About Bridgerton

This is a two-season series running on Netflix, once again chronicling turn-of-the-century social mores and romances. Very spicy, hot even, for TV, with gorgeous costumes and vivid characters.

The problem I have with it is the underlying mythology, which appears again and again in our culture, of a repressed male who is transformed and redeemed by a woman’s love.

In Bridgerton, as in the English Patient for example, the male lead walks a character arc that tracks to his relationship with the female lead. Here, Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, starts as a stoic, wounded, closed down, promiscuous, bitter male. As his relationship with Daphne Bridgerton develops, he morphs into an emotionally responsive, communicative, responsible romantic citizen. Her patience and wisdom transform him. In the metonymy of this series, there is no evidence of an interior process for the Duke, just a few pithy lines of dialogue from the woman he loves.

This is great except I’ve witnessed women who marry those men, then spend 30 years with the guy at the beginning of the character arc.

So beware all you romantic girls out there. Without a lot of psychological archeology and intentional self-awareness, what you see on that first date is what you get. If that floats your boat, all’s well. But if you need a full human being, make sure it’s someone who is willing to take the inner journey to some extent.

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