Bridgerton showrunner on keeping that controversial bedroom moment
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Bridgerton.
In the sixth episode of Bridgerton, Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dyvenor), now the Duchess of Hastings, does something specific to polarize the audience.
After Daphne learns that Simon (Regé-Jean Page) lied about his inability to have children (he can, he just doesn't want them because he made a vengeful vow against his father), he takes the matter up himself the hand. Realizing what Simon did after finally being told how the marriage bed and pregnancy actually work, she takes advantage of Simon in the heat of the moment.
While Simon is lost in lust, she stands on top of him, then clings to him to prevent him from withdrawing in an impulsive attempt to successfully conceive the baby she longs for. It creates a massive conflict between them as Simon struggles to let go of the vengeance he's seeking (not to mention his intricate feelings about his wife's deliberate attempts to undermine his desires and do something that basically isn't is amicable).
This moment is tempered by its source material. Julia Quinns The Duke and I discover that Simon is hopelessly drunk in response to his argument with his new bride. Daphne then takes advantage of his excitement while drunk, which in the eyes of some readers amounts to rape at that moment.
The Duke and I were first published in 2000, and the consent forms have evolved radically over the past two decades. Alongside these discussions, the genre of romance has shifted too, and is often trailblazing for modeling things like enthusiastic approval.
In the course of the #MeToo movement in particular, the public perception of consent has expanded, which makes moments like these controversial, if not downright problematic. Showrunner Chris Van Dusen did not lose that.
"We had a lot of conversations about this particular incident in the book," he tells EW. "I've always referred to this first season of the show as 'The Education of Daphne Bridgerton' if it had a subtitle. This incident really fits that overall theme - this overarching theme that she starts off as that beautiful, wide-eyed, innocent debutante. And we see her grow into this woman who can break down all the constraints that society has held onto her and she finally finds out who she really is and what she is capable of. "
For Van Dusen, it was ultimately an integral part of Daphne and her efforts to define herself as a woman, although he realizes that the moment will produce a strong and varied response. "It's part of their journey," he muses. "And we discussed a lot about how to go about it and how to deal with it."
Bridgerton is now streaming on Netflix.
How Bridgerton is poised to revolutionize romance on television
Julia Quinn ponders how her books come to life in 'Bridgerton'.
15 Historical Romance Hollywood should adapt to Bridgerton
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