aka: Bridget Joness Diary
Domestic and Romantic Comedy
series by British author Helen Fielding.Bridget Jones' 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 Wet Sari 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 film, 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, where Bridget finds herself pregnant after sleeping with Daniel and Mark in quick succession and is uncertain as to who the father is
. A third novel
is now in the works too and due to be published in late 2013.
Tropes used in the various Bridget Jones media:
- Actor Allusion: Firth vs. Darcy. Also Bridget's boss, when she gets a news reporter job was played by Neil Pearson, who's portrayal is exactly the same as his role of Dave in Drop the Dead Donkey.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "Jaundiced Julian", and "Tangerine-tinted buffoon."
- Alone Among The Couples: The only thing worse than a smug married couple is... lots of smug married couples: Hugo and Jane, Cosmo and pregnant Woney, Alistair and Henrietta, Julia and Michael, Joanne and Paul, and Natasha Glenville dating Mark Darcy.
- Alpha Bitch: A mid-thirties version in Rebecca.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: a major subplot of the first book is Bridget's mum going on a midlife crisis, which only exacerbates her already-outrageous personality.
- As Himself:
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the launch of Kafka's Motorbike
, The Greatest Book of Our Time! [beat]
Obviously except for your books, Mr. Rushdie
, which are also very good. And Lord Archer, yours aren't bad either
- In the second book, Bridget interviews Colin Firth. Fielding actually interviewed Firth, and put his answers into the book.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "...and I think you should rethink the length of your sideburns."
- Be Yourself: Mark likes Bridget "just as she is".
- Betty and Veronica: Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver, respectively.
- Big "NO!": in the movie. When Bridget learns that Mark Darcy is moving to New York.
- Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: Bridget is hired as the British equivalent of this when she leaves to work for Sit Up Britain.
- Though (in 1997 at least) she's actually a Labour voter. (Though, well, in 1997 nearly all floating voters were Labour at the time.)
- Camera Abuse: Courtesy of Bridget's bottom. Never work with animals, kids, or fireman's poles.
- The Casanova: Daniel Cleaver.
- Celebrity Paradox: as mentioned, Bridget interviews Colin Firth in the second book. This was completely left out of the second movie for obvious reasons, though there is an improvised version available as an outtake on the DVD.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the first novel, Bridget has an older brother, Jamie, who she speaks to on the phone occasionally and who usually attends family gatherings. He is never mentioned in the second novel or either of the movies, though her mother does mention something about having raised "children" in the scene where she tells Bridget that she's left her father so it's possible that Bridget isn't her only child.
- To a lesser extent, Bridget's previous long-term boyfriend. possibly even partner, Peter. (Though less odd than a brother.)
- Cluster F-Bomb: Shazzer.
- Composite Character: Bridget Jones' Mother takes on not only the role of Mrs. Bennet, but also... Elizabeth's sister Lydia. Meanwhile, this is inverted by dividing Wickham into two characters, one who romances Bridget and the other who absconds with Pam.
- Creepy Uncle: Geoffrey (the Honorary Uncle)
- Double Standard: Dealt with frequently.
- Drowning My Sorrows: From the movie: "I will not be defeated by a bad man and an American stick insect. Instead, I choose vodka."
- Dyeing For Your Art: Zellweger gained something like two and a half stone (that's 30 pounds to Americans) for the role. (And then lost it again to do Chicago. And then put it back on again to do The Edge of Reason. Brave girl.)
- Dynamic Entry: Julio.
- Empty Fridge Empty Life: After the breakup with Daniel, there is only iced-up cheese in Bridget's fridge.
- Fake Brit: There was a certain amount of outcry when it was announced that Bridget, the "quintessential" modern Englishwoman (with an Irish first name and a Welsh second name), would be played by Texan Renee Zellweger. Then the film came out and some people started to think she was secretly from Britain. (She also received an Oscar nom for the film.)
