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The promiscuous protagonist featured in the impish and affecting British comedy Fleabag has a problem with religion. As she puts it, crassly, she wants to f*** a priest.
Where Season 1 focused on the eponymous young woman spiraling in a post-traumatic lifestyle, following the death of her mother and her best friend, this year’s Emmy-winning Season 2 had the religion problem at its center. Portrayed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who adapted the series from her one-woman stage show), the quick-witted Fleabag still navigates the ups and downs of her various relationships, yet the narrative always comes back to the unnamed “hot priest,” wonderfully portrayed by Andrew Scott.
Signature - Show - Fleabag - Breaking - Wall
A delightful signature of the show is Fleabag’s breaking of the fourth wall: when she turns aside to look directly into the camera and offers her sardonic take on the situation before her. These televisual footnotes are sometimes lengthy and verbose, but often are simply a look, with Waller-Bridge utilizing her expressive visage to communicate a smorgasbord of emotions to us, the transcendent audience. Part narration, part commentary, these extra-diegetic digressions appear to go unnoticed by everyone else around her. We’re privy to her internal monologue, while everyone else remains unaware of what she’s really thinking and feeling.
Until, that is, something miraculous happens. In Season 2’s third episode, Fleabag is having an intimate conversation with the hot priest, their topics of discussion ranging from his fear of foxes to personal doubts about God’s existence to the discipline of celibacy and his unwillingness to have sex with her. “I’d like to be your friend though,” he offers. “I’d like to be your friend too,” she replies, then turns away from him and towards the camera, confessing, “We’ll last a week.”
“What was that?” the priest suddenly asks her, perplexed.
Surprised, she quickly turns back to him, confused: “What?”
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