Everyone is talking about the second season of “Bridgerton” and how it differs from the first. Though we burned through the first season, we love the second season even more.
The first season of Bridgerton told the love story of Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). The second season tells the love story of Daphne’s eldest brother, Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley).
The first season of Bridgerton was popular for many reasons, including its steamy sex scenes between Daphne and Simon. However, the second season takes a different approach and focuses on romantic tension over sex, and I can’t get enough of it.
A Slow Burn Romance Can Be Hotter Than Sex
Back in September, Netflix released a sneak peek of the second season with a clip of Kate and Anthony talking after she overhears Anthony speaking of his unrealistic (and somewhat disrespectful) expectations for a wife. Though it’s only a little more than a minute long, the romantic tension between the two is already obvious.
The clip has over five million views on YouTube, proving that we weren’t the only ones swooning over it for the past six months in anticipation of Bridgerton’s second season. It’s the perfect teaser for Kate and Anthony’s relationship, which follows the classic enemies-to-lovers trope. The teaser also gives off heavy Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice vibes.
Though it’s clear that Anthony and Kate have chemistry (we’re still not over the way they look at each other), he’s trying to court her younger sister, Edwina (Charithra Chandran). Kate is in London to help guide her sister and plans to return to her home in India after Edwina finds a husband. Any man who wishes to court Edwina has to win Kate’s approval, forcing Anthony to get to know Kate while pursuing Edwina.
Though Kate and Anthony drive each other crazy, one could cut the romantic tension between them with a knife. As the series progresses, it becomes more difficult for Kate and Anthony to ignore their feelings for each other. The two almost touch hands and kiss so many times that we couldn’t help but cheer like schoolgirls when they finally gave in to their desires. In mastering the art of the slow burn romance, Bridgerton season two shows us that romantic tension can be hotter than sex.
While the first season of Bridgerton was very romantic, everyone was talking about the sex scenes (especially the montage where a classical rendition of “Wildest Dreams” by Taylor Swift was playing during the sixth episode), and many expected the second season to follow the same formula, but it wasn’t nearly as explicit as the first.
While some were disappointed with the change, it’s hard to deny that our culture is obsessed with sex and that popular media often uses it as a crutch instead of investing in good storytelling. Alison Herman of The Ringer explains the benefit of showing less sex: “There are reasons beyond propriety that romance typically trades in such delayed gratification, a rule Bridgerton was once an exception to and now follows to the letter. The truth is that it’s rarely as hot to witness a relationship’s consummation as it is to anticipate it. That’s why romance has thrived as literature with no visual component to speak of, allowing viewers to use their imaginations and actively participate in the illusion.”
Herman continues, “There’s not a lot of sex, but in the crackling chemistry and relentless self-denial that defines Anthony and Kate’s dynamic, there’s plenty of eroticism.”
We couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. We were on the edge of our seats during many scenes wondering when Kate and Anthony would finally kiss. The romantic tension between Kate and Anthony is so enticing that it’s steamy, and the way they gaze at each other could make a woman married 20 years blush (yeah, it’s that hot). It’s proof that you can capture great intimacy without resorting to graphic sex scenes.
With fans swooning over Kate and Anthony's love story, Hollywood should take note and write more slow-burn romances filled with romantic tension. It will only pay off – 82 million households watched season one and season two was viewed for nearly 345 million hours within the first 10 days of hitting the streaming platform. It’s highly probable that the majority of those viewers were women – and women prefer the slow build-up of sexual tension and crave the storytelling element over the straight-up, bare-all sex scenes. So it only makes sense, from the storytelling, marketing, and money-making perspectives, to conform to what entices women.
A man telling a woman she’s the “bane of his existence and the object of all of his desires” is so much hotter than any sex scene, and we want more of it.
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