This 2019 BBC hit, Fleabag, was written by the amazingly talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also starred in the show. Like many British TV shows, this series didn’t have the longest life span. The show wasn’t cancelled, Waller-Bridge managed to wrap up the series nicely in just twelve episodes.
The relatable main character
The series centres on a charismatic young woman in London. A free-spirited, witty character who tries her best to navigate through the trials of adult life in her early thirties. Sadly, she also finds herself struggling with a failing business and a needy on and off relationship. On top of it all, she is also dealing with a recent tragedy that she is doing her best to keep repressed and forgotten. This plot point hangs over each episode sort of like the pink elephant in the room. But we don’t get to see what it is until the incredibly well done and emotional season finale.
Breaking the fourth wall
From the get-go, the show establishes its unconventional direction in storytelling by having the main character instantly break the fourth wall to let the audience know what’s up. She takes us through her anxious thought process just before jumping into a one-night stand. She comedically provides the commentary from when they get down to it to the morning after. This is the show’s main unique trait. You play as much of a role in the story as the rest of the characters. Her constant nods, glances and comments made to the camera make you as if you were there, experiencing the same events with her. Even in her most intimate moments. Off the bat, the show is presenting itself as a super-focused character study and not your average one either. Unlike other shows or movies that often fall in the trap of using the fourth wall technique as a crutch, often relying on it for lazy exposition or as an awkward attempt at self-awareness; here it is a necessary ingredient to storytelling and character development.
The relatable story of adulthood
As for the story itself the best way I can describe it is I guess a coming of age story but for adults. A coming of thirty-story let’s just roll with that. Look, let’s be real, a lot of us adults are just overgrown kids trying to masquerade as grownups. What Fleabag does fantastically well is portraying these inner struggles that most people in their mid to late 20s and early 30s experience as they go about modern adult life. It isn’t so much all sunshine rainbows, financial freedom and fulfilled dreams, as much as it is feeling lost drowning in debt and occasionally feeling deeply lonely. And this is exactly what the show takes you through in our lead character’s journey and the hopeful relatable way she goes about dealing with it.