Literature: Bridget Jones
aka: Bridget Jones Diary
Domestic and Romantic Comedy
series by British author Helen Fielding.Bridget Jones's Diary
began as a newspaper column in The Independent in 1995, and ran on-and-off until 2006. Its earlier years were eventually collected / rewritten into two novels, one self-titled and the other subtitled The Edge Of Reason
. Both were eventually made into films starring Renee Zellweger
in the title role. They focus primarily on Bridget's existence as a single, unwed thirty-something who is somewhat prone to exaggeration. She perceives herself as overweight
, dependent on self-help books, alcohol and cigarettes, and generally hopeless, the type who must fight "fears of dying alone and being found three weeks later half-eaten by an Alsatian." Nonetheless, she attempts to persevere as a self-assured, satisfied "Singleton" despite being increasingly surrounded by "Smug Marrieds" who seem to have turned This Loser Is You
into an artform.
Naturally, this is all Played for Laughs
, but the character's unexpected popularity made it clear that a lot of people could relate.
Both novels are based loosely on Jane Austen
works: the first on Pride and Prejudice
, and the second on Persuasion
. The former's influence is very direct, with Bridget as Elizabeth, publisher Daniel Cleaver as Wickham and barrister (for us Yanks, that's "lawyer") Mark Darcy as, get this, Mr. Darcy. Mark is particularly influenced by Colin Firth
's portrayal of the role in the BBC's '95 film adaptation, particularly his Sexy Soaked Shirt
scene which Bridget, Shazzer and Jude frequently replay on tape. This created all-new levels of fangirl-swooning when Firth agreed to reprise(?) his role as Darcy for the ''Bridget Jones' films. (It also created all-new levels of Celebrity Paradox
for the second book, in which Bridget, the character, conducts a newspaper interview with Colin Firth, the actor.) Meanwhile, an actor friend of Fielding's, Hugh Grant
, was cast as Cleaver.
A third Bridget Jones film is currently in development, adapted from the storyline in the 2005-2006 columns. A third novel
, subtitled Mad About the Boy
was published in October 2013.
Tropes used in the various Bridget Jones media:
- Jerkass: Both Richards, Jude's boyfriend later ex-husband and Bridget's boss; Daniel's temporary fiancee Lara and Mark's partner Natasha.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: What Mark eventually is more or less revealed as, Daniel has his moments, but really Bridget's demanding supervisor Perpetua (who stands up for her when she tells Daniel she's quit).
- Ladykiller in Love: Subverted with Daniel. He does love Bridget, but that doesn't sway his wandering eye (and pants) and he is more of a Romantic False Lead for her.
- Lethal Chef: The highlight of Bridget's cooking is blue soup "made of" melted plastic string.
- Likes Older Women:
- Bridget got this in her 30s, when Mark's teenage cousin attempts to flirt and dance with her, with a Raging Stiffie involved.
- Roxster, Bridget's boyfriend in the third book. He says he likes they have a voice of their own and more to say.
- Light Girl, Dark Boy: The movies have a blonde Bridget with the darker haired Mark and Daniel.
- Lipstick and Load Montage:
- In the montage where Bridget prepares to impress her boss Daniel at the upcoming book launch, she does the following: brushes up on conversational skills, studies up on current events, shave and wax, uses a body brush, rolls up her hair, picks out a sleek black dress and weighs the options between a control-top panty and a thong before deciding on the former.
- The second film has a montage that includes more Fashion Hurts and the inclusions of such tropes as Of Corset Hurts in addition of a haircut that has to be ravaged by the damage done by a deluded hairdresser.
- Lipstick Lesbian: In the second film it's the very feminine Rebecca Gillies who harbours a crush on Bridget.
- London Town: The kind of world with a lot of white-collar professionals, journalists, publicists, bankers, barristers, and Smug Married couples.
- Loser Gets the Girl: Subverted after the Cockfight, Bridget rushes to Daniel's side and scolds Mark for being just as bad as the "fuckwits" she has to deal with only to dash any idea Daniel may have of getting back together with her.
- Mama's Boy: Many viewers and a critic have seen Mark Darcy as this, though his mother serves more as a background player and isn't manipulative or anyway unpleasant.
