In early 2020 as I lay on the couch one morning, home sick, I decided to watch the first episode of Fleabag. It had been recommended to me by a few of my girlfriends, and I’d seen snippets of the show on YouTube. Fast forward to the end of the day and I’d watched Every. Single. Episode. Yes, both seasons in their entirety. Granted there are only six 30 minute episodes per season, so it’s only 6 hours of viewing, but I had never binged something like this before. The next day I went back to my favourite episodes, mostly from Season 2, and watched them again. I couldn’t get enough.
Fleabag is perfection, there’s no other way of describing it. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s ability to create a central character that is so flawed and yet you are cheering for her, a Godmother so hilariously cruel, a sister so uptight and on the edge, yet you know so many people like her, is a writing force to be reckoned with. And with a clueless father, a hot priest, an unbearable brother-in-law and a dead best friend, there’s no tropes to be found in this story.
Every time I revisit Fleabag on YouTube, if only for a few minutes, I am reminded of how many great scenes there are across both seasons. The conversations I’ve had with my friends about the best moments from the show are littered with, “Oh! And that part where…” Insert any moment and you’d be right.
With no criteria in mind other than how much I come back to it or talk about it, my favourite moments from Fleabag are, in no particular order:
When Stepmother leaves the bunch of freesias on the front porch
The way Fleabag tries to explain that Freesias were a favourite of their Mum’s, before the Godmother proceeds to exclaim “Aren’t they stunning?” while holding the bunch of flowers so earnestly, never fails to make me laugh. Godmother then drops the flowers down on the front porch and with a faux-inclusive, “Let’s just leave them, right, here.”
Hair is everything!
The speech that Fleabag delivers to Antony about how we’re meant to think that hair is a “symbol of power, a symbol of fertility,” is perfectly juxtaposed by Antony telling anyone who’s had a ‘break-up haircut’ that you won’t change your life in here, being the hair salon.
I need to paint, I need to paint NOW!
After the priest breaks the bad news that he won’t be able to officiate the wedding ceremony, Godmother gives an almighty screech as Fleabag, or maybe it’s really Waller-Bridge, gives us a look of surprise. The narcissism and eruption in Godmother greatly contrasts the priest’s calm explanation for needing to be with his brother.
You know what you’re going to do, everybody does
Fiona Shaw’s cameo as the psychiatrist is a funny and painful realisation that maybe we do have the answers, we just don’t want to know what they are.
Fleabag and Claire’s relationship
I was trying to think of a Claire moment to add, and I just can’t pin one down, so my highlight is her relationship with Fleabag. I think a lot of sisters can relate to their moments of suffering through family drama together, making each other laugh even though you’re already crying, and being every bit judgmental as you are accepting. As an older sister, I can appreciate the anxiety Claire has, no doubt from being given as a child, and continuing to have, too much responsibility for the people around her. Their relationship is perfectly punctuated at the wedding when Claire says to Fleabag, “The only person I’d run through an airport for is you.” When Fleabag told us that Season 2 was a love story, little did I realise the greatest love was between characters we already knew.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg for all things I love about this show, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop smiling at it’s wit and charm. People may ask for a third season, but I think Seasons 1 and 2 are perfect as they are. If you really want a third season, watch the first two seasons again and I bet you’ll discover something new. I know I’ll continue to.