Bridgerton

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Bridgerton TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Sex, nudity, smoking in sumptuous, diverse period drama.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 34 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 59 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Positive themes include respect for obligations and duties (particularly to one's family), the concept of honor, and living up to the standards set by society. Lots of talk about characters' "place" and what's expected of them, without much criticism of regressive standards such as pinning a woman's value on how rich a husband she can attract. 

Positive Role Models

Characters are diverse in terms of race and ethnicity (very unusual for period drama). Characters of color have money and power; both White characters and characters of color are in service to the wealthy, which the drama accepts uncritically -- servants don't get their own storylines, they're shown toiling happily. Women are expected to attract and marry wealthy men; lots more talk about finances than love or kindness. Characters with a royal title are automatically considered more important. A character with a larger body type is criticized frequently. Even very slim characters wear corsets so tight they leave bloody marks. A woman is told to put down a book lest it "confuse your thoughts" (in scene clearly meant to be satirical). Other women are terrified of being caught alone with men lest they be "ruined" (see "Sex" topic). 

Violence

Characters hit each other in the face in some scenes -- a woman when a man aggressively tries to grab her (perhaps intending rape), and an older woman hits a younger woman when it's discovered that the latter is pregnant. One character practices boxing; we see bare-knuckled matches frequently. 

Sex

Sex scenes are frequent, frank, lengthy. Characters have sex standing up against a tree or on couches or beds with suggestive movements and noises; male and female buttocks are visible (if often obscured by distance or drapery). Bodies are shown nude, with many bare breasts seen (but genitals covered). Both men and women are eager for sex, and time is spent on pleasure for both; male and female bodies are displayed equally. Masturbation and oral sex are implied. Suggestion of a threesome. Expect to see both same-sex and male-female couples kissing, flirting. Heavy focus on romance, marriage, children, as well as storylines revolving around unexpected pregnancy. Both male and female characters talk about women being "ruined," having "light skirts," or being "loose" if they're even suspected of being with men without a chaperone. 

Language

Cursing includes "bitches," "f--k," "f--king." Insults are used to shame women sexually: "loose," "ruined," while men who are sexually active are called a "rake." 

Consumerism

Camera lingers on finery: lavish gowns of satin, silk, velvet; characters talk about ruby or diamond jewelry; estates are sprawling, horses and servants are numerous. A character is insulted for having a "mere four-figure dowry." Characters with a noble title like "duke" or "earl" are automatically considered more important than those without titles. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several characters smoke cigarettes (an anachronism), as well as cigars; one character showily consumes snuff. Characters drink at parties and gatherings and sometimes drink to the point of sloppiness and aggression. One character drinks covertly from a flask but doesn't act drunk. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bridgerton is a soapy series set in Regency-era England based on the novels by Julia Quinn. It follows a cast of upper-crust characters involved in society dramas and dilemmas. In an unusual but welcome move for period dramas, the cast is diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, with people of color represented in every strata of society, from nobles to servants. Expect plenty of explicit sex scenes, including partial nudity (breasts, bottoms), implied masturbation and oral sex, multiple partners, suggestive movements/noises, and passionate kissing by both same-sex and male-female couples. Sexual politics is also a complicating factor in the drama: Upper-class women are shamed for being alone with men and called "loose" or "ruined" as a result. Meanwhile, men have sexual affairs and mistresses and are called nothing worse than "rake." One storyline involves an unplanned pregnancy. Several characters smoke cigarettes and one uses snuff; characters also drink, sometimes to excess. Violence includes very physical boxing matches, and characters hit each other violently during disagreements, and duel (with guns). The characters are very wealthy, with expensive parties/dinners, elegant clothing, precious gems, huge estates, and servants (who are universally loyal and enthusiastic about their jobs) ostentatiously on display. A character with a larger body type is insulted for her appearance; women are often laced into very tight corsets that leave bloody marks on their skin. Characters talk about marrying for love, but they also automatically consider anyone who's rich or who has a noble title to be more important. Cursing includes "bitches" and "f--k."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJoelle Z. January 25, 2021

