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Series / Fleabag

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Unhappier times.

"I have a horrible feeling that I'm a greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally bankrupt woman..."

Fleabag is a 2016 Brit Com created by, written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the namesake character, a dry-witted Lovable Sex Maniac proprietor of an unsuccessful London cafe struggling to cope with her Dysfunctional Family and the death of her best friend Boo.

Originally an award-winning play for the Edinburgh Fringe, the show was commissioned by BBC Three as an iPlayer-only exclusive before being picked up by Amazon Originals for international distribution, with US distribution being handled through Prime Video. A second (and final) series aired on BBC Three in March 2019.

Fleabag provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Claire breaks out into an uncharacteristic guffaw at the silent retreat in response to one of Fleabag's jokes.
  • A-Cup Angst: A running theme for our antiheroine. Arsehole Guy appears to have something of a fetish for this.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Most of what's in the play survived to the TV series in one form or another, but regular cafe customer Joenote  was cut, with some of his dialogue being given to Belinda in Series 2 instead.
    • The play also hints that Boo knew it was Fleabag who slept with her boyfriend, which the series doesn't.
    • In the play the guinea pig doesn't make it; it gets seriously injured when Tube Rodent (as he is in the play) mistakes it for a rat, and eventually Fleabag kills it in the middle of her finale breakdown
  • Adaptation Expansion: As the series was adapted from a one-hour, one-woman stage play, which concentrates more on the cafe and Fleabag's sexual encounters, and not so much on her family, naturally a lot of extra content was added. In particular, Godmother is only mentioned in passing in the play so everything involving her was added for the series, including the statuette subplot and the sexhibition; and Claire is quite an important character in the play but it's suggested she and Fleabag don't really get along, whereas the TV series softens and expands their relationship considerably.
  • Adaptational Nationality:
    • Martin is Scottish (with the implication of being a Violent Glaswegian) in the play but American in the series.
    • Dad, on the other hand, seems to be Scottish in the show, probably because he's played by Bill Paterson, a real Glaswegian.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Martin drinks far too much far too regularly, and is wildly inappropriate along with it. People don't mind because he's funny.
    • Implied: The Priest is frequently seen drinking and offering drinks at all hours of the day, and hides bottles. His parents were alcoholic, and he's baffled by Martin & Claire's decision to quit.
  • An Aesop: People make mistakes. As Fleabag once put it, "That's why they put rubbers on the end of pencils."
  • Anti-Hero: Fleabag herself, in the Classical Anti-Hero mould.
  • Artifact Title: The lead character calls herself Fleabag in the original stage play. Although the TV show keeps the title, the character herself is never called anything at all. A real-life artefact no less; Fleabag is Phoebe Waller-Bridge's childhood family nickname.
  • Ascended Extra: Godmother is only mentioned in passing in the original play and has no part in the plot. In the TV series, she's a major recurring character and played by one of the most popular and acclaimed actors on British TV, Olivia Colman.
  • Aside Comment: A stalwart of the shows' theatrical roots along with the...
  • Aside Glance: Fleabag is exceedingly good at these, see also Facial Dialogue below.
  • As the Good Book Says...: The Priest ends the wedding sermon with Psalms 31:25.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In S01E06, there is a set-up which appears to be leading to the protagonist committing suicide in the same way as Boo. She doesn't.
    • At the end of the same scene, Fleabag rants at the Bank Manager about how she fucked everything up in life and how alone she feels. The Bank Manager leaves her cafe, seemingly put off by her behavior. He's actually just going out to his car to get the paperwork for her loan application.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Harry's statue at the "sexibition", much to his concern.
    Harry: I don't... I don't know why she... where's my penis?
    Fleabag: [points to wall of penises] Oh, it's on the wall over there. Second from the left.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Despite being a heavy drinker (bordering on The Alcoholic) who really sleeps around, and, as she is at lengths to point out, not in romantic or healthy situations, Fleabag never looks even slightly worse for wear, as the Your Makeup Is Running page still shows. In Series 2, everyone remarks on Fleabag looking remarkably good at her mother's funeral. (She hardly looks any different.)
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Ominous Latin Chanting in the theme music for S2 is made up of Latin words for the genitalia and sexual congress.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Godmother, by the bucketload. She's relentlessly condescending, rude or overtly offensive towards Fleabag, but almost never drops her chipper demeanour.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Series 1: Although it's a Surprisingly Happy Ending for the protagonist, it's not so much for anyone else. Both Claire and her father are still in relationships with truly horrible people, Claire has turned down her dream job, Martin has turned Claire against her sister, and the Fourth Wall that went up between us and the protagonist during the final episode is still in place. The last at least is undone by the start of series 2.
