‘Deconstructing stereotypes’: The cult witch movie you need to watch on Halloween
‘Deconstructing stereotypes’: The cult witch movie you need to watch on Halloween

Jennifer McShane

The quilted jacket is the staple to see you through winter
The quilted jacket is the staple to see you through winter

Holly O'Neill

This picturesque Victorian Bray home is on the market for €975,000
This picturesque Victorian Bray home is on the market for €975,000

Megan Burns

Sunday Service: There’s a new free self-care series made by women, for women
Sunday Service: There’s a new free self-care series made by women, for women

Sarah Finnan

‘A botanical paradise with spectacular views’: The hotel you need to visit on your next trip to Cork
‘A botanical paradise with spectacular views’: The hotel you need to visit on your next...

Shayna Sappington

‘I’m an obstetrician who became pregnant with twins via an egg donor. This month they turn 5’
‘I’m an obstetrician who became pregnant with twins via an egg donor. This month they...

Amanda Cassidy

Period dramas on Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch while we wait for ‘The Crown’
Period dramas on Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch while we wait for ‘The Crown’

Erin Lindsay

The world’s most sustainable travel spots revealed
The world’s most sustainable travel spots revealed

Amanda Cassidy

Indoor Halloween activities for kids to get you through the mid-term
Indoor Halloween activities for kids to get you through the mid-term

Lauren Heskin

Planning a festive trip to London this year? These hotels really know how to do Christmas
Planning a festive trip to London this year? These hotels really know how to do...

Sarah Finnan

Image / Living / Culture

‘Bridgerton’ and why we love grumpy men who hate everyone but us


by Lauren Heskin
13th Mar 2021
‘Bridgerton’ and why we love grumpy men who hate everyone but us

Jess in Gilmore Girls, Darcy in Pride & Prejudice, Patrick Verona in 10 Things I Hate About You. Grumpy men are peppered through all our favourite on-screen romances.

So I, like the rest of the world, binged Bridgerton and, like the rest of the world, suitably swooned over the Duke of Hastings. There’s a reason it has had the highest viewing in Netflix history. The costumes are dreamy, the men are gorgeous and the plot is juicy if a little stereotypical. But this is Shonda after all, we know what we’re in for.

While discussing the Duke with a friend, she made a passing comment about how “we love the trope of a grouchy man who hates everyone but the love interest”.

The grumpy man trope

And it blew. My. Mind.

Because we do! Think about it: Jess Mariano in Gilmore Girls, John Bender in The Breakfast Club, Darcy in Pride & Prejudice, Jackson Maine in A Star Is Born, the good-looking Australian lad in The Kissing Booth. Patrick Verona in 10 Things I Hate About You!

As an aside, I just realised I have listed off at least three of my desert islands watches there. Maybe I have a type?

It’s not quite the same as the bad boy cliché, although it’s undoubtedly knitted through some of the aforementioned characters. It’s a grumpiness, a disdain for or disinterest in the entire world, a pridefulness even.

Only one woman could see their bright spots, can experience their warmth and affection. We don’t pity them and yet their understanding of one character helps us to forgive their attitude or rejection of others. That their excessive affection towards the female lead excuses everything. Looking at it from this vantage point, it seems… a little toxic?

Bridgerton

Let’s take the Duke of Hastings (spoilers ahead).

I’m not saying he’s a prime candidate for this – I reckon Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley might the genesis and therefore the archetype of the trope – the Duke is merely the one I’ve watched most recently.

We know that he has made a decision to never take a wife or have children because of his upbringing – fair enough. But it seems he avoids all company completely, disappearing for months on end and doesn’t even stay in contact with his mother’s best friend and the woman who basically raised him. A little harsh.

Even if he doesn’t want to marry, he views all women with a level of disdain, assuming all mothers want him to marry their daughters and all their daughters want to marry him. He more or less proves that on his first meeting with Daphne, assuming she orchestrated their meeting in order to win his affections.


I’ve had a roam around the internet in search of a specific term and the closest I can get is the “burnt marshmallow” (crispy and bitter on the outside, but ends up being soft and warm on the inside) and the “troubled but cute” tropes.

But why do we love them so? Is it because we like the idea of a project? Or the idea of a soulmate, that only one person who can bring out the best in us? Or is it because to be wanted is not enough, we want our love interest to actively reject everyone else too?

I haven’t quite probed the depths of these questions yet but now I won’t be able to pick up Austen without considering it.

Also Read

‘Bridgerton’ and why we love grumpy men who hate everyone but us
CULTURE
Fans seem to think Taylor Swift is in Donegal

Taylor Swift commemorated the one year anniversary of her album ‘Folklore’ over the weekend, with some of the photos she...

By Sarah Finnan

‘Bridgerton’ and why we love grumpy men who hate everyone but us
PROPERTY
This incredibly luxurious rural idyll in Kerry with mountain views on the market for €1.1 million

If you thought you would never consider moving to the countryside this stunning stone home in Co Kerry may just...

By Lauren Heskin

‘Bridgerton’ and why we love grumpy men who hate everyone but us
FOOD & DRINK
Try this crispy elderflower cocktail this bank holiday weekend

Experience the flavours of summer with the perfect drink created by the Absolut mixologists – an elderflower cocktail!With the bank...

By Holly O'Neill

‘Bridgerton’ and why we love grumpy men who hate everyone but us
INTERIORS
Seven simple tips to make lighting your home easier

Choosing the right lights for your home isn’t as easy as you might first think.  Here are a few tips...

By Lauren Heskin

‘Bridgerton’ and why we love grumpy men who hate everyone but us
LIVING
I can’t stop thinking about Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac… even though I know it’s fake

Former Julliard classmates and friends for over 20 years, Jessica Chastain and Isaac Oscar are both in committed relationships with...

By Sarah Finnan

‘Bridgerton’ and why we love grumpy men who hate everyone but us
CULTURE
Shall we just give Kristen Stewart the Oscar now?

We finally got a first look at the actress as Princess Diana in the upcoming film, 'Spencer'.

By Lauren Heskin

‘Bridgerton’ and why we love grumpy men who hate everyone but us
FOOD & DRINK
What to make: almond, chia & raspberry ice lollies

Forget high-sugar ice lollies, these homemade vegan ones are SO much nicer and call for three simple ingredients and five...

By Meg Walker