Authored By: Aneka Khanna
Edited By: Shreya Gupta
DARK… CLEVER… SCATHINGLY FUNNY…
The show will ruin you, but in the best way possible. Fleabag is a 2016 BBC and Amazon Studios production starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge who was also the writer and co-producer of the show. The direction of the show is exceedingly clever and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
(Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag)
The show follows along the journey of an extremely clever and outspoken young woman navigating through adult life; while handling her failing business, her love life and a dysfunctional family, which is what makes it more relatable, since it does not glorify adulthood; but present the flip side that’s a reality for many. She also seems to be undergoing a tragedy that seems to maneuver the show and leaves us guessing what it is until the season finale where it is finally revealed, and the plot twist will definitely leave you dumbfounded.
The show breaks the fourth wall so seamlessly. Since the protagonist turns to talk to the audience, it gives an inside look into her thoughts and also makes the audience feel as if they’re really there; present in that scene with her. Perhaps this is what makes the show feel even more special.
(Fleabag breaking the fourth wall with Andrew Scott as 'The Priest' in Season 2)
Another example of excellent direction is the use of music. The music used in various scenes connects the audience with the mindset of the protagonist. While she may be showing her unapologetic self, the music portrayed her muddled thoughts during the scene. Also scenes where the protagonist is calm while the rest of the world is in chaos, seem to portray the conflict she feels between her uncaring persona and her messy feelings.
Just when I thought the show couldn’t get any better, it did. Season 2 (2019) somehow manages to surpass Season 1. While Season 1 focuses more on dealing with guilt, loneliness, and self-hatred; Season 2 focuses on love and self-acceptance, while also dealing with the negative emotions.
(Return of Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Amazon Studios' Fleabag Season 2.)
New characters, (like 'The Priest'), are introduced which add more aspects and also help reflect on topics that weren’t paid enough attention to earlier like faith and religion, which are among the few. Nothing in the show seems forced; each character is incredibly complex and multi-faceted which makes them seem even more real. In my opinion, watching the show is like peeling back an onion revealing a new aspect as the layers peel away.