Tag Archives: Netflix cinematic universe

Bridgerton: Is It Representation or Aesthetics?

Dear readers, now that the latest season has come to a close, it is now time to analyze Bridgerton’s beautiful families beyond Lady Whistledown’s juicy gossip and sordid details. Ultimately, It is up to us to see whether the beloved Netflix show is true as representative as it claims to be. The Sharma family were the talk of the ton (forgive my puns), but they are not the first instance of Shonda Rhimes’ unique incorporation of representation in her period drama; for that, we have to go back to season one.

While the popular rom-com never truly addresses if there was an equitable society in the British Regency era where people of color (POCs) were Lords and Dukes, there is a brief mention of a darker past in the first season. Especially, when Lady Danbury speaks about the King’s love for the Queen, it seemingly ends all the racism and hatred of the past without any consequences. While it is a loose premise to build a fictional world on, one can forgive the show for this as it leads to more diverse casting. But, that brings us to the first issue with Bridgerton—race-baiting.

Race-Baiting

When the first promotional material for the show was released, it heavily emphasized that the show would address racial issues with its unique storytelling. However, aside from the singular conversation mentioned before, the show fails to even mention race let alone incorporate it into its storyline. Some fans of the show claim that it was good that the show was race-blind. Including that giving POC’s different storylines that address their racial heritage or past would negate the message that all races are equal. But, failing to address racial differences is not equal or fair. It is erasing the complexity and nuances of the world we live in, enabling us to tell good stories.

The first season of Bridgerton also failed to include any of its POC cast in important storylines, with the exception of the Duke of Hastings, played by Regé-Jean Page. When POC characters have significant screen times, their stories are often clouded or infiltrated by their low socioeconomic status. For instance, Marina Thompson, played by Ruby Barker, is desperately searching for a husband to cover up her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Colin Bridgerton, played by Luke Newton, eventually falls for her and proposes but on finding out about the truth of her deceptions. Unfortunately, he leaves her high and dry, which brings me to the second issue with the popular Netflix drama, its problematic association of skin color with purity.

Value Calls

If we look at all the POC characters in the show, each of them has either engaged in conversation with a non-POC character where they have played the role of the corrupter or experienced friend. Whether it’s the Duke’s conversation with Daphne about self-pleasure or Marina begrudgingly answering Penelope’s questions about sex, it may seem insignificant. Still, the show’s repeated instances of associating purity of thought and spirit with only their non-POC characters perpetuate negative stereotypes that believe or not exist in society even today and strengthen people’s implicit biases.

A New Era

 Finally, let’s dissect season two. When I heard that season two of Bridgerton would have an Indian female lead, I was definitely wary of the idea, especially given India’s colonial past with the British and the period in which Bridgerton takes place. However, Miss Kate Sharma, played by the brilliant Simone Ashley, captured my heart along with those of audiences around the world. While her accent could do with some work, she could incorporate her Indian identity into her character without making her Indianness all that her character was. Edwina called Kate didi, the Haldi ceremony, and Kate’s snide remarks about British tea (which she is completely right about!) all pay homage to Indian culture without forcefully and awkwardly introducing it into the storyline.

Season two of Bridgerton does make up for some of the issues of the first season, for example, the lower socioeconomic association with POC characters. The Sharma family’s dire socioeconomic situation is unnecessary, and the season once again fails to mention any actual race issues or bring it up at all. That being said it is unnecessary for a show with a multi-racial cast to discuss race, but Bridgerton displays race-baiting because it promises to discuss race but fails to do the same. That being said, season two of this show does paint a more promising picture, and while people have complained that the Sharma’s are not truly Indian, I don’t particularly share their sentiment. The Sharma’s may not display every aspect of their Indian culture. Still, if they did, it would distract from the show’s storyline,  which isn’t really the positive representation anyone needs. Kathani Sharma may be slightly controversial, but her sarcastic, dry humor, wit, competitive spirit, and independence do embody the desi nature that I, as an Indian, am particularly proud of. So for this singular instance of representation, I will begrudgingly give Bridgerton my nod of approval.

Featured Image By Francessca Conde

Inventing Anna Review: Is Anna a psychopath?

*Warning: This is not an actual diagnosis since I am not a medical professional, and this article is for entertainment purposes only*

She says she doesn’t have time for this and definitely doesn’t have time for you, but is she a sociopath or worse, a psychopath? Anna Delvey/Sorokin entranced us with her charm and daring spirit to take on New York’s elite but, does her callous disregard for other people’s emotions make her a psychopath? Join me as we analyze the criteria of psychopathy, as defined by the DSM-V, and see whether our favorite, accented scam artist displays any of these telling symptoms.

