Witty, wry, even sad, Fleabag is a sensation
The show is like watching your best friend’s home movies while she whispers the real, raunchier story in your ear.
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THE SHOW: Fleabag, Season 1, Episode 1 (Amazon Prime)
THE MOMENT: Dissing the ex
Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who created and writes the show) has just met a buck-toothed man on a bus (Jamie Demetriou). He asks how her ex was fool enough to let her go.
“He was just really kind and supportive,” she says. “He’d cook all the time, run baths. Laugh at my jokes. He was great with my family. Plus he was really f—ing affectionate.”
She’s serious, but Bus Rodent doesn’t get it. “Yeah, he sounds like a dickhead,” he says.
She gives him her number. “I’ll be sure to treat you like a nasty little bitch,” he says. She grins into the camera at us.
“Um, that was a joke,” he says.
“Oh, I know,” she trills. But to us, she frowns.
In this six-part series, Waller-Bridge’s sharp-tongued, but secretly self-loathing, Londoner (we never learn her real name) frequently breaks the fourth wall, talking directly to the viewer in the middle of a scene. It’s like watching your best friend’s home movies while she whispers the real, raunchier story in your ear.
She obsesses about sex, “the performance of it. The awkwardness.” She kills time in the failing café she opened with her best pal Boo (Jenny Rainsford). She laments to her uptight sister Claire (Sian Clifford) that her farts now sound like their mum’s.
You can see why the show is a sensation. Waller-Bridge is witty and wry and then suddenly sad. Though by the end you may feel that a piece of her soul is still missing, you’d happily come back for more.
In Focus: Richard Crouse