    • Series 2: Fleabag and the Priest break up, but say "I love you" first. Fleabag walks away from the audience, showing less reliance on us. Claire chases after Klare. Dad and Godmother get married, but Fleabag's pre-wedding conversation with Dad has brought them closer.
  • Bookends: The first and last epsiodes feature Fleabag breaking up with a partner, being told by Dad that she takes after her mother, and stealing Godmother's statuette.
  • Black Comedy: Used frequently both in the show and in-universe.
    • The end of the first episode has a drunken Fleabag cackling away to her cabbie about how Boo killed herself. He doesn't see the funny side.
    • Fleabag dressing up as a masked attacker and jumping on Harry in the shower with a knife. "Surprise!"
  • British Brevity: Two six-episode long seasons, each thirty minutes.
  • Brick Joke: In the fourth episode, the leader of the silent retreat tells those gathered that they can use a blackboard at the front of the room if they really need to communicate something. The next scene, a woman runs afoul of a wasp's nest, and in the scene after that the blackboard reads "I've been stung by a wasp" in the background.
  • But Not Too Bi: Fleabag is clearly very attracted to Belinda and kisses her, but despite the fact that she Really Gets Around, she is never shown sleeping with a woman or even admitting attraction to them except Belinda. Perhaps the only other example is her Pseudo-Romantic Friendship with Boo.
    Belinda: Are you a lesbian?
    Fleabag: Not strictly.
  • Call-Back:
    • Series 2 episode 5 references the first scene of Fleabag: our protagonist waiting at her front door in her black coat, waiting for a booty call to show up, describing the elaborate and insecure preparations she's made so she appears cool to her partner. Then the Priest turns up before the booty call.
    • After Fleabag claims she suffered a miscarriage in a bid to get Claire (who actually had it) to a hospital, Martin cruelly remarks that the fetus killed itself because it didn't want to have Fleabag as a mother, which wounds Claire. When Claire finally reveals in the finale that it was her miscarriage, she shoots the same line back at him, saying the baby didn't want him as a father.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Played for Drama.
    • Fleabag is unable to admit how much she depends on Harry in Series 1, which eventually drives him away from her.
    • Platonically, their father finds it impossible to ever stick up for his daughters or tell them how he feels.
    • The Priest, on the other hand, is unable to spit it out, because that would mean admitting that he wants to break his vow of chastity with Fleabag.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The apparent One-Scene Wonder bank manager turns out to be this.
  • Christianity is Catholic: The Priest in series 2 is a Catholic, and of course there is a Confessional scene, though we do also see a Quaker meeting.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The main character's speech in the final scene of the first series manages to use the F word as noun, verb, adjective and interjection.
  • Continuity Nod: The first episodes of series 1 and 2 both end with Fleabag in the back of a cab, smiling at the camera at the end of a Wham Scene. The series 2 premiere also contains several shots that echo shots in the series 1 finale, such as Fleabag's confrontation with Martin and the long walk away from a disastrous family gathering (with her make-up running in the S1 finale, and a nosebleed in the S2 premiere).
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Claire has one in Season 2, Episode 1, as she seems to want to leave Martin and is becoming more and more unhappy in her marriage, she loses her pregnancy in a restaurant toilet.
  • Country Matters: Fleabag calls Godmother this at one point. It's hard to disagree with her.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Boo turns into a variant of this trope after Fleabag buys her a guinea pig as a present, and she proceeds to decorate the café accordingly. Martin points out how the café resembles a Room Full of Crazy.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Fleabag makes a beeline for this towards the end of the final episode of series 1. She also seems to have crossed it before, when Boo killed herself.
  • Destructive Romance: Between Harry and Fleabag. Harry's trying to be a kind and conscientious partner but Fleabag is in the middle of a slow-motion nervous breakdown and ends up treating him as an Extreme Doormat. Eventually he snaps out of the self-destructive cycle and decides Why Would Anyone Take Her Back?
    Harry: Don't make me hate you. Loving you's painful enough.