Cara Ann Lane
: He is the epitome of a sensitive new age man, handsomely packaged in a nice suit. However, the catch to this characterization is his tendency to be manipulated and controlled by the women in his life. While exhibiting his sensitivity and awareness of the needs of others, he is hesitant to stand up for his own desires. His mother and his law partner/girlfriend both make most of the decisions in his life. The film suggests his ex-wife, who had an affair with Daniel (one of the factors leading to this fight), exercised similar control over Darcy.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Played with and somewhat deconstructed with the slightly flighty Bridget, the films and books are from her POV, yet she does get the brooding Mark (and later Wallacker) to see things from a brighter and fresher view and is different from all the polished,snotty women and conservative politics they've been exposed to; deconstructed in that she refutes a "you complete me" speech from Daniel in the 1st film.
- Mean Boss: A few examples.
- The 1st film and book have Perpetua, who is said to be some arrogant woman that is in a more "slightly senior" position than Bridget and is said to be a thorn in her side; she did tell Daniel off for his treatment of Bridget.
- Richard Finch is a straight example, sometimes behaving lewdly around Bridget when he isn't belittling her.
- Mid-Battle Tea Break: After crashing a birthday party, Darcy and Cleaver politely stop fighting for a moment to sing along with "Happy Birthday."
- Monochrome Casting: It can be safe to say that it's easier to find a needle in a haystack than it is to find a main or secondary character that isn't of Anglo-Saxon descent, the 1st book's British Edition mentioned an Aunt of Mark looking a lot like Shakira Caine (changed to Faye Dunaway in the American edition), but aside from Pam's boyfriends and Bridget's cellmates, that's about it.
- Mrs. Robinson: In the third book, Bridget has a relationship with a man twenty years her junior, causing them both to think of her along these lines. She's particularly torn when she finds out that his thirtieth birthday is the same day as her friend's sixtieth.
- My Beloved Smother: Pam Jones, can get very critical of her daughter (who guiltily tries to avoid telling her things), to the point that her husband onetime asked her leave Bridget alone when it comes to the colors she wears, the guys she dates, and her life in general.
- The 3rd book has Nicollette, who is a poised yet cold Foil to Bridget, is very demanding of her young (and insecure) sons putting 200% into their school and sports; she thankfully loosens up but not before a digital breakdown sometime after being called out for her parental skills.
- Mythology Gag: Colin Firth's famous lake scene is parodied in the first film. A drunk and boorish Cleaver falls face-first into the drink, then whoops it up with Bridget as an envious Darcy looks on (clearly wishing he could join in).
- Neutral Female: The first Cock Fight between Mark and Daniel puts Bridget in this role, justified since she and her friends were very puzzled with the situation and didn't know exactly who to root for.
- New Year's Resolution: Bridget Jones's Diary starts with Bridget listing her resolutions. At the end, she makes an assessment of her year, and notes that she kept one of her resolutions (which she rates as a very good result).
- Nice Girl: Bridget is a very kind, loving, friendly person who cares about her family and friends; even comforting the babysitter she previously viewed as the paragon of perfection after said girl gets dumped.
- No Periods, Period: Brought up time to time, especially in the second movie when Bridget gets a pregnancy scare after noting she and Mark had 8 uninterrupted weeks having coitus together.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay:
- Averted by the closeted Uncle Geoffrey.
- In the 3rd book, it's averted with Tom. He was in his early thirties in the beginning of the story.
- Non-Idle Rich: There are many wealthy characters in the books, yet plenty of them do work. Most notably Mark, who works as a Human Rights lawyer; Wallacker learns this about Bridget in the 3rd book when she reveals she writes and doesn't spend a lot of her time at the beauty salon despite what he thinks.
- The 2nd film has Rebecca Gillies, a personal assistant, whose father owns "half of Australia".
- Not Like Other Girls: Mark says something of the sort to Bridget when he's asking her not for dinner in the novel.
- Of Corsets Funny: Bridget's Iconic Item is her panty girdle that only serves to embarrass her, to the point where such garments are often referred to as "Bridget Jones Knickers" in the UK.
- Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Two couples at the same time in the first movie. Mark and Natasha are dignified and discuss their case as they are both lawyers. Bridget and Daniel have more fun. She recites John Keats' poem "To the Autumn" (Daniel specifically forbade Keats and it's a misquote), and he tries to outshout her with a dirty limerick. He then parodies the iconic "I-am-King-of-the-World" scene from Titanic, and unsurprisingly falls into water. He doesn't want to be the only one wet and tries to swing the boat with Bridget as well. Prim and proper Natasha is horrified ("How childish!"), but Mark looks as if he envied them.
- Old Maid: What Bridget perceives herself to be.
- The One Guy: Tom, in Bridget's group of friends.
- One Head Taller: Film versions certainly applies to Bridget (Renee Zellweger is 5'4") with Daniel (Hugh Grant at 5'11") and Mark (a 6'2" Colin Firth), but especially with the latter.
- One-Hit Wonder: In-Universe example. James Callis plays one here. Tom retired in the mid-eighties upon discovering that one hit song was quite enough to get laid for all time..
- One Steve Limit: Averted with anyone named Peter (Bridget's ex boyfriend, Mark's brother in Hong Kong, or a doctor Bridget dates it a few columns) and again with two Rebeccas in the books (Bridget's bitchy acquaintance and her Bourgeois Bohemian neighbor), it's even lampshaded with the latter Rebecca being called "Rebecca the Neighbor."
- Only Child Syndrome: Mark and Bridget in the films don't appear to have any siblings, whereas the novels had Bridget's older brother Jamie and a mention of Mark's brother Peter getting married.
- Pair the Spares: Giles & Rebecca (loosely, since Giles and Bridget were never interested in each other romantically.)
- Parental Hypocrisy: A rare parent to adult child example. In this deleted scene available on DVD in Europe, Pam (who had been briefly separated from her husband and was sleeping with another man the previous year) scolds Bridget about having pre-marital sex with Mark.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: Bridget harbors this for the Colin-Firth version of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy (as does Jude) (and Shazzer). Notably, she frequently refers to the actor as "Mr. Darcy" instead of by his real name.
- Proper Tights with a Skirt: Bridget frequently wears tights with her short skirts.
- Put on a Bus: In the third book, Shazzer has moved to California and is replaced by Bridget's glamorous new friend Talitha.
- Race for Your Love: three times over the course of both movies; subverted twice, played straight once.
- Racist Grandma: The first books (and film) have Pam with the racist part pat down with her views of the Japanese as a "cruel race" at least when regarding Mark's first wife, considers homosexuality to be laziness, and she nicknames an African Tribal man "Wellington" since she can't pronounce his real name. The 3rd book already has her as a Grandmother.
- Real Men Cook: Mark Darcy saves Bridget in the kitchen when she ruins dinner she has been cooking for her friends.
- Real Women Have Curves: Bridget the feminine, curvy, warm, and blonde Girl Next Door, is contrasted with the thinner, angular, and comparatively masculine Alpha Bitch Natasha in the first film.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Subverted and Deconstructed in both Mark and Bridget's declaration of love, they each admit the other's faults but noted that despite all that, they're great the way they are.
- Red Pill, Blue Pill: Played with in that for Mark, the Betty Bridget is serves as the red pill who is more honest, passionate, loving, and without pretense compared to the safe option of Natasha (the Veronica) who cares more about nabbing him as an ideal Trophy husband and for social climbing.
- Refuge in Audacity: An out-of-universe example. While preparing for the first film, Renee Zellweger worked undercover at a publishing house. She wasn't recognised, despite keeping a framed photo of fiancee Jim Carey on her desk. None of her co-workers questioned this, worried about offending her.
- Remember the New Guy: In the 3rd book, Bridget notes new character Talitha as a colleague of hers back when she was a presenter on the news, whether she was around during the events of the 2nd book or met Bridget in between books is not known.
- Rich Bitch: Plenty to go around and all as Bridget's Foil.
- The 1st book and film with Natasha, a successful lawyer who sneers at Bridget (who serves as a Romantic threat)
- The 2nd book has Rebecca, who is very wealthy along with persuasive and self-centered. She picks at Bridget's self-image whenever she can.
- The 3rd book has Nicollette Martinez, one of the posh Education Mamas Bridget runs into at the school-run, she thankfully learns to loosen up.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Many of the Sloane Rangers and perhaps the older upper-middle class adults in Bridget and Marks' parents' peer group. For example, they ask inappropriate questions about dating status and do many questionable things that reflect poorly on their judgement.
