Shondaland's Bridgerton Adaptation for Netflix

Bridgerton Trailer Teases the Best Romance Trope: Fake Relationships

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The official trailer for the upcoming Netflix/Shondaland series Bridgerton dropped today, and it gave us a fuller look at the plot of the series besides the Regency-era Gossip Girl vibes. With Bridgerton, we are getting the best romance trope in action: fake dating/relationships.

For those who may not know the full plot of The Duke and I, the first book in this series that the show will be adapting, here is what the blurb says:

“By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister, the lovely—and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it’s all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.

But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it’s hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it’s his devilish smile, certainly it’s the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her… but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke… for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love…”

Yes, the glorious bait-and-switch of a relationship that starts off as just pretending, but through lingering looks and intimate hand-holding, the magic of lust activates, and a true love blooms. In this show, it will be Simon Basset and Daphne Bridgerton, but they are one of many in this trope’s history.

Some recent-ish examples that aren’t fanfiction include To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Christmas Contract10 Things I Hate About You (a one-sided variant), The Americans, and French Kiss.

What makes fake dating such a fun trope is that it forces two people to slowly learn to enjoy each other’s company. Since they are coming into this not expecting genuine romance, they take time to get to know each other, abandoning the airs that people usually put on.

Even in the cases where it doesn’t automatically become love, it allows two characters who are friends to support each other, explain to them why they deserve love, and lift them up. Fake relationships/dating allow real chemistry (and sometimes comedy) to flourish because it is a game that, when both people are playing, can be super hot—especially when they kiss for the first time and realize “Oh, shit, this is no longer just pretend.”

I can’t wait, and it makes my excitement for Bridgerton even stronger.

What is your favorite romance trope and what are some of your favorite examples of it? Yes, we will include fanfiction.

(image: Netflix)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.