Bridgerton

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership. How are you doing right now? I see.

S2: Charlotte traded me for me, I am. What’s in the box, your.

S1: Hi, welcome to a slate spoiler special of the sexy period confection Bridgton, the Netflix series produced by Shonda Rhimes, created by Chris Anderson, and based on a series of romance novels by Julia Quinn. I’m Slate’s TV critic Willa Paskin, and I am joined today by Nicole Perkins, the writer and host of the new podcast. This is good for you. Hi, Nicole. Hi. Well, how are you? I’m good. I’m actually really excited to do this because I was putting watching Bridgton off like I watched the first one and I was like and then I watch them all very recently and I enjoyed them more than I was expecting to. So I’m excited to talk to you. I would say that before I watch the show, I kept thinking about it as like Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey. But now that I have actually watched the show, I think of it more as like Jane Austen meets one of those teen comedies where they pretend they fake get together to fool everyone and then fall in love like she’s all that with more sex and more black people.

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S3: And I I’m excited to talk about you.

S4: Oh, I’m excited to talk about it. It’s funny because I have never watched any of those things and I don’t watch any Pride or Prejudice kind of adaptation. I don’t like do that. I don’t really watch team stuff, you know. So I don’t when everyone’s like, oh, it’s just like this is just like that. I’m just like, OK, I, I don’t get that reference. But for me it’s just like, oh, I’m watching a romance novel come to life and you know, I have thoughts on whether or not it was a good adaptation, so I’m ready to get into it.

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S1: So we’re going to bring our different things together and see maybe like we’re I think maybe work with some of those things better than others and we’ll find out. So given this is a spoiler special, I thought that we would just start with like the premise of the show, but and mostly just like sort of get into the things that are interesting and not like to bog down the plot, but like, you know, what’s a show about. So so do you want to just sort of set up what Bridgton is about?

S4: OK, so yes. So Bridgton is a Regency romance. Daphne Bridgton is, you know, this lovely deputise. She has been declared diamonds of the first quarter. And so everyone wants her, wants to marry her, but she wants to marry for love. And Duke of Hastings Simon is her oldest brother’s best friend. And, you know, she has her eye on him, even though they both they don’t realize that it’s going to happen. So she decides that she wants to fake a relationship with him in order to make her irresistible to other men. And he wants to use her to keep the other debutants, the other, you know, women who are trying to basically catch a husband away from him. So they decide to get together, fake a relationship until she finds the person that she actually does love. And, of course, they end up falling in love and getting married and all of that stuff that happens in the context of that. But there’s all this, you know, Simon has a little secret and he he does not tell Daphne until it’s a little too late. And she’s just like, OK, I’m going to overlook, you know, your dark past or whatever. But then she realizes, no, I can’t overlook it. So I’m going to I’m going to take the matters into my own hands.

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S3: I want to live.

S1: This is all we’ve got to talk about, all of us. But let’s just like let’s just we just talk about, like, the beginning, beginnings, like the beginning. It’s like he’s like brooding Mr. Darcy type. I’m sure there’s a romance. I mean, Mr. Darcy is probably in romance novels type. And yeah, I like this very perfect woman. And they like you know, they banter, they don’t like each other. We all know they like are going to be hot for each other. And to me, like sort of one of the fundamental things, like the one of the big questions about Bretherton there some is like, is it hot? Like, is it sexy? Does it work in that Romanski way? And, you know, the show’s eight episodes long, there’s like I would say, there’s like about three episodes of just like heavy flirtation, like a like sort of like tension building. Then they start smooching. And I think, like one of the the way that you can sort of tell this show has romance roots is like, well, firstly, you see her brother we can talk about in a second, like having sex with someone and like the opening sequence of the show. I think it’s just sort of trying to establish, like its bona fides and then, like, every time they make out, it’s just for much longer than it would be in a regular show. Like, there’s much more like groping, but it’s not. Well, I’m just interested in what you think, like how it worked as as a romance, as as a sexy thing.

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S4: I think it works as a romance for sure. And obviously, sexy is very subjective. It was not sexy to me. So I did not find any of the sex scenes thrilling at all, like I cringed through. I was embarrassed to the point that I laughed out loud, you know, like I was just like, oh my God, what is happening? The sexiest scene for me was in Episode three when Simon kind of coaches Daphne on how to masturbate because she had that is the sexiest that’s the sexiest scene in the show. Yeah, I think. Yeah. And they’re like out in this park walking with their chaperones, you know, very far behind them, but still close enough to make sure they don’t ravish each other in the grass or something. But that was the sexiest part. So it works for me as a romance. It does not work. If I want if I wanted to watch something that was steamy, I am not going to turn on Bridgton, unfortunately.

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S1: How are the books Good Romance like? Do you think they did a good job adapting the book? Did they lose something? I haven’t read the books, but I think you’ve read the first two.

S4: Yeah, I’ve read the first two and the Bridgton series and there is a loss of something. So in the book, Daphne and the first book, Daphne, this is maybe her second or third season. So that kind of explains a bit of her. I don’t want to say desperation, but why she’s so enthusiastic about locking down a husband because she’s been through this process a couple of times that she wants to get it over with before she is labeled, you know, someone who no one wants. Right. But in the series, we don’t have that background. This is her first season. So it’s just like she’s supposed to live up to this reputation of being the most desirable person. And so the rush isn’t I don’t feel like the rush is earned in this series as it is. And the books and in the book, I think it is a bit sexier. There’s a bit more tenderness in the sex scenes and the love scenes, even when you’re more passionate and more thrusting is still kind of there. They take time with each other, but we don’t really get that beyond their first night together after the wedding.