  • Dinner and a Show: The basis for the S2 premiere. All of Fleabag's family, plus the priest who is to marry Dad and Godmother, get together to celebrate the announcement of the wedding. That's the plan, anyway. By the end of the meal, everybody at the table has managed to drop at least one bombshell.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Fleabag and the bank manager. At first glance they couldn't seem more different, but both are dealing with the same crippling problems and guilt in their personal lives brought on by their own sexual impropriety. Their mutual acknowledgement of this helps them both Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Martin tries to justify his behaviour by claiming "I'm not a bad guy. I just have a bad personality." It doesn't wash.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Harry, in spades, even though he's already going out with Fleabag she seems to have little emotional involvement with him.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Not only Fleabag herself but literally every member of her extended family is seriously messed-up in some way.
    • The priest's family seem to be this as well according to his descriptions of them.
  • Emotion Suppression:
    • Claire comes out with this corker:
      Claire: Positive energy takes work! In the last six months I've excelled. I take all the negative emotions and just bottle them and bury them and they never come out.
    • In Season 2, we see where this comes from: in a flashback to the day of Fleabag's mum's funeral, she's been putting on a brave face all day but then she finds her dad sitting on the bed looking lost. She sits next to him:
      Fleabag: I just... [She starts to cry] I don't know what to...
      Dad: [patting her hand] I know. Buck up. Smile. Charm. [He stands up.] Off we go.
      Fleabag: [looking at him and realising that crying isn't allowed] ...I'll follow you.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Martin might be a smug, sleazy jerk, but he's peeved at the idea that he would ever hurt one of Fleabag's guinea pigs. (Then again, she did just return to her cafe to see him creepily petting one of them in his arms, so it was a reasonable assumption to make.)
  • Facial Dialogue: Fleabag would be a very different show were it not for Phoebe Waller-Bridge's talent for this. Given a disturbing twist in the second episode of season 2, when her counsellor challenges her on her claim that she has no friends.
    Fleabag: I have friends. [winks at the camera and does a little tongue-click]
  • Fascinating Eyebrow / Eye Take: If the entries under Aside Glance and Facial Dialogue hadn't clued you in yet, Fleabag also gets a lot of use out of these tropes.
  • Foreign Remake: a French one, with the setting being transfered to Paris and the main character played by Camille Cottin.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: The protagonist is the only character who breaks the fourth wall, but she does it all the time.
    • The Priest is seemingly able to observe Fleabag talking to the fourth wall, although perhaps only when tipsy. It's not clear what he sees; it may just be an awareness of her briefly zoning out, but at one point he glances in confusion in the same direction as her own Aside Glance.
    • At the end of the penultimate episode, Fleabag actually forces a Sexy Discretion Shot by reaching out and tilting the camera.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: For a series with so much discussion of sex and so many sex scenes, "bits" are never really exposed. But take a close look at the newspaper the protagonist is reading when she first meets Bus Rodent, and you'll see it has an advert on the front page with a definitely Not Safe for Work image. Apparently, it's selling mortgages.
  • Friendship Moment: There's a lot of tension between Claire and Fleabag, but they're sisters who genuinely love each other.
  • Friends with Benefits: Arsehole Guy.
  • Funny Background Event: A woman at the silent retreat in episode 4 is seen frantically attempting to shoo away a wasp without making any noise. Gets a call back in the following scene; someone has written "I've been stung by a wasp!" on the blackboard.
  • Gag Haircut: Claire gets a bad haircut which leaves her traumatised and leads to Fleabag and Claire marching into the hairdresser's shop to demand compensation. When the hairdresser shows them the reference photo he was working from, it turns out that the style was actually exactly what she asked for—it just looks terrible on her. Subverted when it turns out that the colleagues she was trying to impress actually like it anyway.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Claire's Finnish counterpart and love interest, Klare. It is a female name, but Klare is male. It leads to him being one of the nominees for the "Women in Business" award.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Between sisters Claire (Smart) and Fleabag (Pretty). While both sisters are considered attractive and make efforts to get along, Claire is serious, driven, and aloof, while Fleabag is charming and vivacious. However, people tend to have a higher opinion of Claire because she's successful.
  • Good-Times Montage: Nobody else is getting any good times in this show, so the one character who gets a Good Times Montage is Hilary the guinea pig.
  • Granola Girl: Claire has shades of this.
    Claire: Do you have rye bread?
    Fleabag: No, but we've got normal bread you can puke up later.
  • Has a Type: Harry aside. Fleabag mainly goes for aloof alpha-males.
