Netflix's Polin Are Not Friends-To-Lovers, Bridgerton S3 Is Based On Different Trope

Netflix's Polin Are Not Friends-To-Lovers, Bridgerton S3 Is Based On Different Trope
Image credit: Netflix

Could this confusion lead to viewer disappointment?


  • Bridgerton Season 3 is widely described as a friends-to-lovers story.
  • However, all evidence points to a completely different trope.
  • And it might explain why many fans were disappointed by the story of Penelope and Colin Bridgerton.

Bridgerton Season 3 is widely referred to on social media and in the press as the friends-to-lovers season. After all, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, the book by Julia Quinn on which the new chapter is based, is one of the best examples of this trope in the romance genre.

However, after a few rewatches, some Bridgerton fans have come to the somewhat shocking conclusion: the third entry of Bridgerton is based on an entirely different trope. And this idea makes a lot of sense when you take a closer look at the story of Penelope and Colin Bridgerton.


The friends-to-lovers trope is characterized by a strong platonic bond between the leads and a slow-burning romance. Being soulmates forever remains the essence of the story, even as the relationship gradually changes and sexual tension builds.

However, Bridgerton didn't really show Penelope and Colin as friends and soulmates. Yes, they call themselves friends since childhood and mention writing to each other during Colin's travels. But without any kind of visual proof (flashbacks would work perfectly here), they don't feel more than acquaintances.

Friends have intimacy, inside jokes, they spend time together, they care about each other. They go to each other with problems and discoveries. In Bridgerton, this is shown very well in the relationship between Penelope and Eloise. And that gives you a pretty good idea of the real trope that Bridgerton Season 3 was built around.

Season 3's Real Main Trope

Think about the bond between Penelope and Eloise, the fact that Pen has been in love with Colin forever, and his sudden realization that she is the one. These are all traits of the so-called 'best friend's sibling' trope.

This trope often goes something like this. Similar to Pen, the female lead has a crush on her best friend's hot older brother, but feels unworthy of him and is afraid to confess her feelings. On top of that, the best friend acts as king of the third wheel, not letting the leads get close. The brother never really notices his little sister's friend until she suddenly turns into a desirable woman.

Netflix's Polin Are Not Friends-To-Lovers, Bridgerton S3 Is Based On Different Trope - image 1

Sounds familiar, right? Bridgerton Season 3 was literally dedicated to the theme of outer and inner transformation. And it seems that Colin only started to notice Pen after she got prospects at the marriage mart and fell in love after the first kiss. Before that, she was just a little girl who admired him and boosted his ego with her letters.

It is probably this mix-up with the main tropes that confused and disappointed fans (as evidenced by several social media posts). Even though Pen and Colin were constantly referred to as friends, there wasn't enough build-up to their romance, and most importantly, they didn't handle the Whistledown crisis as true partners who had been close for years. Heck, they didn't even bond over their shared passion for writing. At least not on screen.

And while it was an inexcusable mistake for 'friends-to-lovers', it feels as a natural progression for the 'best friend's sibling' storyline.

What trope do you think Bridgerton Season 3 is based on?