When I was notified that NBC would be airing The Courtship, a reality dating show with Regency era costumes, manners and traditions, I was so excited I wanted to put it in my eyeballs immediately.
Now the first episode is finally out, and my cantankerous sixteen-year-old Siamese, Lady Pudding, and I are going to recap it.
Lady Pudding is a woman of refinement and opinions, think Lady Danbury but spicier.
The “heroine” of this season is Nicole Rémy.
She will be romanced by sixteen potential suitors, but in a cool twist she has her own “court” to help her decide. This court is made up of her parents; Mrs. Baker, her sister; and Ms. Cleary, her best friend.
We open with Nicole arriving at Castle Howard in York in a horse-drawn carriage. Her family and best friend arrive shortly after. The host/ narrator is a dude named Mr. Edwards. He announces that her court will be selecting some of Nicole’s dates on her behalf.
First of all, Nicole and her court retire to read letters of introduction from all sixteen gentlemen. The first letter from Mr. Cones, opens with “To my darling.”
Pudding: They haven’t even been introduced yet! The familiarity! Behead him!
Me: That’s not how this show works or dating in general.
Pudding: Well, it should.
In case you haven’t read my Bachelor/ette recaps I feel compelled to point out that in every single conflict, Pudding chooses violence. It’s just her way.
When she came to us as a foster she refused to be touched for months. Now she’s decided my husband and I are tolerable, for short periods of time, with her explicit consent. She was a foster fail when we realized that she had the most amazing, sassy, funny personality, but that it would take a certain person to appreciate her for who she is–a little bit murdery, a lot fabulous.
Mr. Hunter writes about himself in the third person. Weird.
One of the letters is addressed to “My best friend with sexual tension.”
Then it’s time for the welcome ball where Nicole will meet her suitors. Mr. Edwards meets them as they arrive by carriage or horseback. I don’t think there was this much hair gel in the Regency.
Mr. Edwards is a delightful troll. One of the suitors displays his singing ability and Mr. Edwards says dryly, “That’s enough now.”
If I were writing this as a contemporary romance set around a Regency dating reality TV show, Nicole and Mr. Edwards would wind up together at the end. Someone better write that fanfic.
Pudding enjoys Mr. Edwards’ low-key irritation at all of the suitors.
He asks Mr. Chapman if he’s ever done any big romantic gestures. “I’ve taken girls in my van before…” he replies.
He realizes the implications of what he’s just said and adds, “In a non-creepy way.”
There are extras in the ballroom performing Regency dances. Mr. and Mrs. Rémy, Mrs. Baker and Ms. Cleary enter the ball. On a side note, I think it should technically be Miss Cleary, but I’m following how the show lists her name. Also we learn that Mrs. Rémy is a physician and probably should be Dr. Rémy, but again, I’m following the show’s formatting here.
Nicole comes down wearing a gorgeous red dress.
Mrs. Baker introduces Nicole to Mr. Chapman aka Creepy Van Guy.
Pudding: You could never catch me in such a tasteless transport.
Me: You literally rode in a van on the way to the cat rescue.
Pudding: Gossip and lies!
She meets several of the suitors and conversation is awkward. Mr. Saffa admits he’s been practicing dancing, and he dances with Nicole. Mr. Ward says he wants to make a Tik Tok of him and Nicole dancing.
Nicole observes that whenever she tries to tell Mr. Ward about herself, he interrupts with stories about himself. Later Mr. Cones impresses her with his sense of humor.
Next up Nicole’s court picks six gentleman for tea and desserts by the fire. They pick Captain Kim, Mr. Saffa, Dr. Schanzer, Mr. Luxe, Mr. Ward, and Mr. Kesseler.
Dr. Schanzer tells Nicole he would never run out of things to talk about with her mom because they could discuss obstetrics (her mom is an OBGYN) and all of that comes out SUPER weird.
Pudding: Did he just say he could talk about vaginas with her mother? My word.
Later Nicole selects Mr. Bochicchio for a walk in the garden. We learn he’s a real estate agent in New York. They drink champagne and watch fireworks. Then Mr. Bochicchio leans in for a kiss.
Pudding: The audacity! I would have given him such a slap. With claws.
Then it’s time for the farewell dance. Nicole fills out her dance card with the names of six suitors. Three will eventually go home.
Mr. Saffa is worried he’ll be eliminated, but says he’s been practicing his dancing. Although he refers to it as “the two-one, two-one spinerewski.”
Pudding: I hate him.
The six suitors for the farewell dance are: Mr. Echavarria, Mr. Saffa, Mr. Ward, Mr. Luxe, Captain Kim, and Doctor Schanzer.
The other suitors go up to the balcony while Nicole takes turns dancing with the six suitors. She tells Mr. Luxe he should be more flirty and show her more of his personality, then she sends him to the balcony. Captain Kim is also asked to stay. He was the one who wrote to her “best friend with sexual tension” in a letter her mom read, and she warns him to be more circumspect in the future.
Nicole sends Mr. Ward home for not being “serious” enough. She also sends Mr. Echavarria home. Mrs. Baker notes that he didn’t have a “spark” about him.
So now we’re down to himbo Mr. Saffa and Dr. Schanzer who was awkward AF about her mom.
Pudding: What a choice. *Yawn*
Dr. Schanzer apologizes for his “facade” and then quotes Jane Austen. Then he pulls out a necklace for her.
Despite all of this, Nicole sends him home. He argues with her, asking her twice to change her mind, and then saying “How can you be sure so soon?”
This is when we’d release Pudding into the ballroom where she’d charge in screaming, “BOUNDARIES!” and claw the shit out of his stocking clad calf. Luckily we know Mrs. Rémy can bandage a wound.
He finishes by saying, “I think you’re making a big mistake.”
Mrs. Baker gasps in shock.
Mr. Saffa gives Nicole a hug, and that’s where we end.
Are you watching?