TODAY book club

Blush with Bridget Jones: Her most embarrassing moments

Nov. 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM ET


Bridget Jones book ocvers
Peguin/Knopf

You haven't been embarrassed until you've been embarrassed like Bridget Jones — who seems to recover from one humiliation only to be greeted by the next in the line. Her relationships are fraught with misunderstandings, her work frequently makes her a laughingstock, and her cooking is a disaster (remember the blue soup?). So we've combed through her lovable misadventures (rather like how she's combing through everyone's hair for head lice in "Mad About the Boy") to determine Bridget's biggest disgraces as depicted in Helen Fielding's books and columns and the movies adapted from them.

Bodily dysfunctions

Bridget's body sometimes rebels against her — who can't relate to her hair getting blown out of proportion when she loses her scarf in a convertible car? And when she gets drunk or pregnant, there are frequent vomiting episodes. ("There goes your inner poise," quips caddish Daniel Cleaver when he hears her heaving). On her first date with a new love interest in "Mad About the Boy," she throws up a little bit in her mouth and runs to the bathroom to rinse it out, but luckily for her, he laughs it off. "Are you going to fart next?" he asks her. "It was fun because it made me feel so at home," she says. "Maybe this was someone who wouldn't be completely appalled by the bodily functions on display in our household." And on display they are, more so than ever before. Bridget and her "toy boy" boyfriend Roxster have running jokes about flatulence throughout the course of their relationship. ("I will always heart you," he texts at one point, only to add, "I meant fart, not heart, you understand.")

But Bridget's biggest quest to whip her body into shape has always been her weight, and it's a struggle. That's why when she first discovers Daniel was cheating on her, it's humiliating enough to discover the naked woman he's hiding in his flat, but when said other woman says to Daniel, "I thought you said she was thin," Bridget is devastated.

Verbal vomit

Bridget has a tendency to speak or write first, think later. This happens when she makes phone calls, gives public speeches and send emails. In "Mad About the Boy," she accidentally refers to one of the other class mothers as "Nicorette," when the woman's name is "Nicolette," in a group email chain, but that gaffe is nothing compared to the wrong name she puts on her screenplay. Also, throughout "Mad About the Boy," Bridget experiments with Twitter, and finds that drunk tweeting about birds loses her some 550 followers in one night alone. Oops! She adds "do not text while drunk" to her list of dating rules to remember.

The winner in this area, however, has to be the accidental send-all of all her venting draft emails. "Have got into habit of venting feelings in e-mails and leaving in Mail Waiting to be Sent — like writing letters you're never going to send to ease psychological turmoil." So Bridget accidentally tells off her best friends, her doctor, and her boss ("Even though I am pregnant with no money, you can stuff your stupid job up your fat arse"), resulting in the temporary loss of said stupid job.

A job not so well done

Truth be told, Bridget was never that happy or well-suited for her various jobs — perhaps why one of her bosses got a glimpse of her resume on her computer screen before Bridget could hide it. During her temporary stint as a journalist, her interviews didn't often go well — but it's not always her fault. During one live report at a fire station, she was supposed to slide down a pole and into the interview, but was cut off. During another report, which she was supposed to do on horseback, her interview subject sabotaged her by giving her an uncooperative steed. (Her cheery "And now back to the studio!" was all she could do to salvage the situations).

The most hilarious instance of Bridget screwing up at work is depicted in "Edge of Reason," when she managed to score a sit-down interview with none other than Colin Firth for The Independent, to promote his new film "Fever Pitch." Instead of running her finished article, the newspaper runs the full transcript, which is filled with questions such as, "What is your favorite color?" and "Do you think the book of 'Fever Pitch' has spored a confessional gender?" ("Excuse me?" Firth responds). But most of the interview is Bridget fixating on Firth's 'Pride and Prejudice' plunge in the lake and emerging all wet — How many shirts did it take? she desperately wants to know. Firth moans and groans his way through the interview, which ends with "protracted crashing noises followed by sounds of struggle."

All around silliness

Bridget finds herself in all sorts of strange situations that sometimes require a bit of explanation — from running outside in her underwear, to skiing without her skis or down the wrong slope. Some are just absentmindedness (driving with a half a petrol pump attached to her car for two days, letting her tub overflow and flood the downstairs neighbor's apartment), some are miscommunications (wearing a bunny girl outfit to a party because she didn't get the message that the Tarts & Vicars theme had been discarded), and some just require a bit of explanation, such as when a representative of the British consulate walks in on her performing "Like a Virgin" while standing on a pile of mattresses wearing nothing but a Wonderbra and a sarong, using a Tampax as a microphone, in a Thai prison cell. But sticking her fingers down her throat and making a rude gesture, and yelling obscenities to the car next to her, only to discover that the driver was Mark Darcy's mother? There's no recovery from that.

Anyone Could Make That Mistake

Thinking she's writing a modern version of "Hedda Gabler," Bridget refers to the original text as "Hedda Gabbler," and claims that the author is Chekhov, when it is in fact Ibsen. Even though this error is pointed out to her in "Mad About the Boy," she fails to correct it, leading to a disastrous production meeting, a new screenwriter taking over, and losing her job on the film. She's made fun of in several situations for lacking knowledge about a subject (politics during one dinner party in "Edge of Reason," geography in another): "How can you go out with someone who doesn't know where Germany is?" Daniel Cleaver asks. Even her friends lovingly call Bridget a "ninny" because she can't read a basic pregnancy test — "Didn't you read the instructions? One line means you're not pregnant." But no matter how many times Bridget messes up, gets it wrong, fails at work or love or anything else in life, we all love her anyway — just as she is. She's the part of us that feels like an idiot most of the time anyway — and if she can keep forging on, so can we. 

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