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S1: There’s also the I mean, the books are not cross racial, right? Like everyone’s white in the book, is that correct?

S4: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Everyone is lily white in the books. And, you know, there was a bit of a hesitancy to pay attention to the series because the author, Julia Quinn, has said some things at different panels before. When asked to address diversity and asked to address why her books are so white, she kind of has just been like, you know, it’s hard for me to if I have, you know, characters of different races and ethnicities, ethnicities, it would be hard for me to explain why my characters are not racist. And I don’t want to take time away from the romance to describe, you know, why my characters are not racist. And she’s also kind of talked about how she wants her books to focus on happily ever after and not suffering, because I guess if you have black people, that means black people only know suffering. Black people fall in love every fucking day. You know, it’s like it’s OK.

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S1: It’s also just so interesting, like what they did with the show, because the show is obviously I mean, I. Let’s get into what let’s get into the sort of the real stuff about the show. So it’s a multiracial world. The Duke of Hastings is black. His spiritual mother is a black woman and the queen the queen. Charlotte, the queen of all of England, is a black woman. And they don’t talk about this explicitly through the first four episodes. And like I when I first was watching it, I was like, oh, this is just like fully colorblind. Shonda Rhimes did a show about like a Shakespeare riff off that was like on ABC for a year and was canceled. That was like it was after Romeo and Juliet die. And then like the Montagues and Capulets, there’s like a next generation, like a follow up love story. And that was totally colorblind. They didn’t talk about it, which is sort of also what happened in Grey’s Anatomy for a long time. And actually also in Scandal, they didn’t talk about race well into like maybe the late in the first season, maybe the second season, sort of par for the course. But in the fourth episode, there’s this speech that is a very QandA speech. You know, Chris Van Dusen created the show and I think they did a really good job, mostly like doing Jane Austen is like, I’m pretty impressed. But there’s a couple moments that are pure Shonda moments. One is like the the speed sort of at the end when Daphne’s like, I’m tired of saying that I don’t love you. I love all of you. You’re not broken or damaged, which is one hundred percent. But Grey’s Anatomy, Pick Me, Choose Me, loves me speech and damaged and broken our Shanda’s favorite words. You’re like you just hopped right in here and did a little boop boop boop. You’re little monologue. And also in the fourth episode where we sort of get this explanation of why black people and white people are existing and sort of this upper echelons of British society. And it’s because the king of England who. Now, my dad had a love match with Queen Charlotte, and so black people have dukedoms and other titles and it sort of changed how the society operates. And I guess I just wondered, like, do we need that? Did we need that? Like, could it just have been colorblind? Didn’t need to be more explained to me, less explained. Like, I mean, I was like for me, like, who cares what I think about this basically. But I you know, I mean, I thought I was sort of interesting, but I also thought it was really fleeting and that it was just felt like a way to be like we just are going to not pretend. We just don’t know that this is the thing we’re doing. But like, let’s not talk about it too much, would you?

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S4: Yeah. Yeah. So I don’t think the show handled race very well at all. So, yeah, you’re right. Queen Charlotte is black, which is something that historians have known about for a while. She was believed to be black and so that kind of elevated everyone into this upper class position. But there are these moments where we see the side character, Marina Thompson, who is a cousin of the Featherstone’s, she is a mixed race black woman, comes to stay with them. And when she arrives, Lady Featherston, you know, is shocked to see this black girl come through the door. The reason why I think race was not handled well in the show, not only in the way that they brought it up and talked about it, because I’m going to come back to Simon’s father in a second. But the two women, the two black women that we see who are, I guess, sexual, shall we say, Marina and then the seamstress Dellacqua just Madame Dellacqua is the woman who does all the clothes.

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S1: And she sort of, as the season goes on, end up having a sexual relationship with the second Bridgton brother Benedikte, and she’s suspected of being a lady whistle down. I mean, we’re we have lots of things to talk about, so. Yes, but that’s that’s who she is. And she’s she is she’s like a sexually active woman of color who has a sort of French accent.

S4: Yes. Right. And in turn, yes. Yes. So these two women are also duplicitous. They have ulterior motives. They come to the show and there’s something, you know, Marina is again with spoiler. Right? Marina is hiding a pregnancy. Right. Madame Dellacqua is not French. She is, I don’t know, lower class English woman. But she puts on this accent in order to make a living. And she associates with the an opera singer that Anthony, the eldest brother, is sleeping with. And the opera singers are, you know, low class. They’re considered a step above sex workers and things like that. And then the other black woman on the show, Lady Denbury, who is Simon’s like godmother or mentor, she is older and therefore dissects. So all the black women are kind of pushed to the side in some way. So I do not particularly care for that at all.

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S3: Who could I go into? I know.

S1: But, you know, I think that like Marina in particular, one of the things about this conversation about like about how black character should be portrayed in fiction is like, do they have this obligation to be like always heroic and good and like role models? And I thought that Marina’s character actually like Daphne is also, you know, she’s she’s sort of is much more the heroine in some ways. But by the time she’s like maybe making her husband ejaculate inside of her to have a baby, like, we’re sort of getting on like she’s also up to her own weird things. And I just I actually sort of liked Marina because I’ve I thought she sort of ultimately remained sympathetic, like you understood why she was doing all the things she was doing, even as she’s like trying to get Colin Bridgton to marry her, even though she’s doing these sort of unethical things, they sort of kept like a core of decency to her. It felt like and I’m like the end, the sort of the sad end for her. There are not as many black female characters or even really, you know, black garbage in some way central to the show is that it sort of seems like there’s going to be and that’s kind of because the twins are sort of central to show and there’s like a billion of them. But it felt like they were like letting them just be messy. I mean, that’s like that is the whole Shonda thing is like everyone gets to be a disaster. Right?

