Binge Break: Fleabag deserves all of the top TV awards

While Veep is the sure frontrunner at this year’s Emmy Awards, Fleabag deserves all of the love.

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Binge Break: Fleabag deserves all of the top TV awards

Kayli Reese, Managing News Editor

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Everyone on the Internet has been collectively freaking out over and praising everything with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s name on it, and for good reason. No one else could start a new season of a show with a 25-minute family dinner filled with all of the high tension and humor of a Shakespearian play.

While it’s not favored to win any of the big Emmy awards on Sept. 22 (the top prizes are almost guaranteed to go towards the final season of Veep), Fleabag is a special gem of a show that only comes around once every several years and deserves everything it likely won’t receive.

As most comedies do nowadays, Fleabag toes the line between comedy and drama. However, scenes flip so fast from laughing-so-hard-you’re-crying to heartbreaking that it takes your breath away.

Waller-Bridge’s character breaks the fourth wall constantly throughout the series, transforming the audience into a character she considers a friend. But it’s these moments of fourth wall-breaking, moments where she can only say what she’s thinking to an invisible member of her life, that are both hilarious and poignant.

The first season, which was released three years ago, follows Fleabag as she makes mistake after mistake in her life, centered around how closed off she became after her friend’s sudden death. She’s struggling financially, she keeps going back and forth from her familiar boyfriend, and she doesn’t know how to connect with her wonderfully dysfunctional family, all of which ends in a brilliant breakdown in the middle of the guinea-pig themed cafe.

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Season two, which is up for multiple Emmy awards this year, kicks off by seeing how Fleabag has worked on improving aspects of her life, though her utter loneliness still is at the heart of everything she does. The world’s worst family dinner introduces Andrew Scott’s Hot Priest character that Fleabag tries and fails not to fall for and ends in a miscarriage and several bloody noses.

Season two also gives multiple monologues that utterly knock you over in their honesty:

  • While beginning a speech at a wedding, the Hot Priest goes off on an unplanned rant about how love is awful and painful (as a priest, he wasn’t supposed to fall in love with Waller-Bridge’s character, but literally who could help themselves). Love makes you absolutely crazy, he said, but ultimately the feeling people are chasing isn’t love. It’s hope.
  • In a confession booth, Waller-Bridge begins to break down, saying how all she wants is someone to tell her what to do and how to live, because she’s terrified she’s been doing everything wrong (a thought that has likely crossed the mind of any young adult).
  • While funny at face value, Waller-Bridge’s rant to a hairdresser who tells her “Hair isn’t everything” speaks so much to how women are forced to think, even though they wish otherwise: “Hair is everything. We wish it wasn’t so we could actually think about something else occasionally. But it is. It’s the difference between a good day and a bad day. We’re meant to think that it’s a symbol of power, that it’s a symbol of fertility. Some people are exploited for it, and it pays your [expletive] bills. Hair is everything.”
  • Kristin Scott Thomas plays a guest role in one of the episodes and goes to the bar with Fleabag and tells her about how menopause, of all things, is the most wonderful thing that can happen to a woman. Women are born with pain built into their systems, she said, while men have to seek out pain. But right when women are used to the pain, menopause hits, and she says it’s the most wonderful thing in the world: “Then you’re free, no longer a slave, no longer a machine with parts, you’re just a person.”

Season two also has other supporting roles that shone even more than they did in the show’s beginning. Olivia Coleman, fresh off an Oscar win, has too much fun playing the evil godmother-turned-stepmother. While she definitely is there to play up the humor, the looks Coleman gives when she’s angered send chills down the spine.

Sian Clifford also plays Fleabag’s uptight sister, Claire. Clifford is hands-down the funniest part of the entire show. I think she smiles twice over the course of 12 episodes. She’s a badass lady boss, a caring sister, and a woman who wants to pretend she’s not a mess. Even if the rest of the show wasn’t brilliant, it’s worth watching just for her and the terrible haircut that causes her to sob about how she “looks like a pencil.”

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