  • How We Got Here:
    • Something of a meta-example, with the main image used by Amazon to promote the show in the US (and subsequently chosen for the front of the UK DVD) being a striking still of Fleabag with her make-up running, which is from the last third of the last episode. It's not really a spoiler because it tells you nothing specific about the show, but does mean that the whole series is effectively leading up to the reveal of what that image is about.
    • The second series begins with Fleabag tending a bloodied nose in a restaurant toilet and we're then treated to the Dinner and a Show leading up to it.
  • Humans Are Bastards:
    • In finest Brit Com tradition, almost all of the people appearing in the show are, to a greater or lesser degree, irredeemably horrible. Only Boo, Fleabag and the Bank Manager seem to show any sign of having the potential to be good.
    • In Season 2, Fleabag is trying to be a better person. Claire also becomes nicer, and the Priest seems to be a genuinely nice guy. Martin has, if anything, become much worse.
  • In-Universe Camera: The Wham Shot which concludes the penultimate episode takes Fleabag's Fourth-Wall Observer status to a different level by having her reach out and physically tilt the camera.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Played for Laughs during the flashback to Fleabag's mother's funeral. Fleabag laments that she looks too good for the occasion, and everyone she meets (even Godmother) remarks upon just how stunning she looks. Of course, she looks exactly the same as every other time we see her.
  • Interclass Friendship: Boo seems to be a lot less posh than Fleabag.
  • It's All About Me: About half of the recurring characters. And Fleabag isn't even the worst. That dishonour has to go to Godmother:
    Godmother: I've taken a photo of my naked body every year for the past 30 years.
    Fleabag: Why?
    Godmother: Well, I think it's important for women of all ages to see how my body has changed over the years. I think they have to have a healthy perspective on my body, don't they?
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Claire has given up booze in order to show solidarity with her husband who's trying to quit, but after the evening descends into chaos she hits the bottle. She also wasn't drinking because she was pregnant, but suffers a miscarriage. She needs the drink.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine:
    • Phoebe Waller-Bridge played a major supporting character in Broadchurch, in which Olivia Colman was one of the leads. The two had also appeared on stage together.
    • Maddy Rice, who plays the needy waitress in S02E01, played Fleabag in the touring version of the stage play.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: About the only exception is Godmother, who is a Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk all the way through:
    • Fleabag herself sleeps around, including cheating with her best friend's boyfriend, and ruins every single relationship she's in. However, she's also very charming and—by Season 2—surprisingly moral.
    • Claire, Fleabag's Aloof Big Sister. She is very repressed, sour, and snarky (especially to Fleabag) and blames her after Martin forces a kiss on her, but she also deeply loves her, and even wants it to work with Martin.
    • Fleabag and Claire's father is a Useless Bystander Parent with regards to Godmother's manipulations, but it clearly comes from his deep grief over their mother, and he often tries hard with Fleabag, he's just too inarticulate to get it out.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Godmother points out That Fleabag's father is only getting older and do the sisters really want to be taking care of him all by themselves.
  • Karma Houdini: Godmother is cruel, cold and condescending throughout the series. But ultimately ends the series with everything she wanted.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Martin when Claire breaks up with him by getting down on her knees. Martin is defeated and goes along with it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Martin gets hit with this. After Fleabag covers for Claire's miscarriage by claiming she instead suffered one, Martin callously states how it was probably the baby's choice to not be born. In the series finale, Claire not only reveals that she was the one who suffered a miscarriage, but throws the insult back in Martin's face before announcing that she is leaving him. After trying to turn Claire against her sister and being a general jerkass, its difficult to feel sorry for Martin.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: For the protagonist, Boo, Harry, Claire, and you, the viewer all serve(d) as living emotional crutches. In series two she seems (initially) determined not to let the Priest fill the same role.
  • Lighter and Softer: There's sweetness in season 1, and bitterness in season 2, but generally, falling in love with a priest is easier to cope with than guilt over contributing to her best friend's death.
  • Literal Metaphor: When Fleabag finds dad in the attic before his wedding, he tells her "I can't get out, I can't! It's a trap, I'm stuck!". Fleabag assumes he's talking about the wedding and assures him "everyone will understand" if he calls it off. But he's literally got his foot stuck in a mousetrap. To what extent he subconsciously feels the same way about the wedding is open to interpretation.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: A recurrent trait with Fleabag's Love Interests.
    • Arsehole Guy is a Proud Beauty who's vain and self-involved and ends up being dull in bed.
    • Bus Rodent is an awkward and posh Upper-Class Twit who seems clueless about anything related to sex, not even knowing what to do with a vibrator. Unsurprisingly, he turns out to be awful in bed.
