"Pride & Prejudice" is the most classic Regency enemies-to-lovers tale, and "Bridgerton" finds way to pay tribute to not only the novel itself, but also the classic 1995 BBC miniseries and the 2005 movie that starred Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.
Anthony Bridgerton is definitely rocking a better-than-everyone-else Mr. Darcy vibe in the first episode. He's intent on finding a wife accomplished enough to make his viscountess. He goes on a series of awkward dates with different eligible women, but no matter how smart or talented or pretty they are, none of them meet his incredibly high expectations. It's quite similar to an early moment in "Pride & Prejudice," when Darcy and Caroline Bingley recount just what would make a woman accomplished.
Darcy and Caroline declare that for a woman to be truly "accomplished," she must "have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages ... [and] she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions." Plus, she must be very well read. Elizabeth has the perfect response, saying, "I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any."
Then, one of Kate and Anthony's earliest interactions happens at a ball, where Kate overhears the viscount talking to his friends about how no woman has proven up to his exacting standards. It parallels the scene in "Pride & Prejudice" where Darcy complains to Bingley about the women gathered at their country dance. In "Bridgerton," Kate is caught eavesdropping and confronts Anthony; in "Pride & Prejudice," Elizabeth must wait to rub her knowledge in Darcy's face.
The 1995 BBC miniseries is perhaps most famous for one shot — that of Mr. Darcy (played by a young Colin Firth) climbing out of a lake, his shirt soaking wet and leaving little to the imagination. Anthony finds himself in a similar predicament in episode five, when he trips over Kate's dog, Newton, and lands himself in a lake. He rips off his jacket and climbs out of the water in just his wet, sheer shirt, giving both Sharma sisters an eye full.
The second season also has quite a few references to the "Pride & Prejudice" adaptation. One of the most famous moments from that film is a close-up of Darcy's hand after he touches Elizabeth, and this season of "Bridgerton" contains many close-up shots of Anthony and Kate's hands. And at the end of episode five, when Kate and Anthony meet after a sleepless night to discuss their predicament, they give major 2005 "P&P" vibes. In that movie, Darcy proposes to Elizabeth for a final (and successful) time after they both spend a sleepless night apart.