Ever wish you could just be totally reckless? What if you just said whatever you wanted? Fucked whoever you felt like? Consequences be damned. Sure, it’d be a shitty way to live, in that it’d make you a shitty person. But you can enjoy the high of such a Devil-may-care existence through the no-fucks-to-give anti-heroine of Fleabag.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge adapted the British comedy series from her one-woman show, and stars as a young woman dealing with flawed romances, a fucked-up family, a fierce libido, and a failing cafe in contemporary London. The series follows its snarky protagonist through anal-sex-centric one-night-stands, tense quality time with her high-strung sister (Sian Clifford), and an interview with a loan officer that ends abruptly when she accidentally flashes her bra at him. I mean, who among us hasn’t been there? Okay, maybe Fleabag isn’t exactly relatable. But it’s a joy to watch Waller-Bridge fling herself into ludicrous situations, behave with bold rudeness, then look right at the camera to smirk at her audience. It’s basically You’re The Worst meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
In direct address and eye-rolled asides, Waller-Bridge openly mocks the various indignities and absurdities of life and love, like how she’d sometimes break up with her on-again-off again boyfriend when her flat could use a going-over, because part of his departure process involved scrubbing the whole place down “like a crime scene.” Her callousness is effervescent and refreshing, in part because of Waller-Bridge’s sparkling wit and playful mugging, and in part because actresses so rarely get to explore roles this brazenly cynical. The show feels inherently taboo. Yet there’s more to Fleabag than its reveling in recklessness. Under its sarcastic surface, beats a bumbling heart. And while the former might draw you in, the latter will keep you hooked.
The story centers on this Londoner’s attempt to save her Cafe, which she started with her friend Boo (Jenny Rainsford), that is before her heartbroken bestie made a dramatic mistake that accidentally ended her life. Their friendship is revealed through tender and silly flashbacks of shopping excursions, flirtations with a beautiful bi-racial beau, and the rearing of an escape artist guinea pig. As the six-episode arc draws to a close, we begin to see that our anti-heroine’s fearless front is a crumbling facade built to keep the grief over Boo’s demise at bay. This leads to a finale that is fraught and fun. Finally, the series that begins with a prolonged and hilarious asshole joke, ends with a climax that is heart-wrenching, then hopeful.
Plus Olivia Colman is in it as a sex-obsessed stepmom who plaster casts dad dick. What more could you want for a one-day binge session?
Fleabag is on Amazon Prime.