Fleabag – How to do Fresh, Quality Writing

Fleabag is the freshest TV show I’ve seen for a long time. Here’s my review of it as a whole (minor spoilers for Series 1).

When I first started watching Fleabag, I have to admit that it took me a while to get into it and some encouragement from my other half (who is a big fan of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s work). It is unlike the format of any other show I’ve seen which is why it feels a bit jarring at first. Given a few episodes, though, you get used to it and you are immersed in the mind and the world of Fleabag.

Copyright BBC.

Series 1 was a brilliant introduction into what writer and lead actress, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, can do. I found the first couple of episodes to be a bit cringeworthy, but once you get past the puerile jokes then you can appreciate the writing. It is very honestly written. One of the things that adds to the cringeyness (if that’s a word) is the fact that Fleabag says things to camera that are not sugar-coated at all. After getting used to it, I came to think that actually this is really refreshing.

And that word, “refreshing”, is probably the best word to sum up how I felt about Series 1. It was so different to anything else I’ve seen on TV and yet so well written.

Moving on to the recent Series 2, I was preparing myself for another few episodes of the same characters popping up and driving the story. What I was met with, though, was a few new, brilliant characters that made the show – in my opinion – much more entertaining.

Copyright BBC.

Series 1 leaves you feeling bad that everything has fallen apart in Fleabag’s life, but there is still a glimmer of hope for her and her café. Series 2 quickly establishes that her café is doing well. Boom. Instant payoff. The best part about the way that Series 2 is written is that it does not backtrack on things that were established in Series 1. This, I think, is one of the major problems with great TV nowadays. You’ll get a fantastic first series, only for it all to be forgotten in the next. Fleabag avoids this trap and engages you right from the start of Series 2.

What I also love about Series 2 is the f*cking character development! This is the best character development I have ever seen on TV. Without a doubt. I love these characters so much that I applaud Waller-Bridge for finally delivering a TV show that has satisfying character arcs. There are no flimsy characters in this show. Sure, there are throwaway secondary characters that I could take or leave, but the ones that are important to the story and to the audience are given full, proper motivation and development and you always know: 1) who to root for and 2) most importantly, WHY you’re rooting for them.

The show also leaves you on a very final and conclusive note, letting nothing unnecessary remain unanswered. No plot holes and no wasted characters. Quality TV is here to stay.

Featured image Copyright BBC.

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