Author Topic: Fleabag  (Read 10877 times)

Utter Shit

  • Snotty Bumstead
Fleabag
« on: July 22, 2016, 05:01:14 PM »
Could have sworn there was a topic about this a while back but whoever created it didn't put the word FLEABAG in it so I can't find it, the idiot bastard.

Anyway, this sounds like it could be mighty good craic - I believe it was originally a one-woman theatre show but it's now been turned into a comedy for BBC3 (which I thought didn't exist any more, but whatever...apparently it's still on the iPlayer...in which case it's just on the iPlayer, isn't it?) featuring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, whose face you'd recognise from plenty of things, if not her name.

Quote
A neatly dressed girl is sitting alone in a cafe, wondering aloud about the size of her arsehole. She spent the previous night with a man friend, drunkenly exploring certain sexual possibilities, and now is concerned that she might be unusually accommodating. This is the scene that kickstarts Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s new BBC3 comedy about the pains and perils of the twentysomething experience. As well as creating the show, she plays the title role, a character who, while happy to reveal her most intimate details, never divulges her real name.

Fleabag, as she is known, is a young woman who lives in London, runs a cafe with her only friend, attends feminist lectures with her sister, and has recently split up with her boyfriend. Dead mother, cold father, smiling assassin for a stepmum: she doesn’t sound like she’d be much fun on paper. But under the tightly buttoned trenchcoat and tidily asymmetric hair is a porn-addled, grief-stricken mess seeking some sort of connection. If you spent your 20s sleeping with randoms and not taking care of your heart, you’ll recognise her instantly.

The end credits reveal that most of the supporting cast aren’t afforded proper names either, instead called things like Bus Rodent or Arsehole Guy. “She doesn’t name anybody,” explains Waller-Bridge over a peppermint tea in a different London cafe. It’s one of those Edison-bulbed places with low lights and high benches; her tea is actually a glass stuffed with soggy mint leaves that flop out over the brim. “She doesn’t imbue anyone with anything more than how she sees them,” she adds.

This antihero cares only about herself, lives alone (people in sitcoms can afford to do this in London), masturbates to Obama on the news, and employs duplicity almost constantly to project the image she wants others to have of her. She is full of questions and devoid of answers, much like her creator says she was as she waded through her 20s. “Am I still a feminist if I watch porn, or if I want to change my body to make me feel more sexually attractive?” ponders Waller-Bridge, remembering the confusion of her own early womanhood.

This conflicted character of Fleabag burst out of her one day when a friend asked her to fill a 10-minute slot in her storytelling night. While the idea of standup made her recoil in horror, she told herself: “I’m being a pussy. I’ve got to do it”. Ten minutes quickly snowballed into a one-woman Edinburgh show, critical acclaim and a transfer to London’s Soho Theatre. Waller-Bridge is now 30 and says the character emerged from a mix of feminist anger and wild frustration at the limitations put on young women before they can decide who and what they really are.

“When I meet girls who are like, 23, 24, I just want to hug them now,” she says, before remarking on her own 20s: “I felt very aware of my sexuality and very aware of what that meant in terms of my worth.” She swills the warm water around the leaves. “As long as you were skinny and hot first, then you were allowed to get on with the rest of your life. The injustice of that.” She’s laughing now but says it drove her mad at the time. And this coming from a woman who looks like a 1930s soap advert, every bit as pristine as her on-screen character.

On top of the anger, there was the guilt. Waller-Bridge watched porn for a time in her early 20s and wondered if that made her a “bad feminist” as she read about the numbing effect it seemed to be having on her generation; all that hairless expectation and loveless, colliding flesh. “I just felt like it was really wearing me down a bit,” she says, looking out of the cafe door. She adds “a bit” to a lot of her answers, perhaps not wanting to seem too unequivocal about anything.

What is without doubt is that Waller-Bridge is on the rise. Since graduating from Rada in 2006, she’s gradually become a familiar face on primetime TV. You might last have seen her as Marianne Jean-Baptiste’s legal sidekick in Broadchurch 2 or Lulu in E4’s Crashing, her very modern flatshare comedy set in a disused hospital, which politely pushed the boundaries of taste and zinged with verbal sparklers. Waller-Bridge wrote it and played one of the twentysomething co-dwellers, living, pooing and shagging their way through life with a frankness that bordered on sociopathic.