- Romantic False Lead: Julio, Bridget's mum's lover. In the second book, Rebecca.
- Daniel counts as this (except in the columns) in the tradition of Pride and Prejudice, Natasha merely sets herself up as the lead in the film/novel she appears in, alas for her she fails.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Mark and Bridget, when they start going out.
- Selective Obliviousness: Bridget Jones's mother. Having just got out of rehab for addiction to excitement:
"Well, I was supposed to say, 'I will not allow overconfidence to blind me to reality' and, 'Today I will recognize my faults as well as my assets.' I mean, it was completely ridiculous, darling."
- Setting Update: Jane Austen Recycled In Space!!
- Sexy Soaked Shirt: The first movie had a scene where Daniel was fooling around while he and Bridget were rowing their individual boats in a pond, he ends up falling into the water and the camera soon focuses on Daniel and the soaked shirt clinging to his body.
- Shared Universe: Apparently with Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole novels: in Adrian Mole: The Cappucino Years, Bridget (in a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo) is seen having dinner in the restaurant where Adrian works.
- She Is All Grown Up: Bridget grew up from a little girl who played in her underwear in Mark's paddling pool at his birthday party into an adorable, shapely woman chasing after him in a sweater, blouse, and her panties. Mark once used to be that little boy who was bemused/annoyed at that little girl and became...Colin Firth.
- She's Got Legs: Two film examples.
- Rebecca Gillies in the second film is noted for having "legs up to here" *armpit area*, not that she shows them off a lot but it's fairly obvious with her tall and thin frame.
- Bridget wears miniskirts and dresses that show off her "climber's legs", with the 1st film having a close up on her slim ankles and calves on her shapely frame after stepping off the scale.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: One of Bridget's resolutions is to find "a nice, sensible boyfriend" and not to date any dysfunctional men, this doesn't stop her from dating Daniel yet she ends up with Mark (the Good Man in question).
- Sleeping with the Boss: This is a significant driver for the (that and the Belligerent Sexual Tension with the other love interest).
- Small Name, Big Ego: Cosmo, one of the Smug Marrieds, Bridget comments in the 3rd book that he (albeit of a bland appearance and a boorish manner) believes that anyone would be lucky to be with him.
- Snake Oil Salesman: In the role of Wickham, Julio, who sleeps with Bridget's mom. He works in TV commercials.
- Snow Means Love:
- At the end of the first film, half-dressed Bridget runs after Mark who seemingly left her when it's freezing. They're reunined, he hugs her and they kiss, it starts snowing and he covers her with his coat.
- In the second movie, there's a brief Call Back when Bridget mentions the above when she wants to get together again. She says that a moment they share might be romantic even without snowing.
- Soapbox Sadie: This is basically Shazzer, sans the teenage part and with a double helping of "strident feminism."
- Sophisticated as Hell: What did the usually proper and eloquent barrister Mark Darcy say to Bridget when she gasped that "nice boys don't kiss like that"? He replies: "Oh yes they fucking do" and kisses her again.
- Spoiled Sweet: The books mention Jude as coming from a titled family and she earns an ample income that allows her vacations and designer clothing. She is a very devoted and well-meaning friend, also willing to lend Bridget her clothing for certain occasions.
- Stylistic Suck: The Leaves in His Hair, Bridget's effort to rewrite Hedda Gabler as the story of a woman in modern-day London. Could have been good, actually, but executive meddling ruins it all and instead of gloomy London, it's set on a yacht.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Mark and Daniel, as played by Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.
- Take a Third Option: Bridget has two options. She can accept a permanent state of spinsterhood and... eventually be eaten by Alsatians, or NOT. Bridget chooses vodka. And Chaka Khan.
- Terse Talker: appears v. freq. in the text. It is a diary, after all.
- This Loser Is You: Loveless yet Loving Bridget stuck at boring job though with enough overtones of Cool Loser that fans don't complain. She later lands a job on TV.
- Title Drop: one of the chapters in The Edge Of Reason is entitled "Persuasion."
- Titled After the Song: The 3rd book's title references the song "Mad About The Boy" (Dinah Washington cover), which Bridget even dances to in one scene.
