Why watching the second series of Fleabag should be compulsory
- Credit: BBC/Two Brothers/Luke Varley
Fleabag is back and she's just as dysfunctional as ever. Just in case you need 10 reasons to watch this fantastic show, we have them. CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Fleabag – created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge – returns to the small screen this week.
It is not a show about fleas in a bag but rather a show about Fleabag – an angry, sharp-witted, promiscuous young woman doing her utmost to cope with life in London while also getting to grips with a recent, terrible tragedy.
Waller-Bridge first devised the character when challenged by a friend to create a sketch for a 10-minute section of a stand-up storytelling night.
That led her to put on a one-woman play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe...which would bring about a Fringe First Award.
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Said one-woman play would eventually morph into a TV adaptation airing on BBC Three that would lead Waller-Bridge to BAFTA success.
All of this, obviously, whet the appetite for a second series which is now arriving around about three years after Fleabag first made its TV bow back in 2016.
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So, ahead of this second series, why should you be joining the Fleabag party?
10 reasons why it's time to join the Fleabag party
1) It stars an Academy Award winner
Olivia Colman – or, should that be Norfolk's own Oscar-winning Olivia Colman? – starred as Fleabag's gloriously passively-aggressive godmother-turned-stepmum who put on a 'sexhibition' of artwork.
That 'sexhibition' featured exactly the sort of pieces that have probably just popped into your head.
As for Colman, she was predictably tremendous and is set to return for the second series.
2) It pulls off breaking the fourth wall
One of the trickiest things to pull off in TV and film is the idea of breaking the fourth wall and having a character address the audience directly.
Yet Fleabag routinely breaks the fourth wall to fantastic, often hilarious, effect, drawing us into her world and ensuring we know exactly what she's thinking about a particular situation or person.
3) It's funny
Well, duh. You would kind of hope a show listed as a 'comedy-drama' would be reasonably good at the comedic elements but if there were any lingering doubts then rest assured: Fleabag is really funny. Whether it's the sharp, witty one-liners or some weird – sometimes, very weird – situational comedy in play, it will make you laugh.Sometimes, a lot.
4) If you liked Killing Eve, you may well be a fan of this
One of the best dramas to grace the small screen in 2018, Killing Eve pitted a desk-bound MI5 officer (Eve) against a talented psychopathic assassin (Villanelle) with the pair steadily becoming increasingly obsessed with one another.
It was, in short, terrific. Killing Eve was full of sharp, funny, often outrageous writing and was captivating viewing from start to finish.
The series was adapted from Luke Jennings' Codename Villanelle novellas by, you guessed it, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
5) It has a link to a galaxy far, far away
The ridiculously talented Waller-Bridge also popped up in Solo: A Star Wars Story in which she played L3-37, droid of Lando Calrissian, his navigator, his companion and a staunch advocate of droid rights.
6) It is genuinely heartfelt
While also funny, Fleabag is a 'comedy-drama' and fully embraces the latter to sometimes devastating effect.
The tragedy that Fleabag is trying to overcome is (SPOILER ALERT!) the death of her friend in a tragic accident. Her café – which she owned with her late friend – is on the rocks. Her grief is obvious. Her methods of coping? While they do offer up plenty of the comedy, they are at best ill-advised from questionable hook-ups – sometimes very questionable – through to rubbing her stepmum up the wrong way.
The quieter moments in which Fleabag shrugs off the humour and struggles with what's eating away at her can crush you. Testament to both Waller-Bridge's performance and writing.
7) The authenticity of the whole thing
While some of the situations in Fleabag come across as ever-so-slightly surreal at times, her relationship with her best friend Boo along with her family life, both feel very real. She has her inside jokes with Boo and clearly the pair get one another completely.
Then, on the other side, there is this awful relatable awkwardness that is brought into her focus in her family life. Whether it's between her and her sister – where the latter isn't all that endeared by the former's humour – or her dad's discomfort at trying to hold a conversation with her.
The more real these elements feel, the more effective everything else proves to be.
8) Andrew Scott is going to be in series two
Andrew Scott of Sherlock (Moriarty, in case you were unaware) is one of the main additions to the cast in series two. He has won a BAFTA himself for best supporting actor for his role in Sherlock, upping the awards count among the cast that little bit more.
As for his role in Fleabag, Scott is to play a swearing, subversive, seductive Catholic priest set to marry Fleabag's dad and godmother-turned-stepmum according to the worldwide web. If that's not enough to get you on board…
9) Kristin Scott Thomas and Fiona Shaw are also starring in series two
In the BBC press office release announcing these two cast additions, Scott Thomas described Waller-Bridge as someone who 'manages to hit core issues with sledgehammer brutality as she trips along with a spring in her step.'
That, in itself, is a glowing endorsement of why Fleabag is worth a watch – as is the addition of Scott Thomas to the cast. Again, the awards rise yet again with her BAFTA for best supporting actress in Four Weddings And A Funeral while she also has an Olivier Award for Best Actress to her name.
Fiona Shaw is someone you may otherwise know as Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter series. She also has two Olivier Awards and recently linked up with Waller-Bridge in Killing Eve as Head of the Russian Service at MI6.
10) Fleabag is, simply, a fantastic character
Not only is this a female-led series of which there are still too few, but this is a female-led series with a lead character that has next to no filter, is incredibly uninhibited, often morally questionable and pretty emotionally ruined.
In other words, she's flawed. Flawed characters routinely make for the best watch. Fleabag will exhaust you, endear you, exasperate you, amuse you and keep getting you back for more.
Fleabag launches on Monday March 4 at 10.35pm on BBC1, subsequent episodes will air on following Mondays.
However, the first episode will be available even earlier online: viewers will be able to watch on BBC iPlayer and BBC3 from 10am on March 4.