Fleabag: sex sells... but is it funny?

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Fleabag: sex sells... but is it funny?

July 24, 2016 - 09:20
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4 reader reviews
Average: 4.3 (9 votes)
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Gloriously rude, unflinching, funny and touching at the the same time.


By Nige Smith

Gloriously rude, unflinching, funny and touching at the the same time.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the writer of BBC 3 comedy Fleabag. It is adapted from her 2013 monologues, and also her real life nickname.

You may also remember Waller Bridge from C4''s wonderful anarchic riot Crashing.

The tone is set from the very first scene in which she is awaiting a random bloke at two in the morning. Standing waiting by the door in anticipation of this first date pretending to be casual yet nervous, Fleabag immediately goes in for the kill. What follows in that opening scene is quite an eye opener, as we go into the taboo parts of sex. It is brilliantly done as Fleabag gives monologue updates to the camera as to what's going on.

Fleabag bares her soul to the camera and to you the viewer. Self confessional, and self obsessed with her body, the middle class girl takes you through her dysfunctional life in a most unflinching display of honesty.

I do not want to give too much away, as you have to watch it. But some of the tasty scenes involve some comedy acting giants.

An encounter with a stranger on a bus, a neurotic uptight horrid sister. Hugh Dennis as Fleabags bank manager and a bra flashing scene.

Bill Patterson plays her father and Olivia Coleman plays her vile Step Mother, say no more as you know that is going to be good.

There is a brilliant scene, where a customer enters Fleabags cafe. Instead of ordering anything from her, he promptly sits down, takes out all his gadgets, plugs them all in to charge them and continues to use them, still without ordering anything. For me it was a bit of comedy genius.

Fleabag began life as a fringe play at Edinburgh.

Waller Bridge wrote and starred in the excellent Crashing, this time she may have raised her game even more. It is not easy narrating and acting, she pulls it off.

If I said that if you put Bridget Jones, Crashing, Catastrophe, Sex and the City, Inbetweeners, and Him and Her into a large comedy pot, you would get Fleabag.

Watch it, it is well worth it, but be prepared to be shocked.


There are 4 Comments

Bobalice24's picture

I was fully prepared to love this. An anarchic feisty unapologeticly sexual female lead. What's not to love ?
In reality it left me cold. I didn't even smile let alone laugh. Just writing scenes about shagging and masturbation and using the c word is not comedy gold if the script can't back it up.
The fantastic and under rated 'Pulling' by Sharon Horgan is a perfect example of how this genre of comedy works so well. Fleabag felt over written and under funny

Nige Smith's picture

Fair play to that review, I fully understand if people would not like it. I think this is a marmite sort of show. I did like Crashing though and the critics thought that was hit and miss.

Is it up there with Catastrophe, no, its not, that show is simply sublime and has two excellent lead characters. Now Pulling, I am with Bobalice24, that was very underrated, Sharon Horgan is incredible in it.

Just wait for my Orange is the New Black review.

Llwynog45's picture

I quite enjoyed it, but to be honest only in a very voyeuristic way.

Emin's picture

I'm female, straight, ordinary, 46 - I lived in London for far too long and I would never have paid £12 or even £20 for a sandwich, but I loved every episode of this. I watched it back to back from 1 through to 6. Having, like most of us out there, struggled with grief, life, the universe and everything (and an appalling godmother actually) - this just really touched me, made me laugh, smile, slightly shocked me, but mostly I just felt tremendous empathy with the character. Personally, I thought this was brilliant, honest and courageous writing and I genuinely thank you Ms Waller-Bridge for putting pen to paper and painting some very human characters.