Polter-Cow (spectralbovine) wrote,

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Fleabag? More Like T-Bag!

Fleabag begins with arsefucking, but don't let that put you off! It's not like it begins with pigfucking. Don't look at me like that.

Instead, look at Fleabag, who is looking at you. Fleabag—who is never referred to by name, which is true of many characters like "Arsehole Guy" and "Bus Rodent"—invites you into her story, constantly addressing the viewer, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge is so incredibly deft at what should be a gimmick that she breathes new life into the whole idea of breaking the fourth wall. She will make comments to you in the middle of a conversation, switching back and forth—it's a testament to the rest of the cast that they never react to it—as if you're best mates. Oddly enough, I was actually glad I watched this show on my phone because it made that connection even more intimate. Fleabag needs someone to talk to, she needs someone to say things to that she won't say out loud, she needs to not feel so alone.

And the way she tends to not feel so alone is sex, as the beginning of the series makes clear. Pretty much every episode features one or two sex scenes (without nudity), which is why I watched this show in the privacy of own phone. But the sex scenes are never sexy; they are awkward and funny, especially since, of course, she cracks jokes to you during them. But this isn't simply some show about a woman sleeping with a bunch of men. The relationships that truly matter here are those with her sister, Claire, and her best friend/business partner, Boo (and to a lesser extent, her godmother-turned-stepmother and her father). She isn't the best sister (or the best friend, for that matter), but you can tell she loves them both so much, even if she doesn't show it or say it. Also, however, this show is about sex, and female sexuality in particular, explored in a uniquely honest fashion not often portrayed onscreen.

Fleabag is a hard show to describe, as it initially appears to be a comedy with the requisite tinge of angst and sadness but then proves itself to be far more emotionally rich than that, as the second half begins to pay off elements in the first half in unexpected ways, leading to the finale that stabbed me in the gut. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is compelling every second she is onscreen, and her performance in the finale, just, goddamn. But the show is also laugh-out-loud funny, with an offbeat sense of humor, especially with how it delivers its title card and end credits. If you have Amazon Prime and the time to watch six <30-minute episodes, it's absolutely worth your time.
Tags: fleabag, new show squee, tv

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