Does “Bridgerton” Need a Warning: Fairy Tale?

Photo by Vlad Zinculescu on Unsplash

Shonda Rhimes does not cast based on race. She never has and I hope she never will. She is genius and everything she creates is brilliant. Including “Bridgerton”.

Whether we like the books the series was based on or whether the series accurately reflects those books is irrelevant. They are adapted for television.

Should race issues be addressed? The creators of “Bridgerton” don’t. Shonda Rhimes rarely does. She doesn’t need to. She casts actors of a variety of races based on their talent. And that is refreshing. She is never “in your face”. “Grey’s Anatomy” is a perfect example. From the beginning, in 2005, it had a diversified cast. And I loved the series. That is, until now. Rhimes’s absence has turned it into something that is no longer a distraction. It feels like a documentary wannabe. Everybody is running around in protective clothing whilst teaching us that Black people are twice as likely to catch coronavirus. I read the newspapers. I don’t need to watch a series to tell me things I already know — and don’t necessarily want to be reminded of.

I may be an airhead, but I watch television and cinema for diversion. It doesn’t have to be slapstick comedy or comedy at all, for that matter. But it must have excellent actors, photography, script, and plot. “Bridgerton” does.

I surprised myself with “Bridgerton”. I eke it out. I don’t binge. And I laugh. It is one of the funniest shows I have seen in a long time. And it is subtle. The asides of the matriarchs alone are hysterical. And all I need is one look at Queen Charlotte’s face to make me feel better. It is basically a rom-com. But a clever one. It makes people talk which is always a sign of good entertainment. And that is all “Bridgerton” is — nothing more. Yes, it’s meant to be historical. Yes, it has cast Black actors as some of the oddest characters. And, yes, to all the criticisms about it not addressing race issues, the “rape”, which I have not yet seen but read enough about to know that, once again, people love to analyze for the sake of analyzing. Was it rape? Well, we are given plenty of official definitions in these “critiques”. Or is it our heroine just wising up and getting what she wants, a theme Shonda Rhimes is fond of? I say, who cares? It is good television.

I am watching the show with somebody who is not familiar with Shonda Rhimes’ work and I get the same comments. Why are race issues not addressed? Who are these Black people? This has nothing to do with history. And on and on. My answer is to politely tell the person to be quiet and watch.

“Bridgerton” is a fairy tale. From the beginning. It just forgot to say “Once upon a time.” And like all fairy tales, it will have a happy ending.

I hope there will be a swirly “The End”.

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