Fleabag (Spoiler-Free Review)

Where do I even begin?

As the official Fleabag Season 1, Episode 1 synopsis reads, the show starts “with a bang” (heh!) and we get to know way too much information about… well, that’s the thing, we don’t exactly learn her name… ever. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s magnificent character is called Fleabag on IMDB.

The thing with Fleabag (the show) is that it dives headfirst into every uncomfortable situation a woman might ever be in: applying and interviewing for a loan from a male-dominated company, trying to maintain a normal relationship with a sibling and a parent, facing a disgusting brother-in-law, dealing with creepy step-nephews, grieving the loss of a friend and of family, navigating sexuality amidst the grief, and living with loneliness, all while maintaining a semblance of sanity (or not). And it is hilarious. Despite the discomfort. BECAUSE of the discomfort. Fleabag is a remarkably feminist story, despite being remarkably… normal; that is, one every woman can relate to in some way. It’s a close examination of insecurity, anxiety, fear, pain… and also, a prism through which we can understand love.

When I say “understand love” – let’s be abundantly clear: Fleabag isn’t a romance series. Yes, there are romantic interests and sexual desires, but that is not the only lens through which love is examined. This is a show exploring the struggles of all kinds of love: love you have now, love you had before, love you long for, love you never anticipated having, love for your parents (living or dead), love for your siblings, love for your friends, even love for people you despise. Lastly, it’s a show about love for yourself, and finding a way to forgive yourself, to carry on, and take all who have gone before us to “point that love” somewhere anew.

A *certain character* has this incredible speech at the end of the series finale which just rips out your heart, and it begins with the sentence, “Love is awful.” If that isn’t a single culminating phrase for this entire series, I don’t know what is. This examination on love, life, and stumbling through it all as gracefully (or not) as possible is one I will never, ever forget. It will leave you laughing, crying, reeling, and hugging those you care about just a little tighter. It will also leave you feeling more than you’ve ever felt for someone you’ve never been formally introduced to. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, you’ve created a masterpiece, and I cannot fathom a better way to share that sliver of life with the world.

My Score: A+ (dare I say… A++ It could not be more perfect)

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