Bridgerton (which John Oliver labeled as the “jizzing in blankets” show) will bravely press on for a second season without The Duke, Regé-Jean Page, and all of his endless charisma. His publicly issued stance (that he’d only signed on for a one-and-done season) did stand firm despite creator Shonda Rhimes putting it out there that he was invited for some follow-up cameos, but Page is a busy guy. He previously described his time on the show as “he ride of a life time,” and “it’s all been beyond anything I could have imagined.” Ahead of his upcoming roles in The Gray Man and Dungeons & Dragons, Page sat down with Variety for their Actors on Actors series with The Crown‘s Emma Corrin.
As members of Netflix royalty, the pair had plenty to say about the enormous ratings for both of their shows, but when it came to discussing masculinity on Bridgerton, Page compared it to a hamburger. First, he admits that he wanted the show to contribute something beyond being Jane Austin-esque, since “we’ve got like five or six waves of feminism since,” so he wanted to make sure that Simon’s not simply an “archetype that already exists,” like Mr. Darcy or Heathcliff, but a new twist on this expression (and, hopefully, an evolution) of masculinity. When Corrin declared that The Duke is an “unpacking” of masculinity, here’s what Page offered:
“… the idea of romantic heroes. When you say the word ‘hero,’ it implies it’s someone you look up to. We talk a lot with ‘Bridgerton’ about it being female-centric, but also, what are men looking up to? What am I doing with this icon of masculinity? What’s making this meal actually worth eating? I think of ‘Bridgerton’ as a Happy Meal but with secret vitamins put in there. It’s like a secretly healthy, organic burger.”
Secret vitamins are the best vitamins, right? Also, the Netflix audience found the burger to be tasty one, served up to around 82 million households within one month (which makes it the show’s most popular series ever), so it’ll be interesting to see whether The Duke will be missed enough next season to impact that number. Season 2 will focus on the love life of Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), which goes along with the plan of Julia Quinn’s second series book, The Viscount Who Loved Me.