Can we talk abut Bridgerton on Netflix for a moment?
Some of the criticism coming about season 2 is that there isn’t enough sex. Not enough graphic, raunchy sex scenes to satisfy all the new people who have discovered Romancelandia (a term coined by those people who religiously read romance novels). Or that those not affiliated or tuned into the romance domain don’t understand why there are new people in season 2. These clearly come from people who don’t read a lot of romance, especially not the Julia Quinn novels these are based on. Let’s take these criticisms one at a time. We’ll start with the second since this is pretty easy to address.
The reason that there are new people, is because that’s the way Romance novels/series are set up. Each book has it’s own HEA (happily ever after) and their story is done. Oh sure, you might see them pop up in a future book in the series as a check in to remind people of their favorite characters, but for the most part their story is done. The series moves on to a different person in the family, a friend, etc. These new characters are always laid out in previous books, dangling them before you like a carrot. That’s how you get sucked in to the next book. I, personally, always wait for the broken ones. I’m a sucker for some hero/heroine that doesn’t think their good enough and those are always my favorites. Hence the reason i’m waiting patiently for Eloise and Penny’s seasons on Netflix.
Yes, I already know they’re going to get their guy but the journey is part of the fun.
You don’t normally see a series of books with the same main character in Romance. That happens in Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, or those types of books where the Romance is NOT the main element in the book. These can follow the same couple over many books and may end with a HFN (happy for now) situation but the character, plot, and romantic arcs are much bigger than your typical romance. In these books the plot and character arcs are the main focus but these can be some of the most rewarding. Ilona Andrews does this in her Kate Daniels and Hidden Legacy books, as well as Kim Harrison in the Hollows books. My own books are tailored after this model. The Blushing Death Series and the Blood and Bone Legacy are definitely a HFN series.
However, Kresley Cole (whose books are legitimately like crack) is a master of the paranormal romance where each book is a different couple and has an HEA for each but the larger arc is also in play. In the IAD-Immortals After Dark-books, the HEA is the most important and the larger arc is just cake.
Let’s take the first criticism now, the lack of sex. I think we need to talk about a few things first.
In Romance books, there are quite a few classic tropes that can be the basis for the plot and everyone has their favorite. There are more but these are the most common:
- Friends to lovers – this is where people have been friends for a very long time and somthing changes and they discover they want to bone. Penny/Colin.
- Second Chances – think divorced couples or reuniting lost loves
- Pretend Relationships – First half of Season 1 of Bridgerton
- Forced Proximity – Second half of Season 1 of Bridgerton
- Destined to be together – this takes place in paranormal alot with fated mates. This is manifested with a lot of Alpha males yelling MINE
- Forbidden love – you all know what this means although don’t get gross with it. More like outside your social strata, your race, your religion, etc.
- Love Triangles – 3’s a crowd. Think Twilight
- Enemies to lovers – This is what we have in Season 2 of Bridgerton.
So, the enemies to lovers thing is all about the steam, the anticipation, the rising passion as they get over their initial dislike of each other and get down to the animal attraction and passion underneath. You’re not going to spend the entire show banging somone you hate. That’s revenge sex and that’s completely different. So, instead, we have a lot of fighting, misunderstandings, heat, and sexual tension.
Now, it’s my understanding that the book makes a shift from Friends to Lovers to Forced Proximity with the bee incident about half way through (I can not verify this since I haven’t read this particular series. I don’t like to mix book and tv/movie if I like one. I’m always disapointed in something). However, I could see where the show runners sat back and said, that’s too close to season 1, let’s draw this out a bit.
I don’t mind the anticipation and the build up, but the payoff better be worth it. I think where they went wrong was in season 1 and laying the ground work for the Viscount’s story. They set up the vicount as in love with the opera singer and ready to run away with her, thereby shirking his duty as the heir. So, the dramatic turn around of him ready to fulfill his duty and get married, produce an heir, etc seemed a bit forced. We needed a bit more ground work to make that believable. A conversation could have done that for us or maybe the opera singer’s death, marraige, etc. Something to take this other woman out of the picture permanently and his realization that that dream was now over and he had to move on. There was some resignation evident but, I was left wanting. That’s my own personal preference.
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