S4: Right. Everyone has some shit with them. I understand that completely. But when you are used to seeing depictions of black teenage girls being pregnant and having to, like, lie to get ahead or something like that, it’s just like, again, I thought you were supposed to be refreshing. This kind of look. Is that is that in the book? Is that from the book? That storyline? Marina is much later in the series.

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S1: I haven’t read her book because I just wonder if almost I think I was saying, but I wonder if they almost got into a pickle where they’re like, we have these two family. Is the feathering tins and the Bridger ends, and they could have maybe made the feathering tins, they could have made one of them black, but like if they’re both white, then there’s like, how do you introduce other characters of color? Right. Because that’s like just a lot of people.

S4: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I don’t know, because I, I don’t even know if Marina gets a full story, but she just kind of comes in later for Eloise’s story, several books down the line. But I wanted to talk about Lady Denbury and Simon’s situation. So Simon’s secret is that he made a vow that he would never have any children. His his line would die with him because No. One, he has a stutter and no to his father was terrible to him. So he’s trying to spite his father even after his father has died. So I just feel like. I mean, I understand, like, I don’t really have an issue with that, but, you know, it’s it’s made into this really huge thing. And then when you find out kind of like what it is, it’s just like, huh, that’s stupid. You know, like it didn’t have I don’t think I don’t feel like it had the impact that it should have that that does. And yeah. When his vow. Yeah. And then we see him like when we see him pulling out all the time, it’s so comedic, it’s just sort of it is pretty funny.

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S1: I mean I think maybe we’re getting into this. So Daphne and the Duke get married and it’s sort of they’re both really Matvey burn for each other, you know, but they they have a lot of miscommunications. There’s like a whole duel that they sort of both think the other one’s marrying them out of a sense of obligation, which is not at all the case. It’s fully a love match. They finally start to bang and are, like, ecstatic about it. And there’s a lot of scenes of them, just like screwing all over the house outdoors and gazebos, like on kitchen tables with servants. I mean, just very you know, that’s what they’re doing. And then and he’s always pulling out. And the thing that she that she doesn’t know anything about sex, she literally has been taught absolutely nothing. So she has sort of agreed so well before they get married or right before she agrees to marry him. What about the stool? Simon says, like, I cannot have children. And she takes him at his word. Meaning like not you don’t want to have children. Are you swore this oath to like, you know, be cruel to your father who was so cruel to you, even though he’s dead, she literally thinks like he physically can’t and she doesn’t. But she also doesn’t understand what I can mean. She just like literally know anything about anything work. So he’s like constantly pulling out. She doesn’t understand that. That’s weird. Probably like that. That’s not weird. But that’s that he’s that’s what he’s doing. And at some point in sort of I think that I think, you know, the show also sort of in that episode, which is maybe episode five or six, to have him have a lot of work to do. You know, he gets really busy with work and he’s like he’s like trying to manage his estate. And I think what they were trying to say there, but they didn’t like really hammer it is like, oh, look, he’s a man. So he has a job and she’s supposed to have a job which is taking care of her children. But you don’t have any. So she’s bored all day. And, like, she just she needs a family, like, that’s what a woman of her of her, like, status in class is supposed to do. And he’s busy and she’s bored and she’s like, oh, no, I don’t want to not have children. And then she realizes Lauren’s basically teaches herself that it’s not that he can’t it’s that he won’t watch, you know, I mean, that might be a distinction without a difference, but it’s not a distinction without a difference to her, at which point she fucks him and makes him come inside her, which he does does like. Pretty I mean, he does, he does, and this has been a sort of point of controversy like, you know, did Daphne rape the Duke of Hastings? Is it rape adjacent? I mean, it’s definitely ethically complex, but I think that one of the things that’s sort of clear from the show’s point of view is that his desire not to have children is bullshit, kind of like like he made the vow and he meant the vow. But, you know, at no point do you did I really believe the show was like, yeah, he’s not going to have kids and fuck up his whole marriage. It was like, obviously he’s going to get on board with her plan because it’s like that. That’s the nature of what this is and that’s part of how they’re playing it. And he does. And that and that maybe maybe goes to what you’re saying, which is like there is a way it seems silly because you just kind of never believe.

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S4: You’re like you’re not you’re not for real about this, right, and you know that seeing what happens is she gets her confidence that she you know, she’s gone to her, made to figure out like what’s what’s supposed to be happening because her mother refuses to tell her anything. No one has told her anything, like you said, which I found again, unbelievable like this. Her mother has had eight children.

S3: So clearly she found it unbelievable.

S1: I believe that’s just like a real trope of like this moment of like that. Like maybe it’s not for maybe it’s not real. Like maybe she would have known, but I think.

S3: I don’t know, I bought that, I bought that about that. No, like your mom had eight kids.

S4: You have like five younger siblings. Somebody had to, like, give you a hint as to how they were coming about number one. Number two, your younger sister, Louise, is like this very well, Rick’s smart young lady. All the books that she’s reading, all this stuff that she’s exposed to and just like kind of going out and being her own little feminist baby sister, nothing that she read talks about, you know, copulation, I guess.

S3: I don’t know.

S1: I thought that part was like I thought that was right, which is like they’re so modern in this way, but they’re also so sheltered. Like no one wants to tell them anything, like they want them to be like like the fact that her like making out with the Duke in the like the reason they sort of the the Duke and her brother Anthony get in this duel because her honor has been besmirched, not because they had sex, because they tongued enough like a garden for like two minutes. You know, like that’s the level at which, like, people are protecting these ladies virginity.