When Crashing aired, some hailed her as the British Lena Dunham, but her aesthetic is nothing like as deliberately grubby or exposing. While they do have in common a lack of answers, Fleabag would never strip off and talk you through her tattoos the way Hannah does.

“She is so controlled,” says Waller-Bridge. “The clothes that she wears, she’s constantly got this red lipstick on, her hair’s perfect, she looks pristine and clean. The fleabagginess of her is her subtext.” As so many of us do, with our carefully edited social media presence to the fore, she wears it on the inside. Those who saw Waller-Bridge’s stage version of Fleabag in Edinburgh or its London transfer described it as “filthy” and “shocking”, but it’s the verbal power she wields that socks you in the jaw.

Crashing review: frank, filthy, sad and weird – a millennial flat-share comedy with edge
This modern sitcom follows young property guardians in a disused hospital, using tonal flips to great effect. Plus: Tracey Ullman’s Show sees the comedian hamming it up as the Duchess of Cornwall
 Read more
Despite echoes of Carrie Bradshaw or Sharon Horgan in Catastrophe, Fleabag’s closest pop-cultural cousins, with her fourth-wall-busting asides to camera, are probably Ferris Bueller or Michael Caine’s Alfie. Waller-Bridge says it was important from the off to invite audience complicity for her hero’s increasingly bad behaviour. In the opening shot, she is just about to open the door to a late-night booty call when she turns to camera and explains the extensive preparation she’s had to engage in to be ready for this seemingly casual encounter.

It could be a moment of pure clunk but instead she grabs us by the lapels and we go with her unquestioningly. Mid-shag she looks at us and tells us that her one-night friend is edging towards her anus but she’s drunk so she might as well let him. The next morning, she tells us she is strangely moved by his gratitude at being allowed to “up the bum” her. These asides act as an effective coping strategy, as well as a hugely watchable dramatic technique. While she’s looking at us, and essentially in her own head, she doesn’t have to deal with the real world in any way.

For a relatively young writer, Waller-Bridge has assembled a supporting cast most comedy veterans would chew their elbows off for. Olivia Colman plays her spiteful, bohemian step mother with a devastating line in insults tucked away behind polite smiles. And Bill Patterson is the chilly, unavailable patriarch who keeps his daughters at arm’s length. Waller-Bridge’s own family sound like a much happier unit – she mentions a brother, sister “the love of my life” and her mum, not an actor, actually appears in episode one. She plays a feminist lecturer with surprisingly on-point comic timing. “I suppose the idea of losing my mum is my biggest fear ever,” she says. When I remind her that she will definitely die one day, she grins nervously, clenching her fists. “She’s not, she’s not. I’m not going to let it happen.”

That callow unwillingness to recognise life’s unpleasant certainties is there for all to see; in Fleabag, a character who (in the words of Britney) is “not a girl, not yet a woman”. But just when you think you’ve sussed out this rather selfish, often wretchedly childish character, a big reveal during a chat with a cab driver changes everything. The first episode ends with a snippet of backstory that is barely hinted at until that moment and, suddenly, you find yourself wanting to hug her, too.

“She has a heart,” says Waller-Bridge protectively. “It’s just broken.”

Based on what I've read, it seems like a British take on Girls, with Waller-Bridge the equivalent of Lena Dunham. I'm quite excited - it was put out on iPlayer last night, so I'll try to catch it tonight. Anyone seen it yet? Or seen the original show?

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2016, 06:01:31 PM »
I watched it and thought it was going to be shit. However, it was average, some good bits but nothing to get the ribs tickled. Despite the 4th wall breaking, that didn't detract at all and I quite liked it. The cameos from Olivia Coleman and especially Hugh Dennis were great.

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2016, 08:45:51 PM »
I made it only to the end of the opening scene.

