The image of Phoebe Waller-Bridge sprawled on chair surrounded by four Emmys, cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other, has gone viral and for good reason. Apart from the fact that the actor-director-scriptwriter of ‘Fleabag’ looks like a total badass in it, the image is representative of a win for ‘real women’ characters on screen. After all Waller-Bridge said it best when receiving the award: “It’s so wonderful and reassuring to know that a dirty, pervy, angry, and messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys.”
Bagging four Emmy awards – Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Writing for a Comedy Series and Directing for a Comedy Series awards – ‘Fleabag’ swept the Emmys this year. Creator, executive producer, writer, and actor in the series, Waller-Bridge’s role defines the one-woman series perfectly. But how much do you know about ‘Fleabag’ really, even though both its seasons have been on Amazon Prime for a while now (Season Two came out in May)? Here’s a crash course on why you should be watching this dry, dark comedy.
- ‘Fleabag’ tracks the story of a dry-witted, self-destructive single woman living in London, grappling not just with the death of a close friend, but the dysfunctionality of her family and career. It’s not all depressing though because Bridge packs and pads it with dry humour and wit which has the viewer cracking up at the most unexpected moments.
- It started as a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013. Bridge was challenged by a friend to do a 10-minute standup storytelling night, and the concept of ‘Fleabag’ was born.
- The central character’s name is never revealed in the show. When the end credits roll, she is simply referred to as ‘Fleabag’.
- The show went on to become a series on BBC Three in the UK in 2016. And with the audience praising the show, the word of mouth helped the series be co-produced by Amazon Prime Video, allowing it to have a global reach. This also helped the series become eligible for the Emmys, which only judges shows produced or co-produced by an American company.
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5. The show garnered eyeballs for drawing empathy from the viewers. The grieving central character refuses to accept help from anyone who may offer it, but how she tackles it all is relatable for the viewer. Bridge also broke the fourth wall – she speaks to the viewer at all times, turning at winking, feeling embarrassed, passing comments as if she were friends with you. These instances connect, and one feels one is living those moments with her.
6. The show stars the incredibly talented Olivia Colman, winner of the Best Actress Oscar 2019 (for ‘The Favourite’), in a pivotal role.
7. There are only two seasons, and no more to come. Bridge said that the Emmy win felt like “the most beautiful way to say goodbye to it. It does feel like the story is complete.”
There is however no doubt the world wants more of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her black humour. Till then, if you haven’t already, catch both seasons of the series on Amazon Prime Video.