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S4: I get it. I know. But still, before her father passed, I’m sure she had to see her parents kissing and, like, sneaking touches or something because we hear about how affectionate they were around the house. And that’s especially detailed in the books. Like they’re the siblings constantly talk about the love and affection that they saw between their parents. And that’s part of the reason that they, too, want a love match. So in the books, we have this kind of background for why they want love so much. So, again, I think that’s something that kind of slipped through the cracks with the adaptation. So we don’t have that. And again, there’s this woman who has had eight children and she’s very shy to talk about sex with her eldest daughter. That does not. It does that make sense to me, especially if we are trying to refresh the story and make it more palatable to an audience who may not be familiar or overly familiar with romance, particularly historical romances, and who you’re watching it because as QandA and you know, there’s going to be some sex. So I feel like that’s kind of moving away. I don’t think it did a great job of kind of pulling in an outside audience, although many people love it.

S3: But on the outside audience, like, well, I didn’t know any of that and I bought that part like that didn’t bother me. I like that then. Like, I, I well, that’s OK.

S1: Yes, but you were saying, you were saying like that that is also part of what made you just feel like. You didn’t buy it like the whole the whole tension around, like the oath and like any of it, you were like, she knows what you just felt.

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S4: Yeah. Yeah. Which is what happens in any type of adaptation from book to screen. Right. That a lot of the interiority gets lost as we try to just like get the story and not have voice overs or things like that. So, you know, some of that gets, you know, lady whistle down. We hear some of that in her asides and the things that she’s doing when she’s narrating. We hear a little bit of it, like between the lines of what she’s saying, but we don’t get all of it.

S1: Well, let’s let’s talk about lady wisdom. But I just want to say just one other thing, which is that one of the things I think that this may be from the book, but that I really appreciated about the show is that it it has like it has the regular arc of a story like this, which is like from meeting to marriage. And that’s only really like halfway of the first season. And then it does all this other four episodes. We’re like just even from a conventionality cliche like story arc perspective, like as the audience especially you haven’t read the books, you actually don’t really like know what’s going to happen. Like, you know, in that first episode you’re like you you crazy kids are getting married. Like that’s that’s like just for ordained. Right. And they do it, they try to do it in a dramatic way, whatever. But like it’s inevitable, the inevitable they’re going to like, really love each other and have great sex, whatever. Like that’s through episode four. But then, you know, the show like kind of does. It’s unclear what they’re going to do it after the happily ever after, and I appreciated that about the show like I liked they didn’t drag it out. I like that it was like kind of going way too fast or one of these kind of things. And that, you know, I think and we’ll talk about this, too, a little bit. My sense is that the way the series works is it starts with a whole new couple. I mean, in this world, but each each book, each season is about a whole new couples. That means like we really just did the story of the Duke and Duchess of Hastings and we did the whole thing. And I was eight episodes in like that meant they could be sort of surprising and weird. And I dugit. I like really likes that. It wasn’t just what I thought it was going to be from like the first episode. But let’s let’s play to whistle down it. So I just I’m just going to like do a little spiel about maybe like all these other people in this world. So basically we have Daphne and the Duke of Hastings, but they’re and they’re sort of like they’re like the most high profile gossip in like of the season in the Tonn. Like, they’re they’re they’re like the major couple. But there’s all these other people trying to, like, get together and get married in this social media and sort of our. Cast of characters is the Bridgeton family, which I did not realize until literally the last episode when they’re that, you know, their child is born and the Duke says, like, well, they must start with the letter A. that all the Bridgton children are named in alphabetical order. But they are. Yes. And there’s Anthony and Benedict and Colin and Louie and Daphne and Louise and Francesca and a George, you know, like it goes on and on. But they get littler and littler. And then across the street from them live the fathering twins who are basically like they’re less happily married, like they’re sort of avaricious, like you’re not supposed to like lady fathering. And she’s kind of like a bitch and and incomes Murena. She doesn’t really understand why they’re taking care of her. It’s because Lord Heatherington is totally broke, because he’s a degenerate gambler and he’s trying to, you know, hopefully basically owes her dad a favor. But she Murena is much more beautiful than the other her three daughters. So she’s like sort of mimics the father. Intense, but the three fathering twins are two of them who are like the ugly stepsister is basically and then Penelope, who is best friends with Alawi’s, who is the feminist Bridgton. Right. Younger than Daphne and really doesn’t want to do seasons and go out, but is like and wants to go her own way and becomes obsessed with discovering who Lady Whistle Down is. And Lady Whistle Down is like, you know, the blogger about whatever that’s so low class, like the gossip columnists about, about this MLU. And so all these people are like bumping around each other. And also the older brother Anthony is having sex with an opera singer slash like almost courtesan who he loves and can really, you know, get over it. So those women are like the people that are constantly being gossiped about by Lady Whistle Down. And Alawi’s becomes obsessed with figuring out who lady with Low-down is now. This is just a question for you, which of these people did you find the most annoying? I have a lead to that. I found incredibly annoying and I could pick one of them especially, but I found a couple of them real annoying.

