A comedy of manners. The Courtship might seem similar to plenty of other reality dating shows, but there’s one major twist: it’s set in Regency England.
The NBC series follows “heroine” Nicole Rémy as she attempts to find love with 16 suitors. The catch is that she — and the men — have to follow the social rules of the early 19th century, meaning they address each other as “Ms.” and “Mr.” and rarely interact alone.
“I had my heart broken. The guy that I fell in love with, he didn’t love me back,” Ms. Rémy, 26, explained during the show’s Sunday, March 6, premiere. “And that’s why I’m trying this whole experiment. Modern dating is not working for me. Courtship these days doesn’t happen. It’s really like, ‘I’m picking you up on a dating app,’ and there’s not the romance that you’re looking for.”
In addition to having the cast wear period dress, The Courtship‘s creators have attempted to recreate the mores of Regency England by making sure Ms. Rémy has help from family and friends when she’s choosing a partner. Instead of attending cocktail parties, the Seattle native and her suitors go to balls, where they share dances and whisper into each other’s ears while the rest of the cast looks on.
“I’m ready to fall in love and find love like they did in Jane Austen novels,” the software engineer explained. “Back then, everything meant so much more because it took time.”
The Regency was a relatively short period of British history, but it’s inspired a ton of pop culture, including the novels on which Bridgerton is based. The era’s name refers to the regency of King George III, who was deemed unfit to rule in 1811. His son George IV ruled in his stead as the prince regent until he became king himself in 1820. (George III only appeared briefly in season 1 of Bridgerton, but his wife, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), was a major player.)
On The Courtship, narrator and emcee Rick Edwards — known to the contestants as Mr. Edwards — occasionally explains Regency customs, including the one that Ms. Rémy uses to eliminate suitors. At the end of the first episode, the former NFL cheerleader wrote the names of six men on her “dance card,” then gave them one last chance to prove themselves in the ballroom. It’s not quite how dance cards worked in the real Regency, but it’s close enough — and easier to use than a dating app.
The Courtship airs on NBC Sundays at 8 p.m. ET. Episodes are available to stream on Peacock the next day. Keep scrolling to see what The Courtship gets right and wrong about Regency England: