Netflix's Bridgerton Fixed the Books' Somewhat Problematic Trend

Netflix's Bridgerton Fixed the Books' Somewhat Problematic Trend
Image credit: Netflix

They’re bridging the gap between two characters, for good reason.

Season 3 of Bridgerton will skip the third Bridgerton book in favor of the fourth, to follow the long awaited friends-to-lovers romance of Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton. Along with completely skipping the third book, the writers and producers of the show have introduced changes to the plot, and shrunk the age gap between the two central lovers of the story.

Colin and Penelope did not have a substantial age difference to begin with, but keeping their original gap would have meant the continuation of what many fans have pointed out to be a rather problematic theme in the Bridgerton series. Nowadays, large age gaps in relationships are frowned upon by society, but in Bridgertons early 1800s, age gaps were no problem.

In the Regency era, age was really just a number

Previous seasons of Bridgerton featured swoon worthy romances, with heated encounters and a whole lot of physical passion, but these romances also featured a pretty large age gap, because this was normal for the time period. Women were married off young, often to older suitors, and marriages were a business transaction joining two families.

Age gaps were not a deterrent to men in search of a wife, and whilst this was the reality of that time period, it is considered unnatural and unsettling today, and frankly not someone that would attract audiences. There is no way we would be able to watch an underage woman, merely a girl, marry a grown man and think it is romantic.

Season 1 followed Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Bassett, who had an 8 year age gap between them, with Simon being 29 and Daphne 21. They were both mature, young adults in a consensual relationship, but there were many occasions when we overlooked the fact that Simon was close to a decade older than Daphne.

Season 2 saw Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma get together, thankfully, considering the fact that Anthony was set to wed Kate’s younger sister, Edwina. Anthony, the oldest Bridgerton sibling, was 29 years old in season 2, and Edwina was, at most, 18 years old.

It may have been just a little bit too creepy for some fans had Anthony and Edwina ended up together, and Netflix seems to be moving away from the big age gap relationships by making this small adjustment to Colin and Penelope’s story.

Colin was 22 in the first Bridgerton book, but season 2 of the show ended with Colin being 21 and Penelope 18, bringing what would have been a 5 year gap down to just 3 years.

Although Colin and Penelope’s age difference would have been the smallest of all the couples, the show's producers have mindfully shrunk the gap to end the trend, which many fans will be grateful for.