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S4: I don’t know that I necessarily found anyone annoying, that I didn’t care for them, but I loved Louise and Penelope, like, you know. Oh, really? Yeah, I love their friendship. I loved that Penelope was so cutting and smart and sharp. And she is overlooked because she is the baby sister and she’s, you know, a little chubby dumpling. And so nobody thinks that she’s beautiful when she is clearly like the most beautiful of her sisters. And she is just I just love her. I love Penelope so much as she. So she has a crush on Colin. Right. Who’s the third Bridgton brother, right? Yes. And Marina and Colin at some point end up engaged together, engaged because Marina has to get married quickly and Penelope is devastated from that. But out of all of it, there’s no one that I was particularly annoyed with except Anthony. I found Anthony. I guess I could say Anthony was annoying. There was nothing to endear me to him because he was awful to the woman, the opera singer whose name I forgot and I’m sorry. I think her name is Sienna. Yes, yes, yes, Sienna. He was terrible to her. And we were supposed to believe that he was in love with her, but he couldn’t like cross class lines. But he was just he was terrible to her.

S1: So I found Anthony to be, like, unbearably annoying. And also, I mean, they set him up badly because basically at the beginning of the show, sort of the thing that sort of sets Daphne and the Duke of Hastings relationship in motion is that her brother, Anthony, whose father had died, is now the new sort of head of the family, has kind of taken it upon himself to over control who she gets engaged to, like he rejects everybody and picks only like this real loser who it’s so unkind of him to make his sister marry him, this toolbox. And so he’s just like controlling and doesn’t get it. And that’s like how we meet him. And then he also is this dunderhead with this woman, Sienna, who he, you know, adores but like keeps leaving and then going back to when she has her life in order and is just like he’s just a jerk and a mess. And I found him, like, pretty. Aggravating and I really hope the next season is not about him, although we ended the season.

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S4: Well, if it yeah, yeah. If they’re going in order, it’s about Ben, I mean, it’s about Anthony. So the first book is Daphne.

S3: Well, maybe he’ll be more interesting.

S1: He might be more likely as a good love interest. I don’t know. He was really annoying and I actually also found Alawi’s annoying. But I thought that that was like a plodding problem. Like I just found that that for a lot of the other characters who weren’t the sort of the two protagonists, they had the a lot of them, like, run in place. They were like, this is the thing that this character does and this character is going to do it now like four episodes in a row. So like Louise is going to give a lot of speeches every episode about how, like, she doesn’t want to have to go out into society, how she wants to be able to do her own thing, how like she’s not the perfect sister and like, just repeat, repeat, repeat until until she becomes obsessed with finding out the identity of lady whistle down. So I do want to talk a little, but but has to do that. So Louise becomes obsessed with finding out the identity of Lady was slow down. And in this she is joined by Queen Charlotte. And one of the things that the most hilarious about the show to me is just like how much the queen is just like out there. Like she’s not like like she’s like rubbing shoulders with everyone.

S3: Like she’s just like fully in the mix in a way that you’re like she’s the queen.

S1: Like intermittently they act like she’s the queen and them just like otherwise just have her showing up to everything, like talking to whether she wants. I’m just like she’s like too she’s too in here, you know what I mean.

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S3: Yeah. It’s fun for the actress, but she’s. Yeah. Like I did that didn’t bother me too much.

S4: I mean I too wondered like is this historically accurate as much as it can be, because I just thought, oh definitely not.

S3: It can’t be right.

S4: Because it’s always like this whole protocol and like a chain that you have to go through in order to see the queen. But I guess you just want to. But I guess they explained it because they talked about how bored she is. Right. Because her husband, you know, I guess he has dementia or, you know, is is. Yeah, I don’t know. I just kind of like losing his mind a bit, losing his faculties. So they talk about how bored she is and that’s why she is so involved.

S1: So I guess that excuse is it I mean, that’s like the whole thing about the show is like they do a lot of like gesturing at like just good enough explanations and it’s totally fine, like it worked for me. I’m like, I get it. Like you’re just doing it just a good enough explanation. But then you’re just also just doing whatever you want. Like it doesn’t really make any sense, but it’s fine. Like she’s she’s bored. So she’s going to like be talking to this like junior Bridgton sister on the regular like no she’s not but. Okay. Right. But they, but she, but she sort of becomes obsessed with the queen also wants to know who lady was down is because lady was so down basically is like just causing trouble and spreading gossip and like blowing up everyone’s stuff all the time. And they’re like. She doesn’t like it. So what do you make at the end of the show, we like learn the identity of Lady Whistle Down after Eloise has spent all this time, you know, trying to figure out like Vicki gets a servant and having the servant being like, are you kidding? We don’t have enough time thinking it’s the modest, but it’s not until finally she started this last minute moment. She thinks she’s going to find a lady whistle down. And so the line is, as is the queen. And she you know, she tells Lady Whistle, then it’s a trap and lady whistle down identity we don’t see leaves. And then at the sort of in the very last moment of the show, we realize who Lady Whistle Down is. And what did you make of that particular reveal?

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S4: It made sense to me. Like, I haven’t I haven’t gotten to the point in the series where Lady will sit down is revealed. But it is she is revealed maybe I think halfway through, from my understanding, if I but I’m not in the book. But in the end, the book series, not in the first book with Daphne and Simon, but like at some point. But I, I thought it made sense. It was fine. I was I wasn’t shocked, you know, I didn’t have like this gasp moment where I was just like, how could it. Because I felt very I don’t want to say it so obvious. I don’t really think that there was anything pointing to her identity. So I did. Penelope, the reveal is Penelope, right? Right. It’s Penelope. But it makes sense because, again, people ignore her all the time. They just talk over her because she belongs to this family that people kind of just tolerate. She is not considered a beauty of the first water or whatever like Daphne is. And even we should also say that all of the bridge items are considered like the most beautiful people. And in the time, like in all of the country, there’s supposed to be so beautiful, which, you know, whatever all that’s about. But it makes sense. So people are probably just dropping all kinds of secrets, talking over her, forgetting that she’s in the room, you know, she’s able to leave in order to go write this stuff up and have it printed. She has she probably has been saving her money in order to pay for the printing, you know, because whatever.

