British comedic writer Phoebe Waller- Bridge seems to be winning award after award. Series two of Fleabag has already collected fifteen and Walker-Bridge recently secured the 2020 SAG award for Best Female Performance in a comedy. Yet her incredibly diverse abilities ensure that Fleabag is not the only Waller- Bridge creation that has become the obsession of the nation either as Killing Eve, a dark comedic thriller that takes on a different tone to her other work, remains incredibly popular. So what is it about her writing and brand of humour, mixed with a healthy dose of modern feminism, that has found such a voice today?
What truly captured everyone’s attention with Fleabag was Waller- Bridge’s incredible writing (along with the inclusion of Andrew Scott’s “Hot Priest” character in series two, but mainly the writing). The tragic comedy is honest and real. A common theme throughout both series is Fleabag’s concern over being a “bad feminist”, an anxiety we all hold in this 21st century social media world where terms such as “snowflake” have become an all too common part of public discourse. Fleabag showcases the everyday feminist; there is no shying away from all the parts of our lives we try to conceal.
Fleabag also manages to render the audience essentially a character of sorts, as her constant breaking of the ‘fourth wall’ achieved through continuously glancing at the camera allows her to encapsulate that friendship where only a look is needed to have a silent conversation. It is nothing short of remarkable that this sort of experience, one we typically share only with our dearest friends who we understand the most, can be shared between brilliantly constructed characters and a fully immersed audience. This device, which leaves us immersed in each scene, undoubtedly goes a long way in ensuring that the portrayal of real dynamics between family members and lovers is so brutally honest we can’t help but cry and laugh along with Fleabag.
Phoebe Waller- Bridge’s comedic style is reflective of her own personality and it comes across in every interview or acceptance speech. Her humour is infectious and has the ability to surprise the audience, a factor which seems so crucial to television at a time when viewers see genres as exhausted. Both Killing Eve and Fleabag have an edge to them that is new yet familiar. Waller-Bridge’s writing style and expression is original but now all the more recognisable as a piece of her work. Killing Eve does not star her, but you can tell exactly who meticulously engineered it.
This new brand of comedy is outrageously entertaining. But what is it that the world loves so much about the outspoken acting and writing sensation? Well, she is the awkward yet confident storyteller clearly unafraid to stand out with her distinctive personality matched and unmistakable talent. This self-aware woman is just what the everyday feminist is and aspires to be – imperfectly perfect in their own unique fashion.
Image: Raph_PH via Flickr