Why You Need to Have Seen Fleabag

“I have a horrible feeling that I’m a greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally bankrupt woman, who can’t even call herself a feminist.” 

This almost-excessively adjective stuffed quote comes near the end of episode 1 season 1 of Fleabag, and it is quite possibly the only way I can make you understand the unabashed truthfulness of the series. 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator and star of the six-time Emmy-winning show Fleabag, holds back nothing in depicting the truth of being a woman in the modern era. She captures the humor, loneliness, happiness, pain, and awkwardness that's all wrapped up under the curtain of an inherent need to inject sarcasm into every situation. 

In sitting down to write this, I grappled with how to communicate why I needed to talk about a show whose final season came out almost two years ago. After thinking it through (and one too many times of friends telling me they had no idea what show I was talking about), I understood why. It was because I felt not enough people my age were talking about this stunning whirlwind experience of a TV show. Even now, having rewatched the show three times, I struggle to find the right words to truly capture the essence of what makes this show so phenomenal, or in all honesty to explain what type of show it is.

It felt too cynical, heavy, and funny to fall under the umbrella of any one genre, so I have settled that the only way to explain it is that it is simply honest, in a way that no other show is. 

The entire series centers around the life of "Fleabag," a woman who remains unnamed throughout both of the two seasons, and her dealing with anything from disastrous haircuts, the pain and loneliness of loss, running a guinea pig café, evil stepmothers, finding love in all the wrong places (and people), coming to terms with your mistakes, and the reality of siblings.

Yet, I cannot explain Fleabag without first introducing you to one of the most unique parts of the show. "Fleabag" creates her relationship with us, the viewer, by breaking the fourth wall to communicate her inner dialogue. This fascinating way in which the show opens a window into the main character's head for the audience is a privilege usually reserved for books, where delving into the thoughts of a character is significantly less clumsy and odd than simply stating them out loud in film. 

However, in Fleabag, there is nothing that makes these breaks to the camera seem out of place. The dialogue and quick looks to the camera capture an intimacy that replicates something only seen in a glance or a conversation shared with a friend. Breaking the fourth wall plays into the fact that a thousand words can be boiled down to an eyebrow raise or a sarcastically repeated phrase, and uses such to create an active audience that feels as if they are part of the conversation and secrets, no longer a passive observer. This remarkable friendship that is created between the leading character and viewer is one of the most fascinating and great aspects that sets this show apart from others.  

(I mean seriously, what other show can you say that YOU as the audience member are one of the most important characters? I rest my case.)

Anyways, the brazen and sometimes crude realness of the series shines through each episode in its faithful depictions of the complexity of life. It understands that family is not perfect, people aren't everything you want them to be, love is just as devastating as it is wonderful, life is monotonous while at the same time thrilling, and (most importantly) you can’t choose the cards you get dealt—you just play the game.

It is a show that I would recommend to every modern young woman because it does not sugarcoat reality the way female-led shows often fall into the trap of doing. Fleabag understands that situations are awkward, life doesn't happen the picture-perfect way you planned it in your sparkly pink diary at age six, and that it is and will be okay

So if you have yet to watch Fleabag, I highly suggest a blanket, popcorn, and binging the whole thing as soon as possible (and I also recommend grabbing some tissues because you'll cry, laugh......and probably laugh-cry).

However, remember as you watch, you don’t have to relate to all of it or even any of it, but soak it in for what it is, a lesson on dealing, and what happens when you don’t deal, with the curve balls life throws at you.