Bridgeton + The Bachelor = The Courtship!
What happens when you take the skeleton of TV's most beloved dating show, The Bachelor, and set it on the backdrop of Bridgerton-esque regency era England? You get NBC's newest show, The Courtship. The Courtship is much like The Bachelorette in the sense that one woman is chosen to date many men, except on this show they all pretend like they live in 1800s England. According to something I heard on a podcast, this show was in development long before the world fell in love with Bridgerton during the darkest days of our pandemic lockdowns. I don't think it hurts the show at all though that if you are watching The Courtship, you're also most likely eagerly awaiting the return of Bridgerton in just a few short weeks.
In the first few minutes of the show we hear a classically orchestrated remix of "Love Story" by Taylor Swift which underscores a witty British voice that later introduces himself, through voice-over, as the narrator and host who will guide us (the audience) through the intricacies of Regency life. If you are a fan of Love Island (UK), then there is something sort of calming about knowing there will be a "Voice of God" stating the obvious at times, but always there to drive the story forward. We then meet our heroine, Nicole Remy, aka Ms. Remy, for the purposes of staying true to the theme. Ms. Remy is 26, from Seattle, and a software engineer, oh, and ready for love. She is incredibly charismatic, charming, and stunning. She looks like a true princess. I think it's important to note here that she calls this an "experiment". I point this out because Netflix's wildly popular dating show, Love is Blind, is also referred to as an "experiment" and I truly believe that it one of the factors of its success. I can get into that more on a later post, but for now, back to Ms. Remy.
As she rides in a horse and carriage, we see the beautiful castle that rests on acres of English land. The castle is breathtaking and huge. Here is where her journey will commence. As she ascends the staircase in a gorgeous yellow gown, a second carriage arrives. Out of this one enters her Court. Now here is where I think this TV stands out. Her Court is made up of her Mother, Father, Sister, and closest friend. They are also all dawned in Regency era garb. It is delightfully interesting to see them all arrive and greet each other as we hear what her family will be looking for in a suitor for Ms. Remy. Most dating shows do not involve the families until it's time to meet the potential one that they want to marry. To include the family from the start is sure to add an extra layer of drama, but could be an element that creates relationships that could actually last past the finale of the show. Before they meet the men, Ms. Remy and her Court head into the sitting room to open and read the introduction letters from the men.
The suitors letters are run-of-the-mill dating show introductions. Keeping the formalities going, the men introduce themselves by their surnames. The occupations of the men range from content creators to doctors. They all look like models, of course, and are also dress head to toe in male Regency era cloth. As they arrive at the castle they have their moment with the host and then proceed to begin the journey. There are only 16 men in this experiment which is a relief from the usually upwards of 30 we have to bare through on shows like The Bachelorette. The event of the evening is a ball filled with dancing, desserts, and romance.
The ball is exquisite. The suitors are first introduced to Ms. Remy's Court. The men introduce themselves to Ms. Remy's family and friend. I really do think this element will add an exciting twist to the monotony of typical dating shows. One would think the men will have to be on their best behavior in front of their potential love's family, but like any messing reality TV, they probably won't. Then , Ms. Remy is introduced in a stunning red gown. The Courtship commences. The evening is filled with conversation, introductions, men fighting for time, and discussion of faves from the Court. Based on the conversations between some of the men, I don't think that they had any idea of who was going to be their heroine. A brief aside by two of the Black suitors stood out to me. While chatting about the beauty Ms. Remy, one of the men says "She's a sister, bro. Let's go!" It is always an exciting day when Black women are given the opportunity to lead a show. Especially in the world of reality tv dating shows, this is a moment for The Courtship to rise above their competition and give us an unproblematic season of beautiful Black love *sigh* hopefully they deliver.
The night continues on and The Court chooses 6 men to have a sort of group sit down with Ms. Remy away from the party. It's awkward at best. Hopefully as the season goes on the men become more comfortable. Then, it is Ms. Remy's turn to chose one suitor of HER choice. She chooses Mr. Bochicchio to have intimate one-on-one time with on a cute little couch set in front of a picturesque fountain away from the bustle of the ball inside. Mr. Bochiccio is charming and a bit awkward. He's a real estate agent from New York City, has a thick Long Island accent, and if I had to compare him to a celebrity, it would be a slightly more mature Timothee Chalamet. Their interaction is very cute and he seems to like Ms. Remy a lot. As fireworks erupt, they have their first kiss. We will have to keep our eyes on Mr. Bochiccio, hopefully the two can keep the fire burning.
At a Regency ball, ladies would fill out a dance card with the names of the suitors that she would like to dance with. Ms. Remy must choose six names to have a farewell dance with. Three men will stay, three will go. As she dances with the men on the chopping block, she has brief conversations with them giving them a reason for why she is unsure about them. They have a chance to plead their case and at the end of the dance she makes her decision. The men not on the dance card watch from a balcony above. It is all very dramatic. During the decision dance I found myself wondering when exactly they learned how to do the steps. Thanks to Instagram, I found the answer quickly on Ms. Remy's page (@nicoleeremy) she posted fun behind-the-scenes video of learning all of the dances with a choreographer and a team of dancers. There I also found that she is a former Seattle Seahawks dancer, sooo there's that. She tearfully send three men home and now the fun begins. This show isn't taking itself too seriously, which tends to make for good television. I am personally looking forward to tuning in to see how Ms. Remy's journey will unfold.
The show's thesis is the following quote:
'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in search of a husband must go to Regency-Era England and live in a castle with sixteen eligible suitors.' -Jane Austen....(probably)
With this as their anchor, it is sure to be a romantic, silly, and dramatic season ahead.
Oh, and did I mention it is only one hour long?? Thank goodness.