Fleabag Season 1 Review- A refreshing, binge-worthy dark comedy

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6


Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dark humor show Fleabag is regarded by many as on par with Ricky Gervais’ “The Office”. The series is set in contemporary London and tells the tale of a bold woman who is in her early 30’s. The protagonist is very assertive when it comes to her opinions of herself and those of other people. She doesn’t hold back when speaking her mind, to the point where she shatters the fourth wall and communicates with the audience.

Over the course of six episodes, Fleabag, the owner of a struggling café, appears to apply for a business loan, has arguments with her courteously repulsive stepmother, engages in a love-hate relationship with her more seasoned sister, and juggles a dimwitted boyfriend and a hookup. Throughout the course of the season, she experiences flashbacks of a tragic event that includes her late best friend who was also her business partner. Furthermore, Fleabag, who is frequently enraged and grieving rejects anyone who even hints at trying to help her.

Fleabag doesn’t quite feel like a regular show because it’s premised on a play, which debuted at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which serves as the inspiration for the production. When Waller-Bridge was required to write a script for a 10-minute segment just before a stand-up storytelling event, Fleabag was conceptualized.

Waller-Bridge is an expert at diverting attention. She draws you in with humorous tales about Fleabag and just when you’ve grown accustomed to the best cringe comedy settings, Waller-Bridge delivers the secret that unlocks Fleabag’s armor. As her guinea pig eatery continues to struggle throughout the season, she is completely exposed to the public and we get an unfiltered view of a person trying to cope with guilt.

Even though Fleabag initially gives the impression that she is in charge of her life, it becomes clear to us very quickly that she is powerless over her insatiable sex drive. In actuality, it appears to be spreading out of control. Furthermore, Fleabag finds it both appealing and repulsive that femininity is constantly engaged in unhealthy competition.

The show stands out for its rebellious energy as well as the protagonist’s slap-in-the-face demeanor. Ms. Waller-Bridge is skilled at fusing unabashed confessionalism with comic theatricality, which enables her to access genuine emotional reserves—anger, fear, and especially profound sadness.

Breaking the fourth wall is not a unique storytelling method, however Waller-Bridge seems to be using it in a way that makes you feel not just like a spectator but also like a buddy she does not really know well but with whom she is clicking. The central protagonist draws us in by speaking directly to us and sharing all of her obscene ideas and her witty point of view. Furthermore, you end up feeling quite connected to the protagonist owing to the narration and witty moments.

In addition to being utilized for commentary, it also serves as a way to exemplify some degree of vulnerability and give the viewer access to her innermost thoughts. She seems to want to find out whether you can laugh with her rather than at her, to the point where it feels that you are a replacement for Boo. If you take a moment to reflect, you’ll see that the barrage of witty remarks she tosses our way is concealing some internal suffering.

Additionally, Fleabag’s insatiable desire for sex is yet another clear sign that something is wrong. She seems to be using unsatisfying sexual encounters with strangers to make up for a life-changing event that went horribly wrong. Not to mention that she is drawing us in to help her believe that everything is fine.

Waller Bridge’s skills rest in creating characters who aren’t likable – much less lovable – but still absolutely relatable. The fact that our protagonist is a morally grey figure makes the show stand out because it makes her seem more humane.  The show’s protagonist Fleabag is brought to life by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Phoebe excels in her role and successfully incorporates all the components of wit, anger, and grief.

Sian Clifford, who plays Claire on the show, is another brilliant actor. She completely owns her role and does an incredible job of portraying the perfectionist sister who is equally hurt by her life choices. Fleabag’s godmother and stepmother, Olivia Colman, does great work in her role too. She thrives in her portrayal of the antagonistic stepmother who is chivalrous yet passive-aggressive.

Fleabag is an emotional roller coaster featuring a protagonist that feels so humane that we can’t help but root for her, despite her errors being unredeemable in certain cases. The show is entertaining, touching, sad, and even heartbreaking. Each component flows beautifully, including the plot, witticisms, use of the fourth wall, and the redeemable arcs for many of the characters. This one’s a great watch.

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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