Fleabag (2016-2019) is a British comedy-drama television series about an anonymous young woman in London. The show refers to the young woman as “Fleabag” and depicts her as free-spirited but angry.  It explores her relationships with her family, friends and lovers, especially the death of her best friend and her unrequited love for a Catholic priest.  (Also anonymous, the latter is called “The Priest”).  A signature effect of the show is Fleabag’s frequent turn to the camera to address the viewer, during which she shares funny, if cynical comments, or offers ironic glances.  Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote and starred in the show.  Fleabag won a British Television Academy Award, six Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. Currently the show appears on Prime Video.

In Season Two, Episode Four, The Priest and Fleabag stroll down a London street.  The Priest informs her that he wants to show her something special and leads her into a nearby building.  Fleabag discovers that they have entered a Quaker meetinghouse.  She explains that one is supposed to speak when moved by the Spirit.  She adds that it is very intense.  She also notes, “It’s very erotic”.  After stating that she is not really feeling anything, she begins to shake and then rise, murmuring, “Oh, no, what am I going to say, what am I going to say?”  Finally, she says loudly, “I sometimes worry I wouldn’t be such a feminist if I had bigger (breasts)”.  Across the room The Priest stifles giggles.  Afterward, back on the street, Fleabag appears embarrassed.  The Priest says at least something moved her.  She responds that she isn’t sure she needed to be moved to realize that about her feminism.

Andrew Scott, who portrayed The Priest, inspired the Quaker scene.  When Waller-Bridge was trying to recruit him to play the role, he took her to Westminister Friends Meeting in central London, so they could talk.  It turned out that he often goes there as it is a quiet space in London.  The scene was filmed at the Westminster Meetinghouse.

Fleabag is a graphic, if hilarious show.  At first, I was taken aback at Fleabag’s ministry, but now I find it rather funny.

Gary Sandman

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