Steamy New ‘Bridgerton’ Finally Ushers in Swooning Season

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Netflix
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Netflix

Whenever I go out these days (roughly once every seven months), I am baffled and bereft. No one announces my presence as I enter the ball. Not a single person is wearing a corset. There’s not a bushy sideburn to be found. And the music? It’s not an orchestral arrangement of a recent pop hit, but an actual pop hit that is playing. The scandal of it all! Worse, when I go to spread the gossip for all to hear, it’s not Lady Whistledown’s latest newsletter that I am directed to, but a rancid place of toxic disrepute called “X” instead.

My fervent desire each year for the romantic escapism of Bridgerton surprises me, but it’s more potent now than ever—especially after I’ve seen the episodes of Season 3 that dropped this week. I’m not a person who is comforted by the coziness of Hallmark Christmas movies; in fact, I find myself rather allergic to them. I’m never whisked away by the period romances that enamor so many people—unless you count being whisked straight to a bored social media doomscroll. Yet I relish being transported to the Ton each new season.

(Warning: Some spoilers for Bridgerton Season 3.)

This latest season—it’s released in two parts, with more episodes coming June 13—encompasses the best elements of Bridgerton, especially a central couple in Nicola Coughlan’s Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton’s Colin Bridgerton to root for in both endearingly wholesome and absolute horny ways.

I watched them dance romantic mind games with each other, admit their love, and get to third base in the back of a carriage this week on yet another entirely bad-vibes weather day in New York City, from my office getting a crippling backache while trying to hunch over and obscure the love scenes from view of my coworkers. (I’m an entertainment journalist, not a pervert!) Amidst generally terrible circumstances, I was still completely swept away. That’s why I think this season of Bridgerton is going to really resonate.

It’s not just that the season is objectively good, as my colleague Laura Bradley wrote in her review. It’s that it’s perfectly timed: Just when we need it, Bridgerton is ushering in Swooning Season. It’s mid-May already. I’m in the mood to swoon!

I have a theory: I think we jumped the gun when Challengers came out. The sweaty tennis ménage à trois was like a cinematic pheromone. Everyone, I think, gets a little more romantic and, dare I say, a little more randy when spring comes. But we shot out of the cannon with Challengers, all of us positively feral after screening it. It was too much too fast.

Almost immediately, the weather got shitty again. The pollen count reached a nuclear level that suffocated me if I dared venture something wild like “go outside.” I plummeted from “sexy for spring” to “bedridden for certain death.” As if sensing the malaise, Bridgerton arrived to resuscitate. Its sweetness and sultriness pairs perfectly with the bright weather forecast ahead, easing back into the spirit. The spirit to swoon.

‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Is More Enchanting and Sexier Than Ever

“Swooning,” of course, can mean many things.

Did I swoon at Penelope’s makeover and Colin’s beefy transformation? Of course. A glow-up is an inspirational swoon. I may even do three-to-five sit-ups later.

Did I swoon over Coughlan’s assured ascension to leading lady status this season? It’s one of my favorite performances of the year so far, a delicate flitter between shy and self-pitying to wishful and determined—punctuated with heaving sexual magnetism.

Did I swoon over Bridgerton’s poetic dialogue? The way the show’s characters discuss what love means to them—what they need to evolve within themselves in order to feel worthy of it—should be bound in a book of mantras for me to recite each morning.

Did I swoon over the sex scenes? As jarring as it was to see my husband Jonathan Bailey going down on a woman, he’s so sexy on screen that I even found that to be hot. And by the time Penelope was getting fingerbanged by Colin while an orchestral version of a Pitbull and Ne-Yo played, I was ready for a cold shower. (I will say, however, that I refuse to endorse fans’ couple nickname for Penelope and Colin: “Polin,” a homophone of my current greatest enemy in this world.)

In fact, Bridgerton has already inspired to swoon over other things.

That Wicked trailer defied (heh) my most cynical expectations for the film, which I assumed to be a disaster. Instead of being a troll when it was released, I swooned.

Reading the reviews that just came out of Megalopolis, Francis Ford Coppola’s rumored $125 million opus humbled me. I had been prepared to lavish in the most vicious pans, relieved that such expensive hubris resulted in a film so reportedly disastrous I’d never have to see it. Instead, the careful consideration of the film’s captivating silliness intrigued me. Now I can’t wait to see it. I forgot how much I love to swoon over mess.

Even when it comes to my unspeakable attraction to Jonathan Bailey, this week I was reminded that I contain multitudes when it comes to my leering crushes. For example, I am able to swoon over both stars of Fellow Travelers, which I did plenty of over Matt Bomer when these photos of the actor on set of his new film were released.

It’s called growth. Happy swooning.

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