“Fleabag” Betrayed Me

“Fleabag” created, written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is a British comedy-drama television series adapted from the award-winning play about a woman trying to cope with life in London following a tragic loss. Ok now that we’ve got that out of the way, if you didn’t know about Fleabag, I beg you to binge the 2 six-episode seasons and then binge everything Phoebe Waller-Bridge has ever touched – created, written or otherwise.

Fleabag, the character played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, not the show, but Fleabag, betrayed me. In the first season we meet this woman and we think she’s just a bit odd, has these hilariously humiliating moments happen to her and then some really cringe moments of rejection and we think, “Oh she’s so British and cute and quirky and relatable.” But then as we delve deeper we soon discover that Fleabag is actually super messed up. She’s a sex-addicted, insecure, backstabbing, narcissistic, sociopath who did some really messed up things to people whom she claimed to love and then she had a bunch of messed up things happen to her and everyone in her life just doesn’t seem to get her at all and no one knows how to communicate with each other (like typical well-off wasps which, on the surface, makes it seem like “white people problems” but if you keep going with it you’ll find it’s not all surface level).

Ultimately, despite her flaws and her whole “anti-hero” thing, Fleabag is still relatable, flawed and awesome. We want to be friends with her and let her see how messed up we are too. At least this was my reaction to Fleabag. What was yours?

Anyways, she’s a mess, ok? And I get her crazy. I really really do. I don’t judge her for anything. I mean, she talks to imaginary people (who doesn’t, am I right?) She did something terrible and can’t seem to forgive herself for it so she basically punishes herself. She has a sex addiction. But underneath all that, Fleabag wasn’t a bad person. She just had a really bad time for awhile. And, no one ever wants to talk about it, but sex addiction afflicts women just as much as men. And Fleabag was definitely an addict.

So on many, many levels I related to her.

I found solace in knowing that there was a woman out there, albeit fictitious, who was flailing at life as much as I was. I imagined it must have come from some kind of very real place in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s life and so in my head she was my best friend and therapist.

And Season 1 got me through one of the 4 awful, cold and lonely years in London.

Then I moved to Italy and my loneliness increased and then I lost a baby and then Season 2 started and I thought, “Yay, Fleabag is back and she’s going to help me grieve through her crazy.”Then she went and fell in love. And got better.Ok that’s not entirely true. But it’s obvious by the last frame of the last episode that she’s had some kind of real breakthrough and would be on the road to “better” if not, healed. And then she just left us there, alone. I have never been so betrayed in my life.And I literally once had a friend accuse me of being a chickenhead because I broke up with an abusive ex-boyfriend. A chickenhead!So I’ve been rewatching Fleabag (the series) and seeing it through a different lens because that’s what happens when you revisit a beloved series or film, you have to try to see it as if for the first time. I did that and I got so much more out of it than the first time around. I could actually relate to Fleabag‘s sister. I didn’t despise her father and I didn’t think Boo was ridiculously unattractive this time around. I also didn’t project all my real life issues onto this fictitious character and so I could actually enjoy it simply for what it was. Which was alright. It’s a good show (and I still encourage you to watch it) but it wasn’t really groundbreaking. I’m not saying that out of bitterness, I’m being sincere.

I’d been obsessed with the show because I’d been going through some lonely and painful times.

But here, now in a clearer place – I see it for what it is. Just a show.There have been others just like it that are just as good, if not better and definitely more diverse. And there will be others like it that will hopefully be just as good or better and even more diverse.

All this to say, I forgive you, Fleabag.

Your breakthrough, which lead to me feeling betrayed (especially with no 3rd season coming ever) ultimately helped snap me out of my depression long enough to work on healing from my own trauma and then ultimately lead to my own breakthrough.So thank you. For abandoning me. It’s probably exactly what I needed.


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