Move over “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” there’s a new vixen in town. Another highly successful TV series about the inner world of an un-diagnosed female sex and love addict. The show lead actress is best described as a dry-witted woman, known only as “Fleabag” who has no filter as she navigates life and love in London while trying to cope with tragedy. The angry, grief-riddled woman tries to heal while rejecting anyone who tries to help her, but she continues to keep up her bravado through it all. Comic actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge stars as the titular character on the series, which is based on Waller-Bridge’s 2013 one-woman show of the same name. Every other character in the show is referred to by name but our fem-fatal is only referred to as “she”, “her” and other non- names. The show pushes sexuality in blatant addictive ways and if someone is in early recovery I would not recommend it. It would be triggering to say the least not to mention that it would glamorize the idea of addictive sex. At its core it is a prime example of “self will run riot”. There is nothing glamorous about it. At the end of the day it’s just about an empty women taking from others to fill up what is lacking in her and as I always say “Hurt People Hurt People”.
The concept of the title is the definition of “fleabag”: A bed or sleeping bag. A place of shabby lodging, particularly a filthy hotel or run-down apartment. Here in the U.S. “fleabag” is used as an adjective for a place not usually a person. In England it is also used for people. Usually someone or something that is dirty, or has a bad reputation. People who are annoying or unpleasant: public nuisance, creepy or a loudmouth. That definition fits her to a “T”.
The character serves as her own narrator as the show unfolds. Talking to the viewer as if she is involved in a spectator sport. It is reminiscent of the TV announcer describing the U.S. Open Golf Tournament who is just an observer and not a participant, whispering as Tiger Woods lines up the potential winning stroke on the 18th hole. It’s a depiction of a real life out of body experience being dissected in real time. The word for the day is detached! And with no end to the misery in sight.
You don’t have to be a therapist or even in recovery to see the dysfunction in her family from her “can’t be alone father” who never completes a sentence to her high achieving sister who is locked in a terrible marriage. Each character of course has their own tragic flaws. Makes for interesting copy for sure.
Actress/writer Waller-Bridge took home three Emmy awards this week for best comedy writing, acting and overall series for “Fleabag.” Just a few days later, Amazon announced a $20 million a year deal with Waller-Bridge, through which she’ll create and produce new TV content for the streaming platform. I guess she won’t be living a fleabag life anymore proving once again that sex sells.
I loved the show for its honesty of portraying what “broken” looks like. Whether she was an alcoholic, a crack addict, a heroin addict or a gambler it really doesn’t matter. She took her trauma, loss, guilt and shame a tried to sex it away, she just as easily could have jumped into a bottle or lived in a dope house turning tricks. Her pain was palpable.
Of course for me on one hand “Fleabag” was no different than the TV show “Intervention”, which in each episode show, 55 minutes was on the problem and only 5 minutes was on the solution, this show also only illustrated the problem. The eternal optimist that I am I was waiting for some resolution and maybe even a solution but it never really came.
If you or someone you know is in the throes of active addiction and is looking for a solution feel free to contact me, and remember misery is optional.