A culture blog, mostly focused on film and television. Warning: spoilers!!!
TV Review: Fleabag (Season 1 and 2)
June 29, 2019
Fleabag is adapted from genius Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s award-winning one-woman play of the same name. The titular, fourth-wall-breaking Fleabag, played by Waller-Bridge, is an electrifying personality—horny, cheeky, depressed—who is struggling to run a guinea pig-themed café in London. She deals with the weight of emotions after the unexpected death of her best friend and business partner Boo (Jenny Rainsford) while navigating tricky relationships within her family. Fleabag’s sister Claire (Sian Clifford) is a successful but repressed lawyer married to the always inappropriate Martin (Brett Gelman). Their father (Bill Paterson), a widower, is a passive presence in his daughters’ lives and is dominated by his live-in girlfriend and Fleabag’s artist godmother (Olivia Colman). Twelve half-hour long episodes divided evenly into two seasons are jam-packed with outrageous situations and shocking reveals as Waller-Bridge’s razor-sharp, pitch-black humour and economical story-telling dives right into the seething drama of Fleabag’s world.
The first season is strongly marked by grief. Fleabag is a woman whose life is falling apart so she fills in the void inside her with witticisms and lots of sex. She is haunted by the loss of her friend and she fails to find or accept proper support systems, instead speaking directly to the camera in quick asides to mock the apparently pathetic or ridiculous people around her. Her frankness gets her in trouble more than once as she is quick to provoke in order to distract herself and others from her own problems. Things comes to a head in the final episode concluding in a devastating series of broken relationships.
The second season of Fleabag is set a year after the first one and, on the surface, Fleabag is transformed. She has her life together and her café is thriving; however, Fleabag is still wrestling with emptiness and loss. She finds an outlet when she meets an unusual (and very hot) priest (Andrew Scott) who offers a listening ear and a great deal of understanding. She also briefly encounters a wise, older woman (Kristin Scott Thomas) who gives her some choice life advice. Fleabag encourages her neurotic sister to live a more satisfying life and the two of them mature together throughout the season.