Have you read Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books? What do you think about them?
Erin: For a long time they were my favorite series. The last couple I remember going out to purchase on release day. I’ve reread them a couple of times here and there, but it’s been a while since the last time. When I reread The Duke and I last year, I came to the conclusion that much of what I loved about them fit me when I was in my early romance days 15+ years ago but doesn’t necessarily fit me now. So it’s a nostalgia thing, I guess, where I can recall the world Quinn created fondly.
Holly: I read them once, like, 15 years ago. Except for It’s In His Kiss (Book #7), which I have a hard copy of for some reason and therefore have reread a handful of times. I remember literally nothing about The Duke and I. What really sticks in my memory about Quinn’s books are the secondary characters and jokes that show up repeatedly, like the dreaded Smith-Smythe Musicale and Miss Buttersworth and the Mad Baron and that the poor Featherington sisters have to wear the worst clothes and that everyone is afraid of Lady Danbury (aka The Best Character).
Ingrid: Yes. But I had to recheck myself because it’s been quite a long time. I do remember really loving them when I first cracked them open.
What’s your impression of the trailer?
E: This show is going to be suuuuuuper drama.
H: It looks so delicious. Just, like, the visuals are so sumptuous. I love it.
I: I will require chocolate and many cups of tea.
Do you think Shonda Rhimes is a good fit for translating Quinn to television?
E: My experience with Shonda Rhimes is limited to dramas, like, 10 years ago, so at first I was…surprised. Then I realized that, even though I look back at the series with a lens of “funny JQ witty bantery stories,” it is pretty dramatic with some definite angst when all is said and done. So I’m optimistic. Plus, I like that they just threw out the “everybody’s white” convention and owned that they’re doing their own thing with this production, even while clearly playing on some fan favorite aspects of the series.
H: Am I still allowed in the club if I’ve never watched Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal? I did watch the first season of How to Get Away with Murder, though. So my impression of Rhimes is over the top drama and ridiculous plot and…that sounds like a Regency romance.
I: All I know is Grey’s Anatomy, and while I LOVED that show for a good long time it went on a bit too long for me… I hope they’ll let the books stand on their own and will let romance’s natural drama shine through. I imagine Shonda Rhimes is probably a good fit for that.
What are your expectations for the show?
E: I expect that it will be bananapants.
H: Extreme bananapants.
I: So many bananas.
How excited are you?
E: I’m tentatively excited. I think the series is a product of its time and hasn’t necessarily aged well (I don’t think Daphne’s scandalous sex scene with Simon would ever be written that way now, for example), so I do want to get a bit of that fun back without some of the “ehh” I get if I read some of the character dynamics now. But at the same time, there’s that place in your heart where you want to keep your own imaginings of a story you loved back when, and seeing it executed with someone else’s vision might ruin that, and it’s scary!
H: Soooo excited! I mean, I’m happy enough about the source material, and happy that Netflix is letting Shonda Rimes do her thing, but really, I just LOVE period costume pieces. I don’t care if they are terrible and historically inaccurate and that the costuming is nonsense! They are pretty to look at! And this will be ridiculous, soapy fun. I spent all of early December watching sci-fi TV with my husband as preemptive bribery for him watching this with me. He’s going to roll his eyes a lot but I don’t even care.
I: I’m definitely curious and excited. I think it’ll be a much-needed distraction after a dumpster fire of a year, and I want some angsty dark-corner brooding and sneaky smooching in fancy period clothes. I want ridiculous miscommunications and I want some tastefully-done make up gestures. I want what I want, and that’s all there is to it. Where’s my popcorn?