- True Blue Femininity: In the films, Bridget wears a lot of blue clothing, especially tops, and is a gentle hearted woman. Here◊,there◊, aqui◊, another◊,and more◊ blue◊ shown in◊ both◊ of◊ the films◊.
- Tsundere: Mark Darcy, funnily enough. Though Bridget defrosts him over the story's course.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Slighty in the film with Daniel, Bridget appears calm and collected at first but then feels Daniel's hand on her butt, when they get off they flirt a little.
- Unfortunate Names: One can only wonder at how irritated Mark can be that he shares the same surname as a famous literary heartthrob and Bridget's initials are BJ...
- Uptight Loves Wild: Bridget isn't so much wild as she's clumsy and goofy, but the "gherkin up his arse" Mark falls in love with her and her messier ways, it goes to show that Mark ends up dropping all plans he set up or have been made for him (like an engagement that just sprang upon him in public) just to be able to start things afresh for Bridget.
- The Vicar: Rumoured (but never proven) to be gay, due to his flamboyant taste in surplices.
- Viewer-Friendly Interface: when Daniel and Bridget are instant-messaging in the movie.
- Weight Woe:
- Bridget constantly worries about her weight. And unless she's well below average height for a white Brit, the weights she writes down are within or only slightly over the 'healthy' range.
- The third book has a subplot where Bridget has put on a substantial amount of weight (through a combination of "middle-aged spread" and having had two children in the last few years) and is treated at an obesity clinic but even then, if she is average height, her weight would put her as slightly short of the medical benchmark for obesity. This was even lampshaded when the nurse that recommended the clinic to her told her that it had nothing to do with Bridget being obese, but it's an effective way for her to meet her healthy weight of 130-140 pounds.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Like their Pride and Prejudice counterparts, Mark was at first critical of Bridget and she even moreso of him, yet start realizing they really...like like each other.
- Whole Plot Reference:
- To Pride and Prejudice in the first book and the movie. Most characters do not correspond one-on-one; there is no Bingley and Bridget has no sisters, only an older brother who is already settled. The main thrust is the Love Triangle and the different appeals that Bridget's two suitors have on her.
- Persuasion is a little closer to The Edge Of Reason, with Bridget as Anne, Mark as Captain Wentworth, Rebecca as Louisa, Giles Benwick as Captain Benwick, and the Mr. Elliot subplot essentially done away with.
- Wimp Fight: Daniel and Mark are not very skilled at fighting, so their fights are always of the comic relief kind.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: As with Aerith and Bob many members of the Upper and Upper-Middle classes Bridget meets either have odd names or name their children do. The 1st book has the example of a friend of Perpetua named "Piggy".
- Writers Cannot Do Math: In the 2004 sequel, Bridget has an Imagine Spot where she sees her grave inscribed as "Bridget Jones: Spinster. 1972-2050"◊; later Bridget notes that she is 34 years old, which would but her birth date around 1970 rather than 1972 (then 32 years old).
- Wrong Guy First: In the manner of Pride and Prejudice with Lizzie/Wickham/Darcy. Bridget dates Daniel, whom she is convinced is the one despite the fact he embodies traits that she told herself to maintain a safe distance from; then later ends up with Mark, who she thought was the wrong guy at first.
- You Know What You Did: Bridget to Mark at the summer party they attended due to Daniel convincing Bridget that Mark has sex with his fiancee and she heard Mark badmouthing him.
- Your Cheating Heart: Mark's first marriage ended because his wife cheated on him, Pam briefly separates from Colin and dates another man, the first two books have Magda's husband Jeremy cheat on her, and then there is the Bridget-Mark-Rebecca debacle....
- Your Television Hates You: Some seriously depressive TV shows are on the night when Bridget finds out that Daniel is cheating on her. At first a woman tells a man that it's her last chance to have a child, a brutal murder scene from Fatal Attraction, and finally, there is a documentary about wild lions and their mating rituals. Poor Bridget!
"The male penetrates the female and leaves. Coitus is brief and perfunctory."
- Zettai Ryouiki: Bridget is known for wearing short skirts (often of the A-line variety in the films) with mostly stockings/pantyhose and boots, leers like Daniel don't fail to notice.