In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
At first glance, Netflix’s Bridgerton wasn’t my kind of show. I’ve never been into period dramas and found the concept of looking for a husband to be utterly boring. But I was told that Bridgerton was about something more than that and that I should give it a chance because Shonda Rhimes was shaking things up and giving us something new. Still, I wasn’t totally convinced.
Then I saw the Bridgerton trailer for season one and my eyes zeroed in on one particular scene; the one between two men. As a queer person, I instantly became interested. I had no expectations that Bridgerton would have a gay couple but I thought, “Hey, if Shonda is involved, there’s going to be some gay content. There has to be after Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder.”
Benedict Bridgerton, the sibling who finds himself facing a gay dilemma, does nothing with this storyline. He quite literally closes the door on two men making out and never faces it again. What was the point of leading up to such a moment? What was the point of showing Benedict being confronted with a different lifestyle after watching him flirt with another man about his paintings?
He’s the one sibling who is trying to “find himself” outside of the context of familial obligation. This was an opportunity to take him down a different path, a very welcome path for the queer community, and they absolutely squandered it for no damn reason. And it feels like a waste of my time, his time, and those who came into Bridgerton thinking that we were going to get gay content.
“But he falls in love with a lady in the books!” I’ve read over and over again on social media. So? There’s this thing called “bisexuality” that makes it so Benedict could have feelings for both men and women. Bridgerton had an opportunity to make Benedict bisexual, have him explore who he is, and then meet his leading lady when the season that focuses on him comes around. But again, they squandered it for no damn reason.
“But he falls for the modiste of the ton. That’s got to count for something.” Anthony is already going down that road with someone in a lower station than him during season 1. What was the point of showing that Benedict could also go down that road when a gay road was right in front of him? All it did was make Benedict boring AF when he had potential to be something more. More squandering of a story that had so much potential.
At the end of it all, we’re a little let down and pissed at Bridgerton. They put that sex scene in the trailer to entice an entire community to come on over and watch the Netflix drama. They knew what they were doing. And unlike how we were tricked in season one, we won’t be tricked again. So, go on Bridgerton, keep on with your heteronormative storytelling. We’ll be here, waiting for something familiar, something queer.
Bridgerton season one is available on Netflix.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)