Netflix does it again *some spoilers at the end*

So I’m a 21 year old college student who felt the intense need to write a review of this series to warn others who maybe interested. First of all, as an adult f... Continue reading
Adult Written byThe Good Life January 6, 2021

Learn from my mistake

Heard rave reviews from friends, so we gave it a shot. Literally was looking up the Common Sense reviews as my husband turned it on. Just as I read the first pa... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bysanemiikoo January 8, 2021

I HAVE... MUCH TO SAY

First of all.. I very much liked, um no loved this TV show. It is not like the period dramas that we are used to see, like Pride&Prejudice or Little Wom... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byhippo_critical January 2, 2021

DO NOT WATCH THIS WITH YOUR PARENTS

My mom and I watched the trailer for this and thought that it looked really good. MISTAKE! There was a lot of sex and nudity and it was pretty weird to watch wi... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on Julia Quinn's series of romance novels, BRIDGERTON is set in England in 1813, where reigning Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) is a dark-skinned woman whose multiracial heritage paved the way for other people of color in the "ton" (think of it as the Regency-era's one-percenters). Our story picks up as Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of a powerful, rich, and connected clan, is set to make her society debut. Her family has high hopes that she'll attract a prestigious (and rich!) husband. But a series of missteps -- as well as the overzealous chaperoning of her older brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) -- cause her popularity to plummet. First, a distant cousin of the "tasteless, tactless" Featherington family arrives to steal her thunder: It seems that the beautiful Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker) is the most sought-after debutante of the season. Next, Daphne rubs the most eligible bachelor, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), the wrong way at a party, causing a stir. But when the Duke and Daphne formulate a secret plan that solves both of their biggest problems, they embark on a path that will lead both of them into complications they never intended. And it's all chronicled by Lady Whistledown (the voice of Julie Andrews), the all-seeing, all-knowing Gossip Girl of Bridgerton's world. 

Is it any good?

Sumptuous costuming and sets, swoon-worthy sex scenes, and an admirable decision to simply ignore the blinding Whiteness of Regency-era society make this series a potent treat for romantics. The pleasures of Bridgerton are many, and fans of Downton Abbey and Jane Austen will be in heaven soaking it all up. There's the usual: handsome footmen, trotting horses, sprawling estates, family drama that plays out in rooms with brocaded walls and extensive silver tea sets. But although period dramas like Downton pretended that its lords and ladies were too genteel for steamy sex, Bridgerton does no such thing, with a commendable focus on both male and female pleasure. 

It is disappointing, however, that Bridgerton skims so lightly over the gender, socioeconomic, and racial politics of the era. Granted, there's an in-universe reason why its society is multiracial, but we never hear much about how Queen Charlotte's (Golda Rosheuvel) biracial background contributes to her struggle to lead her kingdom, or how the formidable Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) became a society maven. The servants are universally loyal and devoted to their rich employees, and though Bridgerton's female characters sometimes chafe under the notion that their value is connected to marriage and children, the amount of time we spend examining that notion versus the screen time granted to scenes of romance displays where Bridgerton's heart really lies. It all adds up to a drama that's delicious and enjoyable, but a bit empty for all its beauty. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Bridgerton's multiracial universe, which is very different from the all-White cast that populates most dramas. In Bridgerton's world, diversity seems to be accepted and not remarked upon much. Do you prefer this approach, or would you rather dig into the racial and ethnic politics of this world? Do the characters of color have as much screen time as White characters? Are their storylines as complicated and central? How does race and ethnicity play into their character, if it does?

  • Compare the number of servants in this film to the number of nobles. How many people had to labor for noble/royal characters to live lives of ease? What things did the upper-crust characters have done for them that average people do for themselves? Are the servants given storylines of their own in Bridgerton? What about non-noble characters? Why do you think this choice was made? 

  • Bridgerton is produced by Shonda Rhimes' production company Shondaland, which also helmed shows like Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder. How are Shondaland's shows similar or different from each other? Is there a distinctive stamp on her shows?  

  • Does the amount of sex, drinking, and smoking in this series seem realistic for its time period? Why, or why not? Do period dramas frequently contain sex scenes and nudity? 

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