Fleabag: A Tale of Depravity and Depression

It’s been a while since I last posted anything, I’m aware. However, I’m working to change that. I’ve been spending the Christmas break binge-watching series, and a few of them have stood out to me and inspired me to return to my neglected blog. The first is Fleabag.

Fleabag is a black comedy created, written and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Most people would recognise from the second season of Broadchurch, however I’m sure there are a few people, who like me avoided the second season of Broadchurch because they’d heard it was terrible, and had no idea who she was.

Fleabag is a new addition to the trend of comedies that are both hilarious and simultaneoulsy depressing. Like Crazy Ex Girlfriend, You’re The Worst, Bojack Horseman (which I’ve never seen, but I’ll be sure to change that soon), this show offers a terrifyingly accurate depiction of mental illness.

The unnamed character (all the reviews I’ve read refer to her as ‘Fleabag’) is very similar to Rebecca Bunch and Gretchen Cutler. She’s an intelligent, witty, sarcastic woman who just happens to be damaged. Like them, she’s also a very sexual person, as seen in the opening scene. However it must be noted that she prefers the “drama” of sex to sex itself.

Her relationships with people tend to vary from dysfunctional to hostile. From her sister, to her father, the men she sleeps with, to her absolutely monstrous stepmother, played with manipulative relish, by Olivia Colman. In fact, the only relationship she has that seems normal and healthy, is that with her best friend, Boo, who dies before the show begins (this isn’t a spoiler, but her death is both hilarious and heartbreaking).

Fleabag (the character), is a delight. From the moment she breaks the fourth wall the first time, she invites us into her world, her funny, messy, bleak, depressing world. Whether she’s emotionally manipulating (and actually scaring) her boyfriend, to breaking champagne glasses and making a scene at her demon stepmother’s sexhibition, everything she does is worth watching.

Something about this show really affected me. In fact at the fifth episode, I started crying and I couldn’t stop. Maybe it’s because with the writing, and with the terrific performances, Fleabag doesn’t come off as cartoonish in anyway, instead it dives into the pool of ugliness and pain that exists in the main character, refuses to demonise her and connects with us, making the audience feel what she’s feeling.

Before I end this, I need to add that the sequence at the beginning of episode 2 is one of the best things I’ve seen on TV. If you haven’t watched Fleabag, watch it now.