5 Shows Like 'Fleabag' If You're Already Missing It, Because There Is So Much Great Telly Out There
After it was announced on Thursday that Phoebe Waller-Bridge would be performing her masterpiece Fleabag one last time in its original form — a one-woman theatre show — you can bet that everyone stormed to get tickets. Including myself. Did I get one? Dear reader, I did not. But instead of feeling too bitter about it, I'm going to cast my eye towards some of the shows surrounding Fleabag which had a similar effect on me. If you're also grieving the end of the show, here are five shows like Fleabag which'll have you laughing until you're hiccoughing, unexpectedly crying, and feeling thoroughly confused as to where you stand with the show's protagonist.
As any great writer, Waller-Bridge had her viewers in the palm of her hand with Fleabag. She had us laughing, and feeling seen, and then out of nowhere, she'd send a sucker-punch straight to our hearts. Another of Fleabag's many draws is how it didn't pressure itself to be the perfect feminist show. Instead, it showed the honest parts of being a woman — and how some people really do feel like feminism wouldn't be such a big deal to them if they had bigger tits — so goes one of Fleabag's most notorious lines. These shows below are also refreshingly honest, and told from the woman's perspective, without forcing its characters to live up to impossible ideals.
1. 'Killing Eve'
Lucky for me, as soon as Fleabag ended, series two of Killing Eve rolled back around, and it's very swiftly become one of my favourite shows on TV right now. Series one was written by Waller-Bridge herself, but series two was left in the very capable hands of writer Emerald Fennell. Starring Sandra Oh and relative newcomer Jodie Comer, Killing Eve depicts the sapphic cat and mouse chase between an MI6 agent and a psychopathic killer. But things get real complicated when the women become allured by one another, and misplaced sexual tension ensues. Series 2 is currently airing in the US and Series 1 is available to watch on BBC iPlayer in the UK.
Imagine having to deal with a debilitating illness but not having it taken seriously, because from an outsider's perspective, it's kind of funny. That's just the idea that Channel 4's comedy show Pure plays with, as it tells the story of Marnie, who's plagued with a specific kind of OCD which has her thinking violently sexual thoughts. Like Fleabag, it'll have you laughing, but it'll hit you in the feels right when you least expect it.
3. 'Chewing Gum'
If you felt that Fleabag was a show written by a posh person for posh people — as this Guardian article which picked up a fair bit of heat argued — then Chewing Gum is what you need. With a black, working class woman as its lead, the comedy tells the hilarious coming-of-age story of the Beyoncé-obsessed Tracey Gordon who tries to come to terms with the perplexing world around her. It's brilliant and the world frankly needs more shows like it.
4. 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend'
Alright, imagine if instead of all those asides to camera, Fleabag just spontanteously combusted into song and dance. Cue Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. While it's a bit more overt in its mental health themes than Fleabag, this show — which unfortunately just aired its last ever episode — follows Rebecca Bunch as she falls disastrously back in love with an old flame, and moves to his pretty bland hometown of West Covina, California. Lots of bombastic song and dances follow.
5. 'Russian Doll'
Aside from being my own personal doppelgänger, Natasha Lyonne is perhaps one of TV's most charismatic characters, and Russian Doll is exactly the kind of spotlight she deserves. Stuck in her own Groundhog Day, Lyonne's character (who's loosely based on Lyonne herself) is made to endure the night of her birthday party over and over. The moral of the story? Be good to people. You'll see what I mean when you get there. But in the meantime, even if nothing else draws you, stick around if only to see how Lyonne pronounces the word "cockroach." It's worth it, I promise.