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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, over-aged, 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.
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.
- 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: In a way. In the second book, Bridget interviews Colin Firth. Fielding actually interviewed Firth, and put his answers into the book.
- Be Yourself: Mark likes Bridget "the way 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.)
- Fan Service: The boys fighting in the fountain.
- Bunny suit, full stop.
- First Guy Wins
- Flamboyant Gay: Bridget's friend Tom (played by Gaius Baltar...)
- 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.
- Ice Queen: Bridget attempts this frequently, with mixed success.
- It's a Costume Party, I Swear: the "Tarts and Vicars" party
- Lethal Chef
- London Town
- Loser Gets the Girl
- Mid-Battle Tea Break: in one of the movies.
- New Years Resolution
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: averted by the closeted Uncle Geoffrey
- Old Maid: What Bridget perceives herself to be.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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