Bridgerton Season 3: Is Penelope Really That Unlikable – or Just Flawed?

Bridgerton Season 3: Is Penelope Really That Unlikable – or Just Flawed?
Image credit: Netflix

With some viewers saying they're boycotting the show because of her, we take a look at whether she's really that unlikable.


  • Some viewers are planning to boycott the show because they don't like Penelope.
  • Is she really that bad – or just an integral part of the show?
  • Do those who find her unlikable see something of themselves in Pen?

A thread on Reddit hinted that some viewers are tuning out of season 3 of Bridgerton because they find Penelope so unlikable. Others were surprised to find such hatred directed at the character, who they described as "flawed" rather than someone they just can't stand.

So let's take a look at her character and actions to see which description is more accurate.

Who is Pen?

Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) is pretty much the heart of the show. She's the one who goes around gossiping about all the other characters and exposing their secrets.

At first glance, this makes her sound unlikable. But the truth is that she was pushed into society too early. She didn't want to start attending events and specifically asked to be held back a year like her best friend Eloise Bridgerton.

Naive and very much on the sidelines of the various events she attended, Penelope didn't even know how Marina got pregnant. It could be argued that it was curiosity that first led her to delve into secrets. And that she was too immature to be responsible for the secrets she began to uncover because she was sent out into the big wide world while still so innocent.

What don’t people like about her?

The first and most obvious reason to dislike Pen is that she is ‘purposefully being spiteful and will go to extreme lengths to keep her secret fun hidden’. This suggests an element of selfishness and deliberate wrongdoing that is the hallmark of a person others will not like.

It has also been implied that she has been "neglected by her family" and is out to "get back" at society, which, to be fair, hasn't been kind to her. Some might see this as justified. But feeling let down by society doesn't give someone carte blanche to destroy lives.

Even if Penelope could argue that she didn't initially understand the implications of her actions, once it became apparent that her actions were having a real impact on those around her, it's easy to argue that she should have put an end to her clandestine activities.

Continuing in the face of overwhelming evidence that she's causing harm is a hard act to defend. But when all is said and done, is she more flawed than evil?

Do viewers have a right to complain?

It's worth noting that the consensus of opinion is that most viewers don't want to boycott the show. But are those who want to avoid Bridgerton have a point?

Absolutely not!

Let's be honest, the whole premise of the show is that there's all kinds of stuff going on between the characters. That's what people tune in for. The Penelope character is just a way to reveal what's going on.

Take her out and it's still happening. And here's the thing – it's all happening because that's what the audience craves. They can't get enough of the scandal and the salacious gossip. And you know why? Because they're all just like Penelope.

So maybe the answer for those who find her unlikable is not to decide that they no longer want to participate in exposing the secret lives of the Bridgerton characters. Maybe they should look at themselves instead.

Are they a bit like the character they so despise? If so, is that so bad? Don't we all explore sides of ourselves vicariously through television? A decent TV show can be a great way to get your fix without actually hurting people around you or putting yourself at risk.

So let's stop hating on Pen and instead celebrate her for the character she is. Even if it feels a little uncomfortable.

Source: Reddit.