S1: Yeah, I thought there was a couple interesting things about it. I coincidentally just like watched the first episode after I’d seen the last one and the moment that the that Daphne and Simon walk in to the ball from sort of making their pact to fake it, she’s the first person that they see. And I thought, like, oh, they probably knew this the whole time. And I bet if you went and watched the show, there would be like some nice little, you know, Easter eggs that she is that she was lady whistle down the whole time. So one of the sort of dramatic B storylines midway through the season is that Marina, who is the pregnant charge of staying with the feathering, tends gets Colin Bridgton to propose to her. He’s in love with her and she’s she’s pregnant, but she’s hoping to marry him and then have the baby and sort of have her reputation be saved. And basically so Penelope is as heartbroken about this. And we see all of this because she’s in love with Colin and she feels extremely conflicted that, like, Marina is going to marry Colin and then have this baby and sort of make him look terrible. And she doesn’t come out and just flat out tell Colin at any point that Marina is pregnant and you see her just being tortured about it. And in the show, in the middle lady whistle down, then suddenly out of nowhere tells everybody that Marina is pregnant. Right. And the show like no one’s like, how does anyone like it’s a pretty good secret, but they’re like someone a TradeSports. I mean, that’s why I think why Louise decides it must be a tradesperson like who knows everyone secrets. But now in retrospect, we know. Right, that like good Penelope like who was so conflicted about Marina and Colin actually totally just put Marina like basically sat like her love for Colin or her defense of Colin was so much greater than whatever, you know, or she felt for Marina that she told everybody then Marina was pregnant, which is actually pretty. Not that kind. Not not that one Marina was doing with that kind. But it’s sort of interesting because Penelope seems what we see of her is very sweet. And a lot of what Louise is selling to her, the whole sort of season is like, we’re going to find out lady whistle down and then we’re going to save your family’s reputation. But the person who tanked her family’s reputation is her right. Like Lady Whistle Down and Penelope are the same. And they did it.

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S4: Yeah, she sabotage her own family in order to save Colin and save the possibility of maybe being with him, even though she can’t even get the nerve up to tell him her feelings for him. You know, and he’s still very much sees her as a little sister as well. So there is no it was a huge risk on Penelope’s part and. We won’t know if it pays off until that at a few books down the line. Right.

S1: Also, like I think we could tell that she doesn’t know everything. Like, that’s the other thing about Lady Whistle Down is like a whistle, though. Never knows that Daphne and Simon are playing everybody like she she knows a lot, but like we know more than she does.

S4: Right. Right. And I mean, there’s no way she could know everything, you know. And I don’t even know if she knows her family’s financial situation because, again, that’s something like her mother didn’t know until it was until they were denied at the M.D. that they had all these debts. And so she went to confront her husband. So stuff like that, that makes sense to me because I do understand that. People will hide money, people don’t like to talk about money. People will hide a financial straits. So that makes sense to me that you think gathering 10 is dead. Do you think Godfather and kids? No, I don’t think he’s dead. I think. I think he was beaten up. Yes. And he probably ran away someplace or maybe someone, like, carted him off. But there was no body any time. There’s no body, obviously, somebody could come back. Yes. But I don’t want to talk about something else that Louise and the second brother Benedict. So in the trailer for the show and in like just the scuttlebutt there, there was this idea that one of the bridge attendees are maybe more than one of the Bridgton siblings was queer, and that because everyone is straight in the books. Right. All of the siblings you get with have a hetero marriage. So there was this idea that, of course, Sandilands standard stuff, this is all going to be turned around and Elway’s and Benedikte often find each other late at night, just kind of like in the quiet they’re sitting in, like the swings of a cigarette. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, they’re sneaking off having these moments where they’re talking in this code together about how they don’t want to follow the expectations and they’re trying to avoid, you know, they’re trying to figure out how they can be their true selves. And so it’s all very coded. And like one of them may come out and Benedict goes to this, you know, party he goes to he meets up with this artist and he goes to the artist’s house. I can’t remember the artist’s name, but he goes and it’s basically an orgy. Like everyone’s having sex and there’s drugs and, you know, all this kind of stuff. And Benitec has a threesome. And then he goes and he looks for the host, his friend, and he sees that this guy is making love to another man. And so he’s shocked or whatever. And you’re kind of like, is he shocked or is he, like, afraid of his own feelings that are coming out?

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S1: I mean, that’s the whole thing seemed to me like I just kept waiting for Benedict and that guy to get together or to have sex. And I assume they will next season. Like, I just think it was like a slow. Like that just seemed so clearly like where that was going and then but they actually did one thing, I did find a historical even though after saying, like, I don’t mind so much, the historicity is Benedikte after seeing that has starts to be a little mean to the like. They he he sort of shuns him in public and then they have a private conversation, sort of, I mean also in public, but just the two of them where he’s like, like how could you. And I think that’s totally ahistorical. I think like firstly they wouldn’t have talked about it if they would have talked about it. Like, I just like that stuff was always happening. And it’s just like they were all like men were also married and it was like, fine. And also for the the man you’ve been speaking to, to say, like, do you know what it’s like to be in a room with someone you love, but you can’t even speak to them and you’re like you’re having a private conversation with this other man right now? Why can’t you like no one? That’s not how people think. We’re thinking about things like actually, you could just one hundred percent hide in plain sight. I just found all of that like very sort of like of the now like tension that didn’t need to be brought to that in a way that also sort of made the story seem less like sexy and interesting. Like, I assume those guys are going to get it on like at some point. And that will be like he’ll be bisexual and that will be like a fun storyline, you know?

