I remember how I found out about "Fleabag." David Tennant, Emilia Clarke, Gloria Estefan and Pheobe Waller-Bridge were on The Graham Norton show. I thought I would be mesmorized by the doctor or the Mother of Dragons, but instead, Pheobe was clearly the most interesting person on the show.
And then they mentioned some wank scene involving Obama. Of course I had to watch the show. And it was clearly the best television I have seen all year. Or maybe in two years. Inside No. 9 suddenly doesn't seem all that geneous any more. I searched over Douban to see reviews, but everyone thinks this is comedy.
If by comedy you mean the most honest description of a woman's inner life during a postmodern, almost distopia era, which breathes depression and desperation at every second, then yeah.
It's not even about the nicely set up storytelling, the moment when the the zipper openning flashback happens the second time, and you suddenly realize why Fleabag was sad for the whole season. Yes she lost her best friend, but it might be the only person around whom she can be sane. The only person who can assure her she is sane.
Now she has nowhere to go except for her dysfunctional family. The typical demasculinized father who has been controlled by the evil step mother who mentally tortures Fleabag for pleasure. The seemingly put-together married sister who has everything except a proper sex life. Ironically, the only hope after six episodes of depressing sadness, is the misogynistic bank clerk that once denied her business loans. Not so surprisingly, the truth telling moment, the only peak we have into Pheobe's own motive behind creating this show, gets revealed at the last scene when she confides in him.
You know, everyone feels like this a little bit,
and they're just not talking about it,
or I'm completely fucking alone...
..which isn't fucking funny.
The cost of not faking happiness is to feel completely alone. Her dad isn't really happy, he confesses he thinks about Fleabag's mother all the time, yet he pretends to be happy as long as a pretencious loud new wife stops him from thinking too much. Her sister isn't happy, yet she threw away the only opportunity to escape, by turning down the promotion and staying away from her dream, by subscribing further to the marital lie she lives by, so that she can continues to fake happiness.
But this is at Fleabag's cost. She is the only person who struggles to feel happiness instead of faking it, yet she gets the worst punishment because her honesty is tearing down their lies. Her punishment is to watch her loved ones sink deeper into indifference, and she is completely alone.