Why New Sitcom ‘Fleabag’ Is The British Answer To ‘Girls’

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by Emma Firth |

You may have heard the phrase Fleabag flying around recently, with friends down the pub maybe or overhead office chat. And no, it’s not a documentary on pets or insects; but your new favourite TV show that has been compared to a grittier, British version of Lena Dunham’s show Girls.

For the uninitiated; BBC Three’s sometimes bleak, consistently hilarious new sitcom is written by 31-year-old Phoebe Waller-Bridge [who plays the titular character] and follows a young woman’s struggle as she navigates Kidulthood, family tensions and love headaches in London.

Here’s your cheat sheet to the TV show that’s got everyone talking…

Meet The Mastermind

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The new feminist comedy is created by rising talent Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who you may remember as the steely lawyer in Broadchurch). The RADA-trained actress, writer and director also wrote last year’s C4’s flatshare comedy Crashing, before BBC gave her the greenlight to adapt her 2014 one-woman play she wrote when she was 26-years-old for the small screen.

Fleabag is completely relatable for women in their 20s and 30s

Pin-pointing who Fleabag is is a hard task. Yes she is funny, sexually frank and her LOL Miranda-style monologues are surprisingly not annoying at all. But, more than that she is also experiencing grief, applying for bank loans for her small business and voices her concerns that she is a ‘bad feminist’. ‘I know a lot of my female peers feel really angry,’ Waller-Bridge tells The Telegraph. ‘I think that a woman’s response at first is to feel guilty and apologetic about it without knowing why… The idea of the ‘angry young man’ is so deeply embedded [in culture] but the angry young woman seems never to be addressed.’

Olivia Colman Plays A Baddie

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Well, sort of. We’re used to seeing the Peep Show actress playing likeable characters your mum and you would totally want to share a cup of tea with. But in Fleabag, Colman has been cast against type – playing wicked stepmother who paints ‘self-portraits’ at 2am and is quick to patronise her daughter. She’s pretty much the bohemian, passive-aggressive mum from hell.

The Comedy Cameos Are Everything

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There’s Outnumbered star Hugh Dennis playing a sexist bank manager. Rising comedian and Edinburgh Fringe Festival regular Jamie Demetriou as a posh boy Fleabag meets on a bus - he's a documentary maker who is, like, ‘interested in life.’ And, we've also completely fallen for W1A actor Hugh Skinner who plays Fleabag’s on-off boyfriend - a hopeless romantic who has a penchant for poetry. Sound familiar?

There’s A Masturbation Scene – So What?

Episode 1 opens like most sitcoms. Boyfriend in bed next to you, it’s late, you’re watching an Obama speech when the moment to have some ‘Me Time’ strikes you. Oh wait, this literally never happens on TV.

You’ll Recognise The Overachieving Older Sis

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She’s got the house, the husband…the ah-mazing job with another promotion on the way. Maybe you have a sister like this, or BFF who seems to have everything ‘together’ but is the most anal person you know. But, deep down you still love her.

Dating Disasters? Yep, There’s A Few

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Much like Girls, this show isn’t afraid to show un-sexy sex scenes on screen – from majorly awks encounter in a café to that guy who is so, so chuffed you let him do something in the bedroom no woman has ever done before.

Fleabag is available to watch on BBC3 every thursday.

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