The Polin Season

Preparatevi a commuovervi con la terza stagione di Bridgerton che continua ad affascinare il pubblico con una montagna russa di emozioni.

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In the first two seasons of Bridgerton, fans watched Penelope Featherington, played by Nicola Coughlan, quietly pine for Colin Bridgerton, played by Luke Newton. In season three, we finally see how their friendship develops into something more. The cast and crew got together to talk about the show and what we can expect of Penelope and Colin, whose names have been combined into ‘Polin’ by fans. Executive producer Shonda Rhimes started by sharing what she is personally looking forward to.

Shonda Rhimes (American accent): I think what I’m most excited about, for the fans and for everybody, is that, usually, we’re meeting a new person who’s falling in love with one of our regulars. This time, we know the people who are falling in love. We’re already rooting for  them, because we already know them. And I’m excited for that. 

Empathy for the underdog

The first two seasons focused on rich, upper-class nobles, whose lives do not bear much resemblance to the average viewer’s. This time around, showrunner Jess Brownell believes there are many people who will identify with the protagonists. 

Jess Brownell (American accent): Colin and Penelope are underdogs in many ways. You have Penelope, who’s the perennial wallflower, and you have Colin, who’s the third son, who hasn’t quite found himself. And we get to see these characters step into their power this year, which I think will make a lot of people who’ve ever had an unrequited crush, or feel like an underdog before, feel very seen. 

From book to screen

Author Julia Quinn explained how the writing of the book on which season three is based, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, differed from the previous ones.

Julia Quinn (American accent): This was actually the hardest book that I’ve ever had to plot because there were two characters who were so well established. And usually, when you bring in a second one, you’ll be like, “Oh, I can make this person whatever I need for the story.” But I already had these two people who were set. And that’s why I think it worked so well to do a friends-to-lovers story. And I’m kind of excited for that, because I feel like we don’t see that quite so much on television. And having seen a little peek myself, I can tell you it’s done really, really well. 

not a Bad guy

Season two ends with Penelope overhearing Colin saying some unpleasant things about her to his friends. This presents a challenge for actor Luke Newton, who has to convince audiences — and his female counterpart — that he is a good guy, after all.

Luke Newton (English accent): I think it gives us a really good place to start. Like, if everything was all good between the two, it’s like there’s less growth for the two of them to go. 

Penelope’s suitors

Season three begins when Penelope Featherington, tired of waiting for Colin Bridgerton to notice her, decides to move on. Actress and fan favourite Nicola Coughlan paints a lively picture.

Nicola Coughlan (Irish accent): She’s decided she’s  going to find a husband. She heads back to the ton and she’s like, “I got to get away from the Featheringtons. They’re wrecking my buzz. I’m out of here.” So she basically is like, “I’m going to find a husband,” and Colin’s, like, “I’ll help you.” She’s, like, “Fine. I don’t love you at all. This will work out great, with no problems.” So she, yeah, she finds some suitors, some more successful than the others, but one is very, very fond of her. And she’s like, “Yeah, this could work!”. 

Out of the shadows

Besides Penelope and Colin, ex-boxer Will Mondrich also has a greater role to play, having secured a position among the ton through his gentleman’s club. Actor Martins Imhangbe explains that the character and his wife are in for a surprise.

Martins Imhangbe (British accent): Will and Alice are literally drawn out of the shadows and they inherit a whole new title, which none of us saw coming. So how do we navigate this new title or this new position? How does it impact the family dynamics? And there’s a lot to navigate, especially, being integrated into the ton and what that means. So it’s a whole new challenge. Will’s very stubborn. He’s very, very stubborn. I feel like he doesn’t want to conform to societal expectations. So, it’s how do you find the balance between attending all these events and not giving up who you are or your sense of self at the same time? So there’s a lot of integrity to Will, which I feel like he’s kind of trying to navigate and understand and also protect his family.

Same show, different feel

If season three feels a little different, this could be explained by the fact that Jess Brownell has taken over from previous showrunner Chris Van Dusen. She was eager to reassure fans about changes to the show.

Jess Brownell: I have been with the show from the beginning and I really believe in the vision that Shonda and Chris and, obviously, Julia have for the show. And so I’m not changing anything too drastically. But that being said, every season, because we focus on a different couple, it’s a slightly different tone. And friends-to-lovers allows a little bit more familiarity, a little bit more coziness, and it allows us to lean into classic romcom tropes. So we’re playing with those tropes. We’re turning them on their head in some cases, and there’s a lot of awkward banter which I personally love writing.

Royal ennui

Bridgerton would not be Bridgerton without Queen Charlotte regally supervising the debutantes. Played by the inimitable Golda Rosheuvel, the new season has her character feeling tired of the wedding season and the choosing of the diamond of the season.

Golda Rosheuvel (British accent): We find Queen Charlotte a little bit bored of what has gone on before and searching for something different.  She’s a little bit bored of the girls that are curtseying in front of her. And I think it’s really amazing that that is part of the show as well.

Girl power

Beyond entertainment, Shonda Rhimes believes that the show has a more important underlying message, one about female empowerment.

Shonda Rhimes: For me, one of the things that I always found exciting about the way the show is written and what we’re portraying in Julia’s books is that we’re finding a way to give these female characters agency in a world in which they very, very rarely have any. The marriage mart is a hard, unpleasant place. And we are watching these women again and again find their way through it, so that they’re really focused on their own dreams and their own hopes. And I love that for Penelope’s character. It’s amazing.

Everyone deserves love

On watching the completed season, Nicola Coughlan concludes that the story is very relatable and hopes it will help people celebrate who they are.

Nicola Coughlan: I didn’t expect it to be as emotional as it was. The scripts were phenomenal and the story is so brilliant. I think we really wanted to do it justice, but I hope this season will make people who feel not seen, seen and make everyone realise how deserving and worthy they are of love.  

*THE LANGUAGE OF Bridgerton

Coming out: to publicly enter society. Young ladies could only attend balls and events once they were ‘out’.

To court: to try to interest a person one is interested in with a view to marriage.

Spinster: a single woman beyond the usual age for marriage, typically over twenty-seven.

Dance card: a card tied to a lady’s wrist, listing the gentlemen she would dance with at a ball. 

Debutante: a young lady presented at court at her formal entry into society, signalling her eligibility for marriage.

Diamond of the first water: the most beautiful young woman of the season. The naming of a debutante as the ‘diamond’ is fiction.

Dowry: the money and property given to a husband by the bride’s family on their marriage.

Lady Whistledown: the gossip writer’s name has layers of word play. To ‘blow the whistle’ on someone means to reveal their wrongdoing. In falconry, to ‘whistle down the wind’ means to let the bird fly away free, like the author does with the scandalous secrets of the Bridgerton elite! 

Promenade: a leisurely, public walk, to meet or be seen by others. Also used as a verb: to promenade.

Regency period: the period from 1811 to 1820, when Britain was ruled by Prince George IV, in place of his sick father, King George III. It is a sub-period of the Georgian era (1714-1837). The prince acted as regent and his mother, Queen Charlotte, served as queen consort. During this era, the country was at war with Napoleon, the Industrial Revolution had started and the arts flourished. Jane Austen, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, John Constable and Beethoven are all from this period 

Season: the period of time for social events like balls and dinner parties, attended by the upper classes.

Ton: high society during the Regency period, derived from the French ‘le bon ton’, meaning ‘good manners’.

 

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