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Fleabag – One of 2016’s Darkest and Funniest Comedies

I sat in my lecture as the 8000-year old professor (a sweet man, has been ready to retire for the past 10 years) attempted to work the laptop in front of him. He swore to us that he had a great series to show us, and we would all love it. I didn’t believe him. How could someone so much older than me possibly know what TV show I would like? Dare I say it… I was wrong.

He showed us Fleabag: a wickedly funny British comedy starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the star of Netflix’s Crashing. Adapted from her one-woman play, Phoebe plays “Fleabag” who is coping with the death of a friend, an unstable love life, her asshole father, and witch of a sister. It may sound like the classic chick flick-eque series, but it isn’t. Nominated for 13 awards, winning a BAFTA TV award for best female performance in a comedy program, Fleabag wins over every cold, dead, heart that watches.

Photo Source: Stylist Magazine

Fleabag is talking to you. Turning to the camera and whispering jokes to you while in the middle of a scene: you are her best friend now. You become attached to your new friend, and quickly become invested in her as a human being. She’s pathetic, but you love her immediately. Her raunchy humor and witty one-liners will have you cracking up in seconds, but the depression, anxiety, and sadness will leaving you wondering at the end of six episodes: is she going to be okay?

At first, Fleabag’s confidence is exhilarating. She controls her own narrative with ease. That is, until we see her crumble. She must deal with her failing guinea-pig themed cafe, creep around her manipulative stepmother, and attempt to bond with her controlling sister. She manages, but not without royally screwing up nearly everything in the process. Her best friend, Boo, is but a flashback throughout the series. Seeing Fleabag and Boo so happy just months before makes it all the more heartbreaking to see how Fleabag copes with her death. Boo’s death is no secret- it’s addressed in the first episode. The story of her death, well, that’s for you to find out.

In an interview with Variety Magazine, Waller-Bridge states that originally, she flat out refused to do a second season. However, after thinking about it, she said she may have “found a new way in.” The second season will apparently be something completely different, likely at a totally different time in Fleabag’s life. The first season ended with a strong arc for Fleabag, and it wrapped up well as a self-contained series. As great as that is, it’s still an open-ended finale that leaves promising opportunity for future plots.

Fleabag is an unconventional balance of funny, depressing, and elegant awkwardness. It is something that, surprisingly, appeals to most age groups. It takes something special to unify audiences, and Fleabag is something to be proud of. With Waller-Bridge confirming the second season, you better catch up on the first!

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