The biggest issue is there’s an unnecessary urgency to couple up to the point where it resembles The Bachelor…and not in a good way. Anthony is expected to choose a woman after only one night, where he spends about five minutes with each lady (who has little-to-no say in her own future). Then, after one or two dates, he’s urged to propose—ready or not. And the wedding? Let’s plan it ASAP, so no one has time to change their mind. Sounds foolproof, right?
Next, people’s opinions are often overlooked. It doesn’t matter if Anthony is in love with Kate, who also has feelings for him. Edwina is the diamond, and that’s who Anthony should end up with. If Anthony goes rogue, it reflects poorly on his family and Queen Charlotte. And who wants that?
Status is also valued above all else. Eloise can crush on Theo all she wants, but he’s not from a respected family and, therefore, isn’t suitable to date. The Bridgertons would much rather Eloise marry someone she’ll despise the rest of her life, versus date someone who’s unable to provide any social or monetary value.
In another scene, Cousin Jack is found alone with Prudence. He’s immediately encouraged to propose to her, because if he doesn’t, her reputation will forever be tainted. Of course, these rules don’t apply to Jack, who could easily walk away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Oh, and don’t even get us started on Penelope (or “Pen”), who isn’t recognized by men simply because she’s not the prettiest or youngest option. If only people knew about her extracurricular activities as Lady Whistledown, who—by the way—also believes the queen’s ways are outdated.
One could argue that this is how things were in the 19th-century. But if Netflix is willing to (thankfully) challenge stereotypes with more diverse casting, perhaps the streaming service should also implement a few more positive themes, regardless of historical accuracy.