According to the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), both sociopaths and psychopaths suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). However, APD is often confused with Avoidant Personality Disorder characterized by social inhibition and feelings of inadequacy. And if one were to diagnose Anna properly, she would most likely receive a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Including symptoms like impulsivity, pathological personality traits and an inability to form interpersonal relationships. But, for the sake of this article and the numerous references to Anna’s psychopathy in the show, let’s dive into whether or not Anna is a psychopath.

Psychopaths and sociopaths are very similar. However, they can show up on the same spectrum, with psychopathy on the more severe side of the spectrum. The main difference between the two is that sociopaths can form brief, fleeting interpersonal relationships and can feel emotions. 

Anna’s disregard for the law, pathological lying, impulsivity, irritability, and reckless disregard for others seem like incriminating evidence for her psychopath diagnosis. But, she also showed genuine affection for Neff and Chase at times. Her desperate need to be remembered and famous goes against a psychopath’s disregard for other people’s opinions.

Her lack of remorse, cruelty, and irresponsibility due to her lack of maturity indicates symptoms of psychopathy. However, one could argue that they were also the product of her upbringing and her desperate need to belong due to being scorned for her immigrant status and wanting to feel accepted.

Anna Delvey/ most people are complex and real. She has many layers to her, but don’t mistake that for her innocence. Psychopathy, or APD, is not a diagnosis that can be handed out lightly and can change a person’s punishment in a court of law. Does she display pathological personality traits? Yes. Could she potentially have another mental disorder? Yes. However, a Netflix reenactment is not an accurate representation of the many shades of grey in human society, and for that reason, Anna is not a psychopath.

Featured Image By Morgan Scruggs

Your guide to The Netflix Christmas Universe

Need a new cinematic universe to binge-watch? Well, here’s the Netflix Christmas movie franchise

Are you a fan of cinematic universes? Do you like cheesy Christmas movies? If you answered yes to both, then hold on to your Christmas-themed sweaters, Netflix fans because the media giant has a gift for you!

With Netflix continuing to grow their original films and series on their platform, another section of the repertoire is growing as well, specifically, their holiday films. But, there’s a twist. Get this – apparently the platforms Christmas film are connected to one another. 

Through TV cameos within the movies to mentions of the fictional “Aldovia,” these films have been confirmed to exist within the same universe. Crazy stuff.

Source: Netflix

Netflix announced this universe of connections at the beginning of December 2019 in a Twitter thread. So, the universe is not as secretive as you may think, but most Netflix fans may not have noticed this before. 

Source: Netflix

This concept of an interconnected cinematic universe first began when holiday film concepts began to be created for the 2018 season. The idea of connecting the worlds together came from MPCA Executive Vice President, Amanda Phillips Atkins, according to the Twitter thread on the official Netflix account.

Now, a select number of Netflix Christmas movies are now forever connected to each other. Let’s see how exactly everything is interwoven.

To start, Netflix began fleshing out the idea of the universe by including subtle on-screen cameos from other movies. 

In the 2018 film, “The Holiday Calendar,” the creative team needed to include a movie being played within the movie which resulted in the 2017 movie, “The Christmas Inheritance,” to have an on-screen cameo. “The Christmas Inheritance” also shows up on a TV in the 2018 film, “The Princess Switch” which also featured a cameo from 2017’s “A Christmas Prince.” The 2019 film, “Holiday in the Wild” also gets a cameo in the 2019 movie, “The Knight Before Christmas.”

As time went on, the production staff began to include more obvious references to other films in newer releases. 

In “The Knight Before Christmas,” a character tells her daughter, “Your grandma and grandpa picked this up on their trip to Aldovia.” This line implies that the kingdom featured in “A Christmas Prince” is a real place in the movie’s world. Then, in 2019’s “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby,” a map shows that Aldovia’s nearby neighboring countries include Belgravia, the country from “The Princess Switch.”

In the 2020 sequel, “The Princess Switch: Switched Again,”  the world is once again connected by including the characters Amber, Prince Richard, and their daughter, Princess Elleri, from the Christmas Prince franchise. 

Source: Netflix

While this is all probably really confusing for you, Netflix has a handy graphic that walks you through the connection and cameo details. 

Whether you decide to watch one or all of the films that are in the Netflix Christmas universe, you are sure to enjoy the little easter eggs along the way.