Bridgerton shifts from lust to love

Simone Ashley (left) plays Kate Sharma and Jonathan Bailey plays Anthony Bridgerton in ‘Bridgerton’.
Liam Daniel / Netflix

By María Estévez, MWN 

Bridgerton’s first season left us with surprising sex scenes between the two main protagonists: Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), the Bridgerton family’s jewel of the social season, and attractive bachelor duke Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). In season 2, their romance is unbridled in a mouse/cat game rather than the fulfillment of desires, switching inspiration from Lady Chatterley’s ‘Lover’ to ‘Pride & Prejudice’.

The eldest Bridgerton offspring Anthony, played by Jonathan Bailey, takes center stage, determined to find a suitable candidate to become his Viscountess. He selects the younger of the stunning sisters from the newcomer Sharma family, Edwina (Charithra Chandran), despite his obvious friction with Edwina’s elder sister Kate (Simone Ashley). Kate is “six and twenty,” so, essentially an old maid in the Bridgerton universe, whose primary desire is to get her sister married off so that she can return to Bombay and live out an independent life as a governess.

While their love-hate relationship is building up to being a major player this season, Anthony and Kate’s “game” isn’t the only one. According to Bailey, his character is committed to finding a wife.

Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma in season 2 of ‘Bridgerton’.Liam Daniel / Netflix

“He is taking love out of the equation. In the beginning, they grind each other’s gears because they recognize flaws they see in themselves in the other person. They challenge each other,” he told Metro.

For the two actors, a dance scene together was one of their favorites and especially for Bailey:

“At that moment, I truly felt like the focus had really shifted to my character and we were stepping into a love story. Those dancing scenes, with their string versions of pop songs, where Bridgerton is at its best…” 

Season 2 also follows the books on which the show is based, shifting the light on Bailey. That, for showrunner Chris Van Dusen, was part of the appeal for him to adapt the series in the first place.

“The biggest difference is the characters we’re focusing on. It’s a new story and that was part of the draw for me to sign up for a series like this, the ability to tell these close-ended love stories season after season,” he stated.

Fighting for minorities in leading roles

Shonda Rhimes believes that the show has to be cherished for its continued diverse representation of people of color in starring roles, which are typically unheard of in Regency-era period shows:

“In Shondaland, we make sure that the crew and the people behind the scenes are as multicultural as the people you see in front of the camera. We make sure that they are different in age; we make sure that they have different abilities; we like to make sure that our casts and our crews and our writers represent the real world. I think it makes for better storytelling, it makes for more authentic storytelling, and it makes for more complex storytelling. You want directors who reflect the world. You want people who have a view of the world that doesn’t come from simply one point of view. There’s nothing wrong with a white male point of view, but there are certainly many things right about the point of view of women of color, directors of color, artists of color, writers of color. That feels important to us to include in our world.”

Jonathan Bailey (left) as Anthony Bridgerton and Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in ‘Bridgerton’.Liam Daniel / Netflix

As in any show signed by Rhymes, the female energy of the characters is also very strong.

“We’ve upped our game a little bit in terms of how we’re telling this story. In the first season of ‘Bridgerton’, we had to introduce everybody to the world and now people know what this world is. Now our goal is to just bring them in even deeper, give them more of a sense of what’s going on, and let them really see how this world works. And that’s exciting,” Rhymes added.

For both Simone Ashley (Kate Sharma) and Charithra Chandran (Edwina), their roles add even more to the already-diverse cast.

“We are representing a minority seen on screens. I think it’s wonderful that more South Asian women can identify themselves in these characters,” Ashley commented.   

Chandran concluded: “Often when you are people of color, the stories that are told are that of trauma. What you see here is something they’re owning, you’re seeing joy and pride. We’re from a generation where there was a lot of shame attached to being different. I hope young girls can own that part of themselves.” 

‘Bridgerton’ season 2 is now available to stream on Netflix.