- Fanservice: The boys fighting in the fountain.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Not this lady, that's for sure. After dyeing the soup blue, reducing the caperberry gravy to toxic waste, and managing to loose the fresh tuna, Bridget is obliged to step aside and let Darcy save the dinner.
- First Guy Wins
- Flamboyant Gay: Bridget's friend Tom (played by Gaius Baltar...)
- Flanderization: In the first movie, Cleaver's a womaniser who shows some remorse for his ways and seems to genuinely love Bridget in spite of his promiscuous nature. In the sequel he just comes across as a narcissistic Jerkass who only wants to get into Bridget's pants and literally could not care less about anyone but himself.
- Hello, Attorney!: Mark Darcy is a famous defense attorney who represents political refugees, and regarded as incredibly desirable by most women. Not his fiancée, alas.
- Henpecked Husband: Bridget's father, to a certain extent.
- Holiday in Cambodia: to Thailand, in the second book/film, complete with the drug charges. Played for drama, allowing Bridget to Take A Level In Badass as she works to get herself free.
- Hollywood Pudgy: Bridget, according to the other characters. Invoked directly by Daniel:
"I keep telling you nobody wants legs like a stick insect. They want a bottom they can park a bike in and balance a pint of beer on."
- Hollywood Tone Deaf: Bridget, at least in the movies.
- Homemade Sweater From Hell: Part of Mark's poor first impression. The novel also mentions bumblebee socks.
- Hypocritical Humor: Cleaver's brand of humor, particularly when discussing his latest book deal, the "Worst Book Ever Written" (while standing in front of one his ads proclaiming it "The Greatest Book Of Our Time")
- Ice Queen: Bridget attempts this frequently, with mixed success.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: When Bridget screws up her cooking, she takes a swig from a bottle of some alcohol.
- Ironic Echo: Mark Darcy is (taps nose significantly) still available!
Bridget: He's also (taps nose) still deranged!
- It's a Costume Party, I Swear: the "Tarts and Vicars" party
- Lethal Chef
- London Town
- Loser Gets The Girl
- Mid-Battle Tea Break: After crashing a birthday party, Darcy and Cleaver politely stop fighting for a moment to sing along with "Happy Birthday."
- Moral Event Horizon: In Edge of Reason when Cleaver sees Bridget getting arrested and just looks the other way.
- 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).
- New Years Resolution
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted by the closeted Uncle Geoffrey.
- 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 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.
- One Hit Wonder: James Callis plays one here. He retired in the mid-eighties upon discovering that one hit song was quite enough to get laid for all time.
- Oven Logic
- Pair the Spares: Giles & Rebecca (loosely, since Giles and Bridget were never interested in each other romantically.)
- 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.
- Playing Against Type: Gemma Jones played a meek mother in Sense And Sensibility. Here, she's the egomaniacal expy of Mrs. Bennet.
- Race for Your Love: three times over the course of both movies; subverted twice, played straight once.
- Romantic False Lead: Julio, Bridget's mum's lover. In the second book, Rebecca.
- 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!!!
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man
- Snake Oil Salesman: In the role of Wickham, Julio.
- Soapbox Sadie: This is basically Shazzer, sans the teenage part and with a double helping of "strident feminism."
- 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, though with enough overtones of Cool Loser that fans don't complain.
- Title Drop: one of the chapters in The Edge Of Reason is entitled "Persuasion."
- Tsundere: Mark Darcy, funnily enough. Though Bridget defrosts him over the story's course.
- Bridget, too. She's a Type A.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment
- 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
- Whole Plot Reference: To Pride and Prejudice in the first, Persuasion in the second. 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.
The Edge Of Reason is a little closer, 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
- Write Who You Know: Shazzer is based on Fielding's friend Sharon Maguire, who directed the first film. She did not play herself.
- Wrong Guy First
- You Know What You Did
- 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. Poor Bridget!
"The male penetrates the female and leaves. Coitus is brief and perfunctory."