Editor’s note: Mark Lee is research manager, Reach3 Insights, Chicago. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared under the title, "Saying more with less: Audiences mostly think Bridgerton says enough about race … by not explicitly saying too much."
Shonda Rhimes’ hit show Bridgerton has already been picked up for a second season.
With a record 82 million households viewing in 28 days, Bridgerton is sexy, scandalous and “deliciously raunchy.” But beyond the chiseled abs and cheeky romance, we wanted to talk to viewers more directly about something that wasn’t really talked about in the show itself: representation – specifically, the “colorblind” casting.
While critics are divided on whether the show addresses race properly, what does the average viewer think? What is the public opinion on how Shonda Rhimes’ Netflix show treats the subject of race? What implications does it have for the future of Shondaland, Netflix and entertainment at large (e.g., other diverse royalty like the upcoming The Little Mermaid remake)?
To dig deeper, we reached out to about 500 SVOD subscribers in the U.S. Our research study was specifically tailored to match the vibe of the show, even featuring some fun ways to probe respondents on the Duke.
When asked about diverse or colorblind casting, 53% say that it adds to a show or movie in general, while 83% of Bridgerton viewers say that it adds to the show. So, while about half of audiences find colorblind casting is a value-add in general, Bridgerton seems to have hit the mark for most viewers. While not perfect, it is a welcome addition to the show and the period piece genre.
It’s a fine line to balance, as critics have debated whether the show says enough about race. One viewer sums up, “Bridgerton does address [race a little] because the only time it truly was mentioned was when Lady Danbury talked to the Duke about the king fa...