You must watch the new reality TV show “The Courtship”
The Courtship, in case you didn’t already know, is a cosplay dating show from the Regency era. Cue the fireworks! In the show, a woman and 16 men – her “suitors” – live in a castle in the English countryside and play a Bachelorette-full courtship style Bridgerton period costume. The Courtship premiered on NBC’s Sunday lineup with low ratings and has since been moved to Wednesdays on sister channel USA – meaning you probably haven’t watched it. You have to. Let me convince you selfishly, so I can keep watching it.
On its premise alone, this show should be a hit; sexy period dramas are having a moment. In December 2020, Bridgerton bursts Netflix’s streaming records and has since sparked a TikTok Musical it is now a Grammy nominated concept album. (Seriously, yes.) Plus, PBS Masterpiece sandit got a second season, which began airing Sunday. And Golden age took HBO viewers back in time to New York in the late 18th century. With all this fanfare, it was only a matter of time before reality TV caught its claws in trending.
I’m going to make a bold statement: everything the bachelorette is wrong, The Courtship becomes fair.
I had definitely turned my back on the reality TV industrial complex until the premiere of this show. First of all, the guys on this show worked. They must write letters, learn choreographed period dances, play cricket, and practice calligraphy. Calligraphy! And the addition of a dramatic “courtship” of family and friends totally defeats the premise of Single franchise shows: that the singleton must choose a suitor in a vacuum with no outside perspective.
The first episode opens with a bastard quote from Jane Austen: “It is a universally recognized truth that an unmarried woman seeking a husband should go to Regency England and live in a castle with sixteen eligible suitors.” The single woman in question is Nicole Remy, and the setting is a castle with velvet-upholstered chairs, umbrellas, and men with puffy sleeves a la Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy. The camera cuts to Remy’s carriage approaching his castle, highlighted by a string quartet rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin'”. Jane Austen is rolling over in her grave, and I don’t know if I’m still watching ironically. Frilly hats keep me coming back for more.
Remy — or Mrs. Remy, as her suitors must call her — is a former Seattle Seahawks cheerleader turned software engineer who now wears a long dress full-time and sips a glass of champagne that is miraculously always full.
“Dating in the 2020s is tough, but it turns out dating in the 1820s was also damn tough,” says Mr Edwards, the show’s British host. Between his bland good looks and chic accent, Mr Edwards has a versatile appeal – he could be the heir to the Harrods fortune or an extra in Flea bag. You will never be sure.
Remy’s 16 suitors hail from North America, the UK, Spain and South Korea, but they’ve all had to learn the basics of 18th-century British etiquette, which is a bigger barrier at the entrance than most others. The Courtshipconcurrent programming. In their “suitors’ quarters,” they have crystal decanters of whiskey, green velvet sofas, and a matching leafy pool table. They’re not allowed to use phones or the internet, and cameras catch them pining for Arby. But by the end of the second episode, they all put in more effort than I’ve seen in entire seasons of the bachelorette.
Each episode sends the suitors on a regency-era challenge or activity. The daily teaa thinly veiled counterfeit of Papers of Lady Whistledown’s Society, announces the plans for the day. They dance at a welcome ball with costumed extras, row Remy and his court for a picnic by the lake, and take part in cricket matches. And finally, a lucky gentleman wins a date.
“The Regency path to a woman’s heart is through her family”, The daily tea proclaim. Remy’s court includes his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Remy; sister, Mrs. Baker; and her best friend, Tessa. This is The Courtshipis a real genius. Families can bring their own drama (see also: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and sensitivity), but they protect against the worst of the worst reality shows. Potential Luke P. gas lighters or Two-Faced Brendans seem totally less likely when a young woman has more than Chris Harrison to advise her on matters of the heart.
At every turn, this show takes the most chaotic twist of dating show convention. Instead of the formal rose ceremony, each court the episode ends with a serious and deeply awkward “farewell ball”. Contrary to Bridgerton, you don’t want to end up on Remy’s dance card, which is a list of gentlemen to eliminate. She dances with each of them and, with everyone watching, rattles off a list of their flaws in a low voice. Bless these guys for being able to hold conversations while remembering the choreography on national television. At the end of each dance, Remy sends his waltz partner to join the remaining contestants on the balcony or in a waiting horse-drawn carriage to take him home. And, whatever the situation, she is contractually bound to say “goodbye” to her eliminated suitors.
To see? It’s perfect. If bulimia BridgertonThe second season of makes you want more – or if you’re a glutton for family drama and stellar outfits – I beg of you: join me in the queue Courtship.