Where Have All The Butts Gone In 'Bridgerton' Season 2?

- Bridgerton -
Where Have All The Butts Gone In 'Bridgerton' Season 2?

Bridgerton isn't just a period drama, it's a cool period drama. At least that's the show's Season 1 motto. In Season 2, Bridgerton is still a bright, inclusive ray of sunshine in a genre that's usually full of straight white people pining reservedly for one another, but in terms of sexuality, Bridgerton keeps its trousers firmly fastened this time around.

Indeed, I'm sad to report Bridgerton Season 2 is practically butt-less. Gone is Regé-Jean Page's bare backside framed by a field of wildflowers. Gone is the tree sex, the library sex, and the underground art scene ménage à trois. The garden sex remains, but it's filmed with the sort of soft lens focus and poor lighting usually reserved for soap operas trying to keep things PG-13 for the afternoon crowd.

While showrunner Chris Van Dusen has commented on the lack of sex in Season 2 in multiple interviews, he hasn't explicitly called out COVID-19 for taking away all of those sweet, sweet butt shots... but it feels safe to assume that the pandemic is at least partially to blame for Bridgerton suddenly getting in touch with its demure side. In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, the showrunner said the decision to include fewer sex scenes was purely story-driven. "We have less actual physical, intimate scenes in Season 2, but it was never really about the quantity for us anyway," he said. "We use these intimate scenes to tell a story and we’d never do a sex scene for the sake of doing a sex scene and we never will."

Excuse me, sir, but have you forgotten that time Anthony and Siena had sex against a tree while the poor Bridgerton servants stood with their backs turned while their faces screamed they did not get paid enough for this nonsense? That was pretty gratuitous, but it was also great.

Even the most reserved period drama tends to be made for a female audience, but precious few of them truly prioritize the female gaze. Season 1 of Bridgerton did exactly that. Whether it was Daphne experiencing a sexual awakening after receiving masturbation tips from Simon, or Siena and Anthony giggling naked in the afterglow of a midday romp, Season 1 made physical intimacy a priority in a way that's rare in the world of period dramas (but is common in the regency romance novels on which the TV series is based). Sex wasn't taboo in the world of the show — it was fun for the characters and the viewers at home.

All of this isn't to say Bridgerton Season 2 isn't sexy, because it most definitely is. Simone Ashley and Bailey smolder in every scene they're in, and the delayed gratification in the Kate and Anthony relationship is an exquisite form of torture. These two make every look of longing and brush of their hands speak volumes, but those have always been hallmarks of the period drama.

In dozens of adaptations Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, Jane and Rochester, and Emma and Mr. Knightley all pine prettily for each other without acting on their impulses until the last possible second when viewers are finally rewarded with a kiss. And that never makes for dull television, but again, Bridgerton positioned itself as the cool kid on the block. That makes it hard not to be disappointed when it tucks away the bare bottoms and instead gives viewers an entire season of longing looks.

Even if the plan was for Kate and Anthony to stay apart for as long as possible in Season 2, the show didn't have to eschew sex for the rest of the cast. With Simon away on important duke business there was no chance for Daphne and her husband to christen her family's summer house, but what about Benedict? The sexiest thing the second son of the Bridgerton family did all season was pose shirtless for a fellow art student.

Meanwhile, Cousin Jack and Lady Featherington flirted with becoming the ton's most unexpected power couple, but the show failed to pull the trigger on showing an older female character owning (and reveling in) her sexuality. By the time Kate and Anthony finally get to have a well-lit romp in the final seconds of Season 2 it's impossible not to look back on the season as a whole and see plenty of missed opportunities to forgo chasteness in favor of embracing the bold sexiness of Season 1.

Instead, Bridgerton became more of a traditional period drama. Still entertaining, still sexy, but sadly lacking in the butts that made it such a shot of adrenaline in the arm of a genre where sexual repression tends to rule the day. The end result reveals the show doesn't need epic sex montages set to Taylor Swift songs to be entertaining, but they sure do make things more fun.

Images: Liam Daniel/Netflix; Netflix

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