I've Just Discovered Fleabag, Here's Why You Should Watch It
Every now and again a rare piece of TV gold falls into your life, and you have to drop everything and binge watch it all at once.
This has happened to me only a few times in my life: Skins (first gen), The Office (UK), Him & Her, Making A Murderer and now, Fleabag.
Now I know I’m late to the party – the show originally dropped on BBC3 in July and was broadcast on BBC2 during August – but after six solid hours of watching, I was left feeling like Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s unashamed comedy creation that speaks so strongly for our generation of women is worth shouting about.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first. The show, from the artist stepmother to owning a failing guinea pig-themed cafe screams white, middle-class privilege. But as much as that’s what it offers, it’s also this that it so cleverly critiques. It’s about the ridiculousness and truth in being bored and disinterested in your own world, when it’s actually at your feet.
Fleabag – I’ll refer to the protagonist as this, as we never actually learn her name – is a sex pest who masturbates to Barack Obama speeches next to her long-suffering boyfriend, can’t pay the rent and breaks the fourth wall to smirk at the camera whilst receiving anal. She’s narcissistic and irresponsible, but somehow accessible and lacking the grating obnoxious nature of her character’s obvious comparison, Lena Dunham’s Hannah.
In fact, one of the key differences between the series, is that Fleabag deals not just with the day-to-day struggles of learning how to ‘woman’, but of also how to deal with the crushing pains of non-romantic heartbreak. Fleabag has not only lost her mother but her best friend Boo (Jenny Rainsford), her demise key to the painful and stomach-turning plot development.
The key women in the series – Fleabag and her sister Claire (Sian Clifford), evil Godmother (Olivia Colman) and even Boo – stand out as strong characters in comparison to the men: distant and controlled Dad (Bill Paterson), the emotionally fragile ex-boyfriend Harry (Hugh Skinner), bank manager (Hugh Dennis) who has to attend classes to teach him how to ‘deal with women’ and her love interest whose character name “Bus Rodent” (Jamie Demetriou) kind of says it all.
Yet their typically British strength, steeped in repression, is also exposed as their weakness, in a show that uses brash, honest comedy to explore the topics of mental health and grief that are so important.
If you’ve not already, go and watch it. Then when you have join with me in hoping Phoebe Waller – Bridge spends 2017 holed up somewhere writing a whole lot more.
You can watch Fleabag HERE on BBC 3.
Images via BBC