    • Averted to the point of parody with the Hot Misogynist, an arrogant misogynist douche whom Fleabag is sure will turn out to be a Handsome Lech who's awful in bed. But then he turns out to be a Sex God who gives nine orgasms in a single night. This actually makes her dislike him more, due to the idea that such a Jerkass being good in bed feels wrong.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: The lead character, in spades. Or at least, that's the persona she tries to present to us.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Fleabag is tall, bawdy, and emotionally repressed, while Harry is shorter, more fond of romance, and prone to fits of tears and histrionic displays.
  • Meaningful Echo: As Dad and Fleabag prepare to meet mourners after Mum's funeral, he tells her "Buck up. Smile. Charm." Fleabag uses the same line back to him as she helps him out of the attic before his wedding to Godmother.
  • Medium Awareness: The main character gives asides to camera all the time. At least, until matters come to a head halfway through episode six. Then she stops talking to us and starts giving looks of resentment that we're watching her, and after the confrontation with Claire and Martin she is actively trying to escape our gaze. After that the fourth wall goes up and stays up for the rest of the episode.
    • In Season 2, she's still giving asides to camera. This is the first sign that she's backslid, somewhat, since the end of Season 1. Then, towards the end of episode three, this happens while she and the Priest are having a friendly conversation in the grounds of his church:
      Fleabag: [to camera] We'll last a week.
      The Priest: [to her] What was that?
      Fleabag: ...What?
      The Priest: Where did... Where did you just go?
      Fleabag: What?
      The Priest: You just went somewhere.
      Fleabag: [glances at the camera]
      The Priest: There! There. Where did you just go?
      Fleabag: ...Nowhere.
      The Priest: [raises eyebrows; letting it drop] Okay.
      [Fleabag looks at the camera again, seriously spooked]
  • Memento MacGuffin: Godmother's statuette appears as a recurring Plot Coupon throughout, but ends up as this following the final-episode revelation that it is based on Fleabag's mother.
  • Missing Mum: Their mother died of breast cancer a few years prior to the story.
    Fleabag: Mum died three years ago. She had a double mastectomy, but never really recovered.
  • Mood Whiplash: As a gleefully cynical Black Comedy, this should be expected.
    • The opening of the second series lets us know we’re back in Fleabag territory with several of these in short order: showing our protagonist looking into a mirror in a glamorous outfit and setting, then revealing that she’s nursing a massive nosebleed; then revealing the other woman slumped, also bleeding, next to her; then Fleabag’s attention snaps to the camera, her expression suddenly shifts from rueful preoccupation to smirking glee and she tells us "This is a love story."
    • What appears to be a Potty Emergency for Claire is actually a miscarriage.
  • Morality Pet: One of the main reasons the lead character is lost without Boo is that Boo fulfilled this role for her. This is largely the fault of the protagonist and Boo's boyfriend sleeping together.
  • Nice Guy: Klare. Claires Finnish work colleague. He is pleasant, enthusiastic, and supportive.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Fleabag accidentally instigated the death of her best friend and moral compass whilst Bank Manager destroyed his marriage over a drunken clinch. Neither have half a clue on how to make amends.
  • Nice to the Waiter: The waitress at the restaurant is very annoying but everyone at the table tries to remain polite towards her even after she's punched in the face.
  • No Fourth Wall: Fleabag frequently speaks directly to the audience via Aside Glance, creating a relationship between herself and the viewers and giving them a deeper insight to her dysfunction. Significantly, her love interest the priest is the only one to notice this.
  • No Name Given:
    • The protagonist is never named. Although the publicity calls her "Fleabag", even the nickname is never used in-universe and the credits simply say "Starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge" without referring to the character by any name at all.
    • Several other major characters; "Dad", "Godmother", "Bank Manager", "The Priest", and recurring love interests "Bus Rodent" and "Arsehole Guy".
    • Lampshaded in the final episode when Godmother is introducing her friends to Dad, struggles because she can't bring his name to mind, and ends up saying "well, I always call you 'Darling', don't I?".
  • Not Good with Rejection: Boo. She may have been the Only Sane Woman in Fleabag's life, but walking out into traffic as a deliberate act of Self-Harm in order to guilt-trip your unfaithful boyfriend into coming back to you? That's really not a good way of dealing with the situation.