"You know when....."
[series of ridiculous events which result in you having sex with someone]

No.

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2016, 09:27:04 PM »
Thought it was quite good

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2016, 09:32:14 PM »
Some funny bits. The problem is the main character is just so unlikeable

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2016, 10:08:18 PM »
I made it only to the end of the opening scene.

"You know when....."
[series of ridiculous events which result in you having sex with someone]

No.

someguy called her up and asked if he could come over to her place late at night. she got out of bed, got dressed and pretended to not be that bothered. doesn't seem that ridiculous.

the show was ok. probably check out the rest of the sries.

cyanidemint

  • Hollywood Man
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2016, 10:29:16 PM »
I loved it. The opening scene felt a bit forced and awkward but the rest of it was brilliant I thought. Although... It was an opener for a pretty good joke.

The main character (a woman) confidently assumes the role a man would usually play in these types of sitcoms. A kind of self obsessed, Larry David-esque almost Asperger's like mentality, and it works pretty well I think.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 10:41:33 PM by cyanidemint »

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2016, 12:25:37 AM »
someguy called her up and asked if he could come over to her place late at night. she got out of bed, got dressed and pretended to not be that bothered. doesn't seem that ridiculous.

the show was ok. probably check out the rest of the sries.

It was the "That awkward moment when..." humble brag nature of it. "You know when attractive people ring you up at night wanting to have amazing sex with you?"

No I don't. It's like a friend of a friend of mine's called Jay.

Mark Steels Stockbroker

  • Lost in the former West
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2016, 10:28:36 PM »
Twentysomethings, what a load of shit.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2016, 01:27:55 PM »
it seems like a British take on Girls, with Waller-Bridge the equivalent of Lena Dunham.

I think that's quite possibly the worst sentence I've ever read on a forum. 

It would only be worse if you then followed it up by writing that they were going to make a film of it, written and directed by Whit Stillman and starring Lena Dunham.

Norton Canes

  • The leper heart will see you for what you are
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2016, 07:50:35 PM »
It's just Miranda with bumsex.

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2016, 10:06:30 AM »
Surprised she’s been given another sitcom so soon after the atrocious Crashing on C4. I hated this as well but maybe it’s because I’m a terrible sexist dick? Honestly don’t know

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2016, 11:10:05 AM »
Some decent jokes ("Sad face" made me laugh, as did people setting up and plugging in every electronic device they own in cafes like it's not absurd) but the tone feels way off with a main character far too smug to relate to.
Also does that crap character trope of "I'm a horrible person but I'm aware of it and don't really want to change so I'll carry on being that way to no real consequence" which stopped being edgy or engaging about a decade ago.

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2016, 08:30:32 AM »
Good so far. She's potentially a major talent.

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2016, 09:57:13 AM »
Have to say I liked the second episode, despite what I just said earlier

Norton Canes

  • The leper heart will see you for what you are
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2016, 12:42:42 PM »
Wasn't especially keen on episode two but watched it with Mrs Canes who loves any sitcom/comedy drama featuring vindictive, screwed-up people so we had plenty to chat about.

The only moment I actually laughed at:

"You look stressed."

[spoiler]"I'm successful"[/spoiler]

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2016, 07:23:48 AM »
Quote
It's just Miranda with bumsex.

Let's face it: there isn't a sitcom in existence which wouldn't be improved by adding the words "with bumsex" to the end of the title.

e.g.
Duty Free with bumsex.
Never The Twain with bumsex.
In Loving Memory with bumsex.

Miranda actually had lots of bumsex in. They just didn't show it.

Norton Canes

  • The leper heart will see you for what you are
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2016, 10:43:46 AM »
The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the ideal person not only to be Doctor Who's next show-runner, but also to star as the Doctor.

Norton Canes

  • The leper heart will see you for what you are
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2016, 10:16:43 AM »
Watched episode three. Now convinced that the guinea pig is the star of the show. Love its askance glances to camera.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2016, 10:29:21 AM »
Watched episode three. Now convinced that the guinea pig is the star of the show. Love its askance glances to camera.

