The Bachelorette has returned, and thus so have we.
It's time for yet another season of stilted conversations and sexual discussions as men assert their dominance over one another to win the heart and hand of one lucky woman. And as we began yet another journey into the dangerous world of reality TV dating, we discovered that there was an element we had not yet considered: the impact of Bridgerton.
Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette is the first one to be produced after the unparalleled success of Bridgerton, the Netflix series based on Julia Quinn's delightful and tastefully filthy romance novels that all take place during various social seasons in early 1800s London. In Bridgerton, women spend a couple of months meeting as many men as possible in the hopes of finding a husband, attending balls and going on chaperoned outings as the men come calling on them. The couplings become the talk of the town, and every year, a new young eligible gentleman or lady holds all the attention. See where we're going with this? Katie Thurston is the diamond of this social season, and we're all Lady Whistledown.
It's not clear that every man watched Bridgerton before meeting Katie and took some cues, but at least one did. Football player Andrew S. showed off his best Simon Hastings/Regé-Jean Page impression in his intro package, practicing the "I burn for you" line with a bit of his own flair added. Another man showed off his exquisite painting skills, and another revealed that he loves classical music. It was then that the comparison hit us like a ball pit-filled truck: The Bachelor franchise is just Bridgerton. Or Bridgerton is just the Bachelor franchise. Bachelorton. The Bridgelorette.
Now, we do not, under any circumstances, want to see Katie and her eventual Duke consummate their relationship all over their honeymoon estate, and perhaps no one on this franchise has ever come even a little bit close to the charms of Simon Hastings, but you cannot deny that the gossip generated by this franchise wouldn't make for a perfect edition of Whistledown's column.
And so, that's what we've attempted to do.
Another social season has begun, and this author certainly has high hopes for the lady Katie Thurston, who is sure to be this season's incomparable even at the spinsterly age of eight and twenty. After just the first event of the year, she already has twenty-three handsome prospects calling upon her, after she shooed seven away. One gentleman attempted to woo Miss Thurston by showing her his portable home, but he opted not to have it refreshed ahead of time and she was faced with a pile of his unwashed laundry. Needless to say he was sent home without so much as a farewell kiss!
Miss Thurston seemed particularly taken by a caller dressed as a feline, though the suggested attire for the evening did not include costumes, especially of the furry variety. Apparently Miss Thurston can even be charmed by a gentleman with whiskers painted on his face, though it was a gift of jewelry that most touched her heart. This author hears that the necklace gifted by Sir Gregory was created out of pasta by a toddler, but one cannot fault a young lady for liking what she likes. Miss Thurston rewarded Sir Gregory, who seemed quite nervous, with the first rose of the evening, though she worried that he looked like a gentlemen who had courted her previously. Whether that resemblance is good or bad remains to be seen!
This will be the first season during which a lady will not be chaperoned by the elder Christopher Harrison, but Miss Thurston will be accompanied by Miss Kaitlyn Bristowe and Miss Tayshia Adams, both of whom are engaged after their own successful seasons. This author was quite entertained by their unorthodox decision to watch from a nearby window as Miss Thurston's prospects came calling. They seemed particularly impressed by a gentleman called Tre who arrived in a sturdy carriage full of balls, and Mister Tre later gained Miss Thurston's approval as well. Miss Thurston was also not put off by Mister Andrew S. masquerading with a British accent, despite being from Chicago, and she was also quite taken with the gentleman who arrived in a large gift box, as if to present himself as a present to the lady.
It appeared that Miss Thurston was quite overwhelmed by the charm and good looks of all of her callers, declaring them all "hot" and "literally all tens." This author could see Miss Thurston finding a husband in no time, but then again, the season has only just begun.
Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, 7 June 2021
Keep up with all of Katie's remaining men below!
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.