevaluate our 21st-century value systems, as they are paraded in period clothes through the Regency era.
It simply works.
Hamilton has done for Broadway what Bridgerton has done for TV. A modernized Pride & Prejudice superimposing societal shifts using entertainment as the accelerant to adjust our current views.
Embrace equity, diversity, and inclusion practices, like, yesterday.
2. A spoonful of scandal helps the narrative go down
“If there is a scandal, I shall uncover it.” Lady Whistledown
Three words. Dame. Julie. Andrews.
You might not see her, but Mary Poppins herself is crucial to the success of Bridgerton. Yes, the legend that is Dame Julie Andrews is the sharp-witted, slightly sardonic, all-seeing voice of Lady Whistledown.
The concept of her Society Papers is a brilliant allegory for modern-day tabloids. The power of the written word - in all its glory, able to make or break people with a simple heading or a well-timed revelation. It’s another ingenious eyeglass, through which to examine our own society.
Scandals – and how to handle them – are at the core of Bridgerton. Lady Whistledown’s insatiable observations of the schemings of the upper set keep everyone, even royalty, on their toes. The second biggest fear of the aristocratic set of London is that they are mentioned in the weekly Society Papers. Their biggest fear is that they are not.
In the show, Whistledown appears to know everything about everyone – and is also a reflection of what the characters think. Brilliantly, there are times during which she misleads the audience.
The gravitas of her storytelling carries the show with her identity unrevealed until the very final moments of the last episode. We can’t get enough of Dame Julie and crave her voice unraveling the plentitude of stories in our heads.
Bridgerton is a tale of us becoming.
This sounds a lot like PR. The higher you go, the bigger your game, the more money you raise or demand, the bolder your plans - the more you are celebrated and/or ridiculed. Someone is always watching and ready to tell the world.
So, tell a better story. Live up to that story. Keep your whistle clean.
3. The truth is hiding in plain sight
“We can pretend to form an attachment. Every presumptuous mother in town will leave me alone and every suitor will be looking at you.” The Duke
Alight with innuendo, bodice-popping sex scenes, and sequin-hysteria, we open the doors on the social season. Women are scanning the ballroom for husbands, men are exploring ways to escape their lot. Rich, poor, knocked up, or otherwise, everyone is seeking something else and nothing is as it seems.
Despite all the trickery, true natures are ultimately revealed.
The overzealous chaperoning of Daphne’s brother backfires and his true love for someone outside his social set goes unrequited. A pregnant outcast steals the crown of the debutante season.
Strong-willed and bright-minded women dominate the script through the voices of Penelope Featherington, Eloise Bridgerton, and Gossip Girl herself - Lady Whistledown.
The Duke and Daphne subside to love.
You can’t read the label from inside the bottle. Spend time outside yourself and your business to think about who you are, what you are about, and how you can contribute most to society.
And then, live that out loud.
4. Waistlines and wisteria
“You have no idea what it is like to have one’s entire life reduced to a single moment.” Daphne Bridgerton
Appearances aren’t everything, they are the only thing. With much pomp and circumstance, Bridgerton floods the screen with a fabulous array of attire. Each family color-coded to tell stories of their own.
The bold velvet strikes of the rigid Duke, the try-hard, tawdry tones of the Featheringtons - frenemies of the Bridgertons, the dainty and innocent lace of Daphne’s coming of age and the consistent appearance of pungent yellow declaring deceit and jealousy.
Beneath the plunging décolletage and substantial tulle skirts nestled the size of one’s dowry, one’s socioeconomic status, and the state of one’s affairs - both of the pocketbook and the heart. All waiting to be revealed as the episodes unfold.
Aside: Speaking of yellow, anyone else spot the yellow no parking lines on the roads in some shots - a little progressive for 1810 don’t you think?
You can wear too much yellow.
Curate your brand (personal and/or professional) with great care. Know who you are. Know who you are not. Have an all-encompassing purpose. Set and stand-for your principles. Your brand defines you in every moment.
5. Love is all
“I burn for you.” The Duke
True love does exist.
The arranged and planned marriages in Bridgerton are often nothing but marriages of convenience. These mirror many of the conjugal bonds forged in Hollywood (or on reality TV) and are beneficial at a time where blood runs hot and ratings matter, but are certainly not representative of long-term happiness for us, the commoners.
See, real love is much, much simpler. It may be there all along - intentionally shooting arrows in your direction – and you still may dodge the message. The funny thing is, it can be obvious to everyone, apart from the seemingly oblivious lovebirds themselves. Consider Daphne and the Duke. Imagine how much quicker they could have got things on, had they managed to find the right words? Although it would have made for boring viewing and a premature climax in the fourth episode.
Equally, while first impressions and “gut feelings” are valid, don’t let them lead you entirely. After all, where would that have left out lovebirds?
Finding love can be like finding your perfect job or team. Sometimes people need time to find their optimum match. Some may even need a bit of help. Luckily, in business this doesn’t need to come in the form of an interfering brother or an overbearing mother and help is around if you ask.
Know what lights you up. Communicate your desires better to the universe and to yourself.
Listen to your heart but follow your soul.