  • Not What It Looks Like: After running to make her meeting with the bank manager, a hot and flustered Fleabag removes her top... only to reveal nothing but underwear underneath. Given the bank's recent brush with a sexual harassment lawsuit, she's immediately asked to leave.
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: What Claire's "job in Finland" entails is so vague that her family all incorrectly assume she's a lawyer, because she's employed by a law firm. When she corrects them, they won't have it, Dad insisting "You are a solicitor."
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The theme music for S2 is based on this.
  • Opposites Attract: In S2. Atheist recovering sex maniac, meet celibate priest.
  • Overly-Long Gag: We spend nearly a minute watching as a freeloading "customer" in the cafe takes various electronic devices and adaptors from his bag and plugs them into the wall.
  • Parents as People: Fleabag's dad genuinely tries to do good by her, but her general... Fleabag-ness means that he's struggling to connect with her more often than not.
  • Parent with New Paramour: There is a great deal of friction between Fleabag, her dad and her stepmother due to this.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: The "Women In Business Award" trophy, which Claire warns Fleabag not to touch as it's very expensive. As soon as Claire is out of the room, Fleabag takes it out of its box to look at it, and immediately drops it on the glass table. The table is undamaged, while the trophy shatters into hundreds of tiny pieces.
  • Posthumous Character: Boo is only seen in flashback.
  • Precision C Strike:
    • "She's not an evil stepmother. She's just a cunt."
    • The bank manager's reflexive "Slut!" probably counts as a Precision S Strike.
    • Godmother shrieks "What. A. CUNT!" after the Priest withdraws from officiating her wedding.
  • Race for Your Love: Discussed Trope in the S2 finale, ultimately leading to Claire doing this (offscreen) for Klare.
  • Rapid-Fire Descriptors: Fleabag uses this pattern sometimes when she talks to other people or when breaks the fourth wall and talks to us, the viewers.
    • Describing herself in a humorous self-deprecation combined with genuine self-loathing: "I have a horrible feeling that I'm a greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally bankrupt woman who can't even call herself a feminist." (To which her father replies that she gets all that from her mother.)
    • Fleabag's rapid-fire description of her successful, highly strung sister: "The only thing harder than having to tell your super-high-powered, perfect, anorexic, rich super-sister that you've run out of money is having to ask her to bail you out.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The cafe gets away with charging ridiculous amounts for sandwiches, and everyone just puts it down to London prices.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: Apparently, Harry broke off and came back to Fleabag numerous times. Fleabag has observed that when he takes his stuff away, he always leaves behind a dinosaur toy. When they break up again, he takes the dinosaur, signifying that for this time, it's final.
  • Rewatch Bonus: It takes a second viewing to pick up on all the ways the lead character is using her Fourth-Wall Observer status to lie to us and herself.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: We see nothing that would corroborate our narrator's belief that Martin watches extreme porn—she's probably just projecting her own faults onto him. And she does have selfish, financial reasons for wanting Claire to take the Finland job. But ultimately she's right about Martin stifling Claire's ambitions.
  • Saying Too Much: Boo seems to have been frequently guilty of this.
    • After trying out some clothes in a shop, Boo rails in disgust at Fleabag's horrible dress. Fleabag points out she's been wearing it all day.
    • When discussing what about themselves they'd change...
      Fleabag: Well you know I've always been insecure about my face...
      Boo: There's nothing wrong with your nose!
  • Sensitivity Training: The "Better Man" course in episode 4, where men learn how not to treat their female co-workers.
    Workshop Leader: Now, Patricia has just earned a promotion at work, beating over six other candidates. She's the youngest person to ever achieve this role. What should we not say when we meet her?
    Attendee 1: Clever little munchkin?
    Workshop Leader: Excellent.
    Attendee 2: Who'd you blow to get that job?
    Workshop Leader: OK.
    Attendee 3: Slut. You fucking stupid slut!
  • Serious Business: Claire calls Fleabag in tears, and tells her that something awful has happened and she needs to come. It turns out that she got a bad haircut. (Fleabag doesn't think that she's overreacting).
  • Sexual Karma: Arsehole Guy and Bus Rodent are both unpleasant people who also end up being lousy lovers. In contrast, when Fleabag and the Priest finally have sex, it's the first time sex is shown as intimate and emotionally charged on the show, lacking the usual comedy of the show's sex scenes. Plus Fleabag refuses to let the audience see it, showing she thinks it's special and refusing the normal voyeuristic element. This is Played With with the Hot Misogynist who is attractive and a Sