For some unknown reason, I am always skeptical of BBC Three programming. I think to myself, “This is the teen's channel. The programs have no substance.” And every time I stand corrected. BBC Three’s programs are just as captivating and daring as, if not more than, BBC One. Fleabag is no exception. At first glance, Fleabag is as its name suggests: a show about a fleabag, raunchy Londoner. But, by the end of the first episode, it is clear that the show has more heart than initially present.
The style of the comedy is interesting enough; it’s a mix of The Office meets Orange Is the New Black meets Shakespeare. The main character, aptly named only to the audience as Fleabag, narrates the trials and tribulations of her tragic life, recounting for us her failing cafe, her strained relationship with her family, and the past she's desperate to escape. Although not a particular laugh-out-loud comedy, Fleabag comes into its own with its sentimental and provoking core.
The driving force behind Fleabag is its writer and star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Her seething rude, devastating, humorous, and heartfelt story is what makes Fleabag one of the best shows to be produced by BBC Three. She creates a character that has an abundance of shades, tones, and angles-- defying the stereotypical female lead and embodying the modern woman television, film, and Hollywood has been lacking. Fleabag is so raw and real, you can physically feel her pain. This show sets the standards for the strong female leads desperately needed and wanted by today's audience.
The rest of Waller-Bridge’s characters are all so horrifically vile, it’s hard to like any of them. But that is what makes Fleabag so brilliant. Although you hate these character, you can’t help to feel empathy for them because you know that they are all living the same painful existence. It’s truly a feat of glorious storytelling when every character feels just as real as the humans one interacts with every day.
Fleabag is a program with a real beating heart. It’s a program that bleeds the truth of humanity, down to every last laugh, heartache, and pang of sadness. Fleabag brings life back to BBC Three— the exact program the channel has been waiting for.