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S4: Yeah. I just felt I was like, is this is this a little bit of a queer baiting situation, which I thought was a little unfair? You know, it doesn’t pay off.

S1: You’re totally right. If it doesn’t pay off, your right is a queer. I think it is going to pay off, though. I could be wrong.

S4: I hope so. Like, I know I don’t know that the the artist guy, he didn’t seem like he was going to come back, you know, I guess because he was so minor for right now, it just didn’t seem like he was anchored into the cast.

S1: So, yeah, maybe they’ll give him somebody else. Maybe like maybe I think I think you’re right. Like, it is just it’s too boring for them all to be straight. And there are so many people, like, they just have to mix it up a little more. I just think they. Yeah, but wait, do you want to like for a second to talk about the two leads again, like did you think they were good performers. Like I just I really I guess I’m I’m I do want to talk about Taverne, but mostly I just want to ask what you thought of the Duke and like in a first way, like, did he do it? Like what? What do you think?

S4: OK, so I thought he was very handsome. I thought they did an amazing job of showing how a woman can desire a man like Daphne was looking at him like a spoon while he’s eating his ice cream. You know, she is like panting, watching him roll up, roll up his sleeves and show his forearms. I love that. I thought that was very well done. I did not really think that they had chemistry. I did not think that they had romantic chemistry. And maybe that is part of the reason why I think the love scenes did not work for me. Another reason that I felt the romance seems the love scenes felt awkward is because Daphne looked so young. I didn’t feel you know, I understand that she was supposed to be young. She’s probably like right at maybe eighteen for us now, you know, that kind of thing. But it just it made me feel very uncomfortable to see that age difference. And we’re still just supposed to be like it’s a love match, which again, I know that does happen. I know that it happened in the past. I understand that. But I just I just did not want to see this teenage girl or this woman who looks like a teenage girl, just kind of in ecstasy. So it just felt it just made me feel very uncomfortable. But the Duke of Hastings, Simon, very handsome. I the eyebrow arched. Yes, OK, do it.

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S1: Have you have you seen Philby’s love? Have you seen Sylves love the movie. FILBY Yes. So he’s in Sylves love and he is he’s like he has a whole theory that like on his ears are sticking out.

S3: He’s not hot, like he is just a goofy and so bizarre, goofy, goofy, goofy, like he’s a good actor. I think he’s so goofy in that movie.

S1: You would just be like, there is no way you’re going to pull off just like smoulder. And he does. So, yeah, absolutely love if you want to see him in a whole year.

S4: But he’s still very much like a lover, you know. Yeah, I still love like, you know, he’s still very much a character there, but and that’s the thing. So Sylves Love did a really good job of having this love story featuring black people where race and discrimination was still a part of their lives. But it was not the central focus of their lives. And their lives were not like built around racism. And, you know, they weren’t finding love despite racism. They weren’t like struggling through that or whatever. So I feel like still his love did a really good job of nodding to the fact that black people, you know, kind of go through some shit, but they still fall in love. I don’t think that Bridgton really did a good job of acknowledging. Race and racism beyond just like a little like a little like it’s there, but you all know it because you’re twenty first century people, you know what the audience knows, but we’re in it. We don’t need to say anything about it.

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S1: Right. It’s like a little it was a little too cute in the sense of being like they explain it, but then they’re like and they explain it and they obviously like because it’s sort of frothy confection like don’t really want to be having major characters like being racist and Parap and also like that, as you say, like it’s like black people get to fall in love and not have to have it all be like suffering and pain all the time. But that but there is like a disconnect where like not everybody would just be cool with this. Right. Like there’s there’s some reality here where, like you’ve explained it, it’s this new thing, but everyone’s just like totally fine with like the status changes. Like, it doesn’t it doesn’t it’s not like you’re like now there would be more consequences that are more Feltham than what the show wants to get into.

S4: Right. So, like, you know, Lady Brethren’s and her. Beef with Marina, like, is it because Marina is mixed race or is it just because she is so much more beautiful than her daughters or like what is it? It’s never acknowledged. We don’t know exactly. We just know that she looks at her like, oh, God, you’re going to be a pain in my ass. And she treated terribly throughout the series. So like it would be nice if they just call the thing a thing, you know? So I would have appreciated that. But to the third stuff. Yes, the Duke, very handsome. Anthony is very handsome. Anthony is very Anthony is very handsome. The middle brother is handsome. I’ve seen a lot of tweets where people like I can’t tell any of these boys apart, like they all look alike, which is obviously the point because they in the book, I think they’re all redheads really correctly. So I think I think. But yeah, obviously that’s the point. But Colin is handsome, but you can tell that he’s still very young, you know, so you can’t for me, as somebody over 40, I just like I’m just not going to look at him, you know, like so everyone past like younger than Colin. I’m just like I guess they’re cute. I don’t know. I wonder if they’re going to age the characters as they get to get to those respective siblings, like in the books, because obviously in the books they once we get to their love story, they’re older. So I’m interested in seeing how the characters change because Penelope, she what she has in this first series, she is the cute, chubby daughter. She kind of loses that baby fat, so to speak. And she’s still very svelte, you know, but she is not a. Talked about in the same way, you know, the language is not the same for her, so I’m I I would like to see her stay the same and that we see someone who is, you know, got some curves on her and somebody falls head over heels in love with her.

