I have one demand for Shonda Rhimes: Make Eloise Bridgerton gay

I have one demand for Shonda Rhimes: Make Eloise Bridgerton gay

Could Eloise Bridgerton be gay? (Picture: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

Dearest reader, Bridgerton season three is finally upon us and there’s one happy ending I am raring to see: Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) living her best sapphic life. 

If there is one thing I have thought while watching the first two wildly successful seasons of the acclaimed Netflix series, it’s this: Where on earth are all the gays?

Based on the bestselling novels by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton has stormed the globe with each season following the Regency era love story of one sibling from the Bridgerton clan (of which there are eight) as they stumble their way to wedded bliss.   

The Shonda Rhimes-helmed adaptation – known for its steamy sex scenes and immaculate romantic chemistry – saw diamond of the season, Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), strike up a fiery romance with the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) in season one. 

While in season two the audience swooned over the charged enemies to forbidden lovers plot between Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) and the dashing Viscount (Jonathan Bailey) who was otherwise engaged to Kate’s sister, Edwina (Charithra Chandran). 

Now season three will see fraught friends Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin (Luke Newton) – aka Polin – discover that true love was right under their nose this whole time. 

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Bridgerton’s trademark is undoubtedly its racially diverse casting. From the very beginning, the Shondaland production took a sharp departure from the novels by creating an alternate universe in which Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) paves the way for those of all backgrounds to join high society. 

Yet in a world where racism is (largely) removed as a barrier to climb the ranks of the Ton, I have to ask why diversity is still lacking in other ways. Why is the show so heteronormative?

The first season was accused by some of queerbaiting after teasing gay sex in the trailer, and hinting Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) may be queer, only to entirely abandon this thread during the actual show. 

But it can salvage its reputation as a forward-looking, subversive, historical drama through Eloise. 

The younger Bridgerton sibling is full of gumption, passionate about women’s rights and (until now) has been a devoted friend to Penelope above all others. 

Frankly, as someone from the community, I can say that she possesses all the trademark lesbian characteristics.

(L to R) Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, and Luke Thomspon as Benedict Bridgerton (Picture: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

And her appalled looks at the thought of dancing with men, rage at Penelope’s deep betrayal when she uncovers her as Lady Whistledown, and sheer determination to carve out a life for herself, damned the consequences, all lay the perfect groundwork for a sapphic arc. 

Claudia has previously addressed the fact some fans see Eloise as a ‘queer spirit’ by saying she finds it ‘interesting’. 

‘I think it’s just because she’s a bit brilliant – and a maverick. But I do find it interesting that because she is a female character who doesn’t aspire to marriage, the assumption is that she is queer,’ she said in 2022. 

Despite Claudia’s mixed feelings towards the idea, the fact queer women have connected with her character from the get-go speaks for itself. 

For Netflix to bring a central LGBTQ+ storyline to one of the biggest shows in the world would be truly valuable. Especially during a time when the streaming studio is under fire for chronically cancelling shows with sapphic leads such as First Kill, Warrior Nun and Everything Now

Wider representation can only be a good thing. Besides, the show has already set the precedent for a same sex relationship in the hit spin-off series, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story through the endearing, yet ultimately heartbreaking, love story between Queen Charlotte and King George’s personal servants, Brimsley (Sam Clemmett) and Reynolds (Freddie Dennis).

In the book series, Eloise’s character meets a far more miserable end (Picture: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

Not only that but the main show’s cast have also been calling for a queer plotline to finally be introduced. 

At the end of last year Jonathan (who is gay), said he was ‘always hopeful for inclusion in that way’ and had every faith that Shondaland would make sure ‘everyone sees themselves in the story’.

More recently, this season’s leading lady Nicola (who played wee lesbian Clare in Derry Girls) echoed: ‘I would love it. I think the rest of the cast would too. It’s definitely a show that is breaking down a lot of boundaries. I think that’s the next one that we all want to go towards.’

In the book series, Eloise’s character meets a far more miserable end. After her distant cousin Marina (played by Ruby Barker in season one) tragically dies she begins writing to her widowed husband, Sir Phillip Crane. 

During their exchange of letters, Phillip proposes and offers to lift Eloise out of spinsterhood and become the new wife and mother to his children. They live, supposedly, happily ever after.

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Clearly the show is already planning to stray away from this plot, after Eloise struck up an unconventional friendship with working class printing boy Theo Sharpe (Calam Lynch) with whom she happily debated society’s ills. 

But instead of following the predictable Romeo and Juliet route – two lovers divided by class and societal sensibilities – why not take it one step further?

Producers could make Theo Eloise’s confidant as she grapples with her love for women, and eventually decides to push society forward once more by pursuing a woman loving woman relationship. Whether it be with an already existing member of the Ton, or an entirely new character.

There’s no doubt this move would be popular amongst fans who have been clamouring for Eloise to ‘embrace her true self’ since the very first season. 

‘Bridgerton making being gay a taboo is such a loss,’ user @chuupanthrss wrote on X. ‘Eloise you would have been a lesbian in my books.’

‘You know, as much as I love the Bridgerton show I think the worst thing is that not a single one of those Bridgerton kids is gay. I mean, there’s 8 of them. At least ONE has to be gay/bi. And honestly, the fact that it wasn’t Eloise is a crime,’ user @missapea added. 

All this is to say, dear reader, that season three is the perfect time to lay the seed for the romance we are all rooting to happen. 

So, Netflix, if you’re reading this – make Eloise Bridgerton gay you cowards. 

Bridgerton season three part one is now streaming on Netflix. Bridgerton season three part two airs on June 13.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing jess.austin@metro.co.uk

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