From the creator of Killing Eve, comes the strong female-led comedy we've all needed.
2019 was Phoebe Waller-Bridge's year.
After making a name for herself by successfully gripping the nation with the sensational Killing Eve, the 33-year-old is broaching female-led stories in an entirely different way – and has captivated audiences by doing it.
Her dry-witted dramedy Fleabag – now in its second season – follows the unfortunate story of a café-owning woman who attempts to navigate modern life while simultaneously attempting to overcome tragedy.
Main characters include Waller-Bridge herself as well as the protagonist, Sian Clifford as stuffy and successful sister Claire, Jenny Rainsford as mentally-ill best friend Boo and recent Oscar-winning actress Olivia Coleman as the condescending godmother.
Peppered throughout scenes are the men who frame these women's lives, but the guts of the show are almost entirely female.
This historically, in itself, brings problems.
Not since the dawning of Lena Dunham's Girls have the intricacies of female relationships been played out so realistically. What Dunham failed at, however, were the burning daily rituals women of a certain age deal with, albeit obliviously.
The indignation from a freshly-rejected man followed by vulnerability and fear, the questioning of menstrual blood when trying to conceive to save a failed relationship and the issues of recurrent grief are just ones of few hard-hitting realities Waller-Bridge broaches through the eyes of a sort-of young woman.
Terrible men, worse women and sexual ambiguity – Fleabag is the millennial's Sex & The City, resplendent with a fresh religious perspective and mental health issue-based heartbreak.
In attempts to portray the average-yet-likeable woman, something quite revered in television land, Waller-Bridge puts her own world under the microscope as she reflects the lives of broken people leading terrible lives.
Her own character, albeit mimicking the politically activated 30-year-old du jour masturbates to speeches of Barack Obama while compulsively breaking the fourth wall to cover her deep-rooted heartache with snark.
Being dumped, being broke and being charged obscene fees for a sandwich ("London", each character wistfully exclaims upon paying £8.50 for a sausage roll) all feature, as does the relatable self-loathing all those slightly too old to be Generation Z can feel on their measured approach into adulthood.
Each character has an unexplored depth that leaves the viewer wanting more from hasty 30-minute episodes. And although painful realities and unspeakable trauma frame the story – I could watch the hilarious misery that Waller-Bridge brings to day-to-day life forever.
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