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S1: I would like to see that it does feel like they’re like we have a ton of show here if you want it. You know what I mean? Like, we’ve got eight siblings and they’re little like, yeah, I think they would age them up like they do in soap operas where it’s like one day they just show up and they’re like. This character is now played by another actor, 20 years old. You know what I was really like? What it feels like. There’s a lot of runway. I mean, I, I do think it’s just like like I think it’s a really solid premise for a show. What could I do? Like, there’s like every year we’ll just tell a love story. They’ll be like more sex than you would expect and like they’ll talk like it’s in Jane Austen. And I’m just like I love that stuff. Like I love Pride and Prejudice. I’m psyched about that. I really work for me better than you, obviously.

S3: Yeah.

S4: I mean, the thing I like this show is no, I didn’t feel like seeing a role. I like seeing this kind of romance on screen. I like that Netflix is kind of doing this whole romance department, you know, for like they’re adapting all these different series. I like that because I like Sweet Magnolias. I love that show. And it typically would not be something that I would have read. I’m probably not going to read the books, but I loved the series on Netflix. I watched Virgin River, which I read the first book. And it’s not, again, something that I would typically read because I do not like closed door romances. Right. I don’t like where the romance is, like the sex is hinted at and then the fade to black situation, which is what Virgin River is in the title. Yeah, but on screen I was like, oh, this is kind of me I like. I like this. So I, I appreciate what Netflix is doing. Bridget did not wow me, but I watched the whole thing. I have gone back and watched pieces of it again, not just to talk about but just to be like, OK, did I do. Am I remembering this correctly? Let me go back and look at it. Yeah, it’s something that I can’t see myself putting on just to have background noise. Like if I’m doing something else, maybe. Yeah, but I do think that once we get into the other books, the show will pick up and it will be better, you know.

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S1: So you was like you think it’s like the main couple just like really kind of didn’t do it for you.

S4: Yeah. Yeah. And I think I’ve seen a few people talk about this as well. But I think, you know, a problem with Hollywood right now is just saying that, oh, these two good looking people, that’ll be enough. And we can put them together to make a love story. And if there’s not, the chemistry is not there. It’s not going to feel good to the audience and their relationship, their chemistry did not feel good. Also, I think people still think that women just want to see straight. Women just want to see, like, male ass. And it’s like, no, there has to be more like, yes, give us give us the muscles or whatever that, you know, whatever we want. We want to look at something. But also there needs to be some finesse to it. And I don’t think that there was that much finesse that was that much like heat between them.

S1: Yeah, it just right. It was like extended scenes of like the same stuff. Kind of.

S4: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m trying to think of some other like historical is that I think could be good. The author, Alice Nicole, she has a great historical romance series with like women who are civil war spies. You know, I it’s fantastic. I would love to see that adapted. Gosh, she has some other stuff that are kind of like another series of like a little futuristic royalty, Africa royalty, people finding love. That is like a really great mix of people. That would be great. So there are a lot of options out there. Obviously, you have people like Nora Roberts and Senator Brown who are really good at romantic thrillers. I would love to see that Nora Roberts has it was just announced that Alyssa Milano is about to do Star in. Yeah. Star in a adaptation of Nora Roberts book Brazen Virtue. Going to go look it up right now. Yeah, but anyway, not to take away from the Bridgton, but Bridgton was fine for me. I’m glad that people like it. I’m glad that it’s gotten a second season.

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S1: We’re like we’re almost out of time. But I’m curious, like, do you like the other Shonda shows like.

S4: Did you like Scandal or Graves or so I watched the first season of scandal. I did. I don’t watch Grey’s. I’m not really into medical shows. It’s really. Yeah. Yeah, totally. Yeah. But I love Station 19 and I get annoyed. Yeah, I get annoyed when I they do the crossover, but I love love station 19.

S1: Yeah. I was curious because I just think, you know, it’s like the show is both like it comes from, like it has like a romance. Context, and then it also just has like the QandA context, and I think a lot of the things that maybe you think didn’t work like feel very Shaan that to me, you know, where it’s like like just some of this is really like just the stuff she is interested in, which are kind of like everyone’s supposed to be fucked up, but not too much like just like I love a genre show for a lot of the things that she does. But there’s the kind of areality that she’s interested in is is pretty consistent. And I think you see it here where it’s like a lot of talk about people being damaged and broken and maybe like doing unethical things, but like it goes down super easy, you know, like it’s not like it. Even when it’s dark, it’s light. And and that’s that’s really a lot of that’s here, along with a lot of other you know, the one thing the show didn’t have, which is like a super is like the most QandA. Emma is a mistress. And I mean, there were some mistresses, but they were not the protagonists. And I’ll be interested to see what happens because, like, that’s I mean, that’s like her favorite thing to do.

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S4: So, yeah. And I love a good juicy primetime soap opera, like I grew up on Dallas and Knot’s Landing and Dynasty and stuff like that. As a matter of fact, I am watching Dallas and I am loving it and eating it with a spoon because it’s so ridiculous. But it’s I don’t know maybe. Yeah, I guess I’m not too wild about all of the Shonda isms. I don’t know, because I watched how to get away with murder. I watched the first couple of seasons of that. And then I think I just I think I got tired of seeing the same thing. And so maybe maybe that’s my issue. But station, it would be the end of our conversation.

S1: I’ve written with a plug for Station 19. And then also I was really interested to hear the romance novels that you think should be adopted in our good. I’m going to come up. This is really fun. Thank you so much.

S4: Yeah. Thank you for having me.

S5: That’s our show. Please subscribe to the Slate spoiler special podcast feed. And if you like the show, please rate and review it in the Apple podcast or whatever. You get your podcast. If you have suggestions for movies or TV shows, we should spoil your view of any other feedback you like to share. Please send it to spoilers and Playboy.com. Our producer is Morgan Flannery for Nicole Perkins. I’m Willa Paskin. Thank you for listening.