If you pay any attention to TV and culture on the internet, you’ll likely have heard people raving about Fleabag. I’m sorry to say that I’m just going to add to the adoration here, because it really was that good. I have to admit, though, that I only caught on to the Fleabag bug recently, and revelled in the joy of binge-watching it.
I actually have to go one step further and admit that I probably wouldn’t have watched it at all if it wasn’t for Andrew Scott being in the second series. Thank goodness I did.
I can’t add much to the variety of reviews that have been out there, but I do want to point out five things that I really loved about both series. Supposedly there will be no more, and I think it was a satisfying end all round.
- All the characters are quirky. It’s not like Fleabag was the sensible one and everyone was crazy, or that she was being weird in a grown up world. Everyone was a bit weird. The sister, the friend with the guinea pig, the dad, the boyfriend(s), and the priest with his irrational fear of foxes! Everyone added to the rich tapestry of this mad, mad world.
- The fourth wall. One of my favourite things was how integrated breaking the fourth wall was. It wasn’t just the odd wink here and smirk there, although they were abundant. I like that we got side comments and raised eyebrows even in the middle of conversations, just before, after and maybe even during someone else’s speech. Interaction with the fourth wall isn’t new, but it felt fresh and inventive here.
- The tone. It’s almost impossible to describe it. Some of the topics and themes are very heavy, dark in places, but there’s enough comedy to balance it out. I’ve seen it described as a comic tragedy but I don’t feel like that’s quite the right term either. It’s a wonderful, disturbing, moving, hilarious, shocking and downright sad portrait of a family and the balance of light and dark is amazing.
- Those quotes. You’ve seen them. The dad talking about feeling the pain of love. The priest talking something of the same. Kristen Scott Thomas’s insightful rant about the pain women carry with them as a birthright. There’s some fantastic writing here. All hail Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
- Great editing. The cuts, the angles, the music, it all fits together so well to make a seamless piece of work. More noticeable in the first series I think, but the flashbacks were great – well timed and just enough to add context but not so long you forget the present.
We don’t get shows like this very often, so I’m glad this one is getting the praise it deserves.