Review: Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag

Fleabag is a British 6 part comedy series exclusively on Amazon Prime. It’s fair to call it a comedy – it has some very funny moments – but it’s about a woman in terrible emotional pain and distress. Some minor spoilers ahead.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is Fleabag. Waller-Bridge also wrote the series, which was originally produced as a play. Her performance as Fleabag is brilliant. Quirky, inexplicable behavior marks her days. She struggles to survive and manages to be inappropriate at almost everything. Fleabag is unique as a protagonist, and we are better off because of it.

Fleabag speaks to the camera. Asides that break the fourth wall reveal her internal snark, even as she smiles on the outside and tries to look like a person who has things together. She does not have things together.

She has sex with EVERYONE, even men she can’t stand. Her peculiar boyfriend Harry (Hugh Skinner) breaks up with her regularly. She breaks down at uncontrollable moments. She never speaks up for herself. She’s a train wreck. A charming, lovable train wreck.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag and Jenny Rainsford as Boo in Fleabag
Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag and Jenny Rainsford as Boo. The guinea pig part was uncredited.

Fleabag and Boo (Jenny Rainsford) had a guinea pig themed cafe together. Then Boo was killed in an accident right in front of the cafe. Fleabag is mourning her loss and wracked with pain about it. She’s about to lose the cafe and can’t get a loan to keep it afloat.

Sian Clifford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag.
Sian Clifford plays Fleabag’s sister

Fleabag and her sister Claire (Sian Clifford) are expected to show up at their father’s house for their yearly dinner in honor of their mother’s memory. Dad (Bill Paterson) has a new wife (Olivia Coleman) who is the godmother to the sisters and former best friend of their mother. The relationship Fleabag has with her godmother is over the top dysfunctional. Olivia Coleman is hilarious in this part.

The godmother is an artist who is putting on a sexhibition of her sex life since a very young age. Way too much information. Fleabag steals some of her art, then gives it to her brother-in-law Martin (Brett Gelman) to sell. Instead, he gives it to Claire as a birthday gift – while at a party at his mother-in-law’s house. When Claire finds out where it came from, she makes Fleabag return it.

Fleabag can’t actually figure out how to get along with anyone since she lost Boo. Not her sister, not any of the men swirling about, not her father, not her banker, not her stepmother.

Claire has problems of her own. She wants to leave Martin. She’s been offered a great job in Finland. Will she take it? It would mean leaving her broken sister, her weirdo stepson, and her husband behind.

The series ends in a surprising way that gives us a bit of hope for Fleabag’s road to better mental health. Maybe.

If you are able to see this series, you should watch it. Fleabag really needs all the love she can get. Immediately. I am in favor of giving it to her.

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