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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

TV Rewind | Fleabag: Phoebe Waller-Bridge knows when to leave a party

With just 12 episodes in its entire run, Fleabag introduced us to the kind of television that we had never seen before. Perhaps, Phoebe Waller-Bridge knew that the best of Fleabag was done as she bid adieu to the series this year.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
December 22, 2019 8:55:54 am
tv rewind fleabag Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag came to an end in 2019.

As 2019 comes to an end, we can’t help but introspect about the content that we have seen on television in the past year. While mammoths like Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory came to an end, giant streaming services entered the content market in a big way. Amid all this hullabaloo, there was Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag that aired its second season this year, and the creator declared that this was the end of the road for Fleabag.

The popular route is to keep going on until the audience is tired of you, but Waller-Bridge took the higher road and bid adieu to a highly successful series that only had 12 episodes.

You have to be living under a rock to be oblivious to the Emmy winning show. But even if you have never seen an episode of this series, here’s what it’s all about.

fleabag phoebe waller bridge You don’t fall in love with her instantly but as she grows on you, there is a sense of empathy that develops.

What is Fleabag all about?

Fleabag opens with a woman who is wandering through life as she experiments with her sex and dating life. We never learn her name but conveniently start calling her Fleabag because that’s what she thinks of herself.

In the first season, we learn about the losses she is trying to manage as the guilt of her best friend’s death overpowers her being. Her self-destructive attitude has her in a rocky place with her sister, but her wicked sense of rumour has the ability to make us laugh in the most awkward moments.

As the second season opens, she declares that this is going to be a love story and so it is. With the ‘hot priest’ challenging her concept of God and faith, she is caught in her most vulnerable space. Her relationship with her sister also strengthens as the two realise, without any exaggerated drama, that sisters stick by each other, no matter what.

What works for Fleabag?

It takes some extra-ordinary writing to turn a show, with less than 6 hours of content, into a phenomenon. Fleabag is dark yet funny, melancholy yet hopeful and through all of this, Phoebe Waller-Bridge makes sure that you stay by her side, understand her self-deprecating nature but also comfort her when she breaks down in that ‘kneel’ sequence.

phoebe waller bridge If one had to pick out one sequence that tears you apart from Fleabag, it would be the ‘Kneel’ sequence.

Her sister Claire is diametrically opposite to what she is, as most sisters are. Their relationship is probably the most consistent thing that exists in her life, and even though they have their share of problems, it’s their relationship that is the centre of the show.

Adding to the delicious writing is the character of Godmother, played by Olivia Colman, who is devious, cunning but somehow, still isn’t evil. Harry, on the other hand, is as human as the next person and it’s rare to see such unabashed crudeness that leaves a feeling of disgust on screen.

But let’s be honest, the biggest gift of Fleabag is Andrew Scott’s Priest (dubbed by the internet as ‘Hot Priest’). While the performer is hitting it out of the park, his strength here is his chemistry with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character. The scene where the two go for a counselling session or the ones where he catches her breaking the fourth wall are done to such perfection that you wonder about the stars that aligned together to make this show a reality.

andrew scott hot priest Andrew Scott’s Priest exposed Fleabag’s insecurities the way she had never experienced.

One of Fleabag’s best qualities is its ability to make us laugh, disarm us and then have us bawling with emotions. This quality sustains through the entire run, and as she bids goodbye, she leaves us feeling melancholic.

What’s next for Fleabag?

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has proudly bid adieu to the series after a wonderful send-off, and it’s great that she has done so. Waller-Bridge did say that she might revisit the character when she’s 50. Until then, it’s kind of nice that Fleabag has had a perfect run without any bad seasons to spoil the fun.

fleabag finale It was a rare perfect run for Fleabag.

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Fleabag is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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