Friday, July 29, 2022

wallflowers and writers

One of my summertime indulgences has been rewatching both seasons of Bridgerton, though I've already watched season 1 at least twice.  It's a fun sort of frothy-Austenesque entertainment that is highly rewarding but not exactly serious. Ie, it doesn't require much thought or investment (like something like Westworld for example.).  I caught wind on facebook that they are just beginning to film season 3.  I did a quick look to see what was up next according to the (rather terribly written) books and it looks like we will finally be getting the Penelope romance, whose constantly friend-zoned adoration of one of the Bridgerton heirs has been happening since the beginning. I've found where the books fail, the show's direction and cast more than makes up for it. 

Penelope, of course, is one of the chief reasons Bridgerton is interesting at all--Lady Whistledown and her sharp pen, aka the Gossip Girl of the early 19th century.  In fact the emotional crux of the last episode of season 2 was not that Kanthony finally got to get together, but the dramatic betrayal and dissolution of Eloise and Pen's friendship. But I think all of us writers like Penelope, for her awkward wall-flowering and quick wit. 

Writers are, if anything, always outsiders. It's what makes us good writers.  The ability to notice. While others find themselves steeping whatever moment they happen to be living, the writer writes from a step away, a step back. Others rarely take the time to observe the way writers do, our little minds always clicking away. We probably spend much less time awash in sensation than calmly laying out in our minds how to explain it. 

And perhaps also piques my particular interest because, obviously, Pen is also an outsider, both in her family where she is far more intelligent than her sisters (though maybe not her mother) and as fat girl in a thin world (it's a skinny cast, and hell, historically half of the women were likely wasting and  tubercular).  It's not just her writing that keeps her always on the outside of the dance floor looking in. And in fact, it may be that outsiderness that MAKES her a writer at all. Substitute marginalized, poor, or just depressed and you get most writers in history. . I'm curious to see where her rage at the end of last season (the fallout with Eloise, her dismissal (again) by Collin.) takes her next season...

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