Bridgerton Praised for Breakthrough Diversity and Disability Rep

The popular and raunchy period drama is much more than a romance show. Read on to discover how it’s pioneering in its field.

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On a split handwritten letter and music sheet background, Julia Quinn's Romancing Mister Bridgerton and When He Was Wicked book jackets are featured.

Netflix’s Bridgerton, a TV adaptation of the acclaimed Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn, released part one of its third season on May 16th, 2024. The popular Regency-era romance story follows the love lives of each of the eight Bridgerton siblings and is known for its raunchy but heartfelt plots. Created by the highly successful and renowned Shonda Rhimes, the show has never failed to bring a fresh take on period dramas, bringing diversity to its magical historical retellings, and this new season is no different, as fans have ceased to praise season three’s breakthrough strides in disability representation.

Physical Disability Representation in Bridgerton’s Season 3

Every season characteristically begins with the young women of the ton making their debut in the marriage market by being presented to Queen Charlotte. One such woman was Dolores Stowell, played by Kitty Devlin. After making her acquaintance with the queen, she communicates her worries about her performance to her mother using British Sign Language. Then, in the following episodes, fans meet Lord Remington, a charismatic young man who utilizes a wheelchair and presents to be a potential suitor for Penelope Featherington.

Neurodivergent Representation

Although taking the stage is the breathtaking couple Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton, Francesca Bridgerton’s storyline is simultaneously introduced. Introverted and reserved, Francesca differs from her outgoing, expressive, and talkative siblings. She favors listening to music and playing the pianoforte rather than searching tirelessly for her love match. Yet, her quiet demeanor attracts John Sterling, who shares a similar calming personality.

In both of their primary interactions in part one of the season, their conversations made for awkward situations, often finding themselves better off sitting with one another in a comfortable yet quality silence. Impressed by her intimate knowledge of music, John makes the grand gesture of rewriting sheet music in the way Francesca prefers, stealing her heart in one fell swoop. The personalities of this couple have watchers speculating that Francesca and John may be autistic. Though no confirmation has been announced, fans are happy to at least see their introversion depicted on screen.

Making Strides in Mainstream Media

What is clear is that Bridgerton showrunners and actors wish to bring nuanced, authentic characters to life that their wide-ranging audience can relate to. Even though much is only speculated, fans take comfort in the possibility of each character’s life. The imagination – and the realm of what’s achievable in the show and in real life – do not stop once the episodes end!

Part two of Bridgerton’s season 3 will premiere on June 13 on Netflix. Stay tuned to delve into this delectable show!


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