Why we should cherish Fleabag

Fleabag promotional poster
Image source: Rotten Tomatoes


Fleabag is a British comedy-drama TV show created and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. It ran for two seasons spanning twelve episodes from 2016 to 2019. It is based off Waller-Bridge’s one-woman stand up show, and she stars as the title character. Fleabag has been regarded as one of the greatest comedy shows of all time. However, I think it’s much more than that. 


The show features a small cast which includes Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford who plays Fleabag’s sister Claire, Andrew Scott who joins in season two as the priest and Olivia Coleman who plays Fleabag and Claire’s godmother. The show is completely unique in its style and substance. The viewer is welcomed into the events of Fleabag’s life through the use of fourth wall breaks. This creates intimate moments in the story and is made all the more impactful by other characters not noticing them. 

What makes it so funny

Of course, Fleabag is tremendously funny. The cast of characters have so much chemistry that even the smallest moments can produce laugh out loud moments. The witty dialogue, much of it focused on crude arguments about sex and life itself creates a one-of-a-kind look into the world we inhabit. Claire is a particularly strong source of laughs with Clifford never missing a beat in her performance. Her uptight nature mixed with Fleabag’s apparent lack of consideration for her life is a treat for viewers. The acute balance of cringe and comedy is brilliant. 

The emotional impact

This show, however, is so much more than just a funny show about sex. It manages to reach emotional points which the majority of TV shows can only dream of. In the first season we are given frequent flashbacks to Fleabag and her friend Boo. As the season goes on, the flashbacks become more alarming until we learn Boo’s ultimate fate. Boo died before the show takes place whilst trying to injure herself to get back at her unfaithful boyfriend.

The viewer is allowed to take in the feelings which Fleabag is dealing with, and we feel sympathetic towards her. That is until we learn the whole truth. After Fleabag is accused of kissing Martin, Claire’s wife, when it was Martin that kissed her, Fleabag tries to defend herself. Claire then states she can’t trust Fleabag because of what she did to Boo. We discover that it was Fleabag that Boo’s boyfriend cheated with, and she ultimately caused her best friend’s death. 

Fleabag considers suicide but is saved by Hugh Dennis’ bank manager who decides to give her a loan to support her café after hearing her confession. Her redemption carries on into the second season when she meets the priest who she immediately falls for. They spend the whole season growing closer before finally hooking up. They admit their love, but the priest decides that god is still where his heart lies, and he walks out of shot. It is such a warm and heart breaking episode. 

One of a kind

Ultimately, no show can seem to match Fleabag with its comedic charm and truly impactful moments. Waller-Bridge should be hailed as one of the greats in comedy writing. There is no show that impacts how you feel like Fleabag. It is truly one of the great achievements in television. To tell such a dense and deep story which makes the viewer howl with laughter at points and question their life and their role in the world at others, all in the space of twelve thirty-minute episodes, is something which deserves more praise than I can put into words. The fact this show exists is something us fans of TV should cherish dearly.