That Boo character is awful though. The ganja scene was embarrassing and about 20 years out of date. Not convincing and too twee. The rest was reasonable and will keep me watching.

Queneau

  • That was a joke. That's all it was, it was a joke.
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2016, 04:49:12 PM »
I've been surprised by how much I've liked this. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I've found it thoroughly enjoyable. The chap playing her boyfriend was particularly great in episode two. Some of the flashbacks of Boo, as mentioned already, are pretty annoying and embarrassing. If only those parts were tidied up/improved.

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2016, 04:54:15 PM »
I made it only to the end of the opening scene.

"You know when....."
[series of ridiculous events which result in you having sex with someone]

No.

Me neither. Shows about people with varied and interesting sex lives are alienating.

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2016, 04:54:58 PM »
Thought it was quite good

There's a shock.

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2016, 07:35:40 PM »
Not seen this so just going to leave a dickhead comment instead.

It's nice to see BBC3 smashing down the old-boys club comedy network by giving the Privately Educated, RADA Alumna, Phoebe Waller-Bridge a series or two. Well done them.

(Sorry if that is cuntish but having spent the last few days in Edinburgh and finding a fairly strong inverse correlation between shows I really like and the probable education fees of those involved I'm increasingly demoralised about the state of British comedy TV. Moreover it is increasingly fucking me off how the commisioning and agents thing is basically acting as a way of filtering out anyone talent who isn't their mates from uni). I quite like David Elms but that shite on Channel 5 he is in is actually on TV whilst Ideal got cancelled years ago. Bring back Ideal. I'm even happy Stewart Lee's show has gone but just give me Ideal. BBC3??


Re: Fleabag
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2016, 08:35:00 PM »
Me neither. Shows about people with varied and interesting sex lives are alienating.

FTFY. (Or FTFM, anyway.)

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2016, 09:18:06 PM »
just give me Ideal. BBC3??

I thought that got 6 or 7 series or something? You sound greedy mate. I liked Ideal but I reckon it has running on fumes for the last couple of series and needed to end.

Mark Steels Stockbroker

  • Lost in the former West
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2016, 09:55:30 PM »
I hope you only like the episodes of Ideal that didn't have any Oxbridge grads in the production team.

Utter Shit

  • Snotty Bumstead
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2016, 02:01:30 PM »
Not seen this so just going to leave a dickhead comment instead.

It's nice to see BBC3 smashing down the old-boys club comedy network by giving the Privately Educated, RADA Alumna, Phoebe Waller-Bridge a series or two. Well done them.

(Sorry if that is cuntish but having spent the last few days in Edinburgh and finding a fairly strong inverse correlation between shows I really like and the probable education fees of those involved I'm increasingly demoralised about the state of British comedy TV. Moreover it is increasingly fucking me off how the commisioning and agents thing is basically acting as a way of filtering out anyone talent who isn't their mates from uni). I quite like David Elms but that shite on Channel 5 he is in is actually on TV whilst Ideal got cancelled years ago. Bring back Ideal. I'm even happy Stewart Lee's show has gone but just give me Ideal. BBC3??

It's great. Your point might have value but what a stupid target to aim for.

Re: Fleabag
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2016, 02:18:11 PM »
I have some sympathy with the above quoted view, I'm afraid. Maybe it should have been an hour long drama, because I just watch it and think 'argh, this is not funny', then I get annoyed about all the stuff hummingofevil pointed out. Does feel like the system is massively biased towards writer/performers at the moment, as a lack of imagination on the commissioners' part. As someone said, if you hand a script to a commissioner, they often struggle to 'get' it, whereas if a writer/performer pitches something to them, they can just imagine a rectangular box around the performer's face and think 'Aha, there's the DVD cover!' (or iPlayer page or whatever).
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 03:16:55 PM by Jack Shaftoe »

Beagle 2

  • Silver Member
  • ****
Re: Fleabag
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2016, 11:13:36 PM »
Watched the first two episodes tonight and thought it was absolutely brilliant. Really sharp writing and great casting, several belly laughs. Some pointless comments about her class, sex and age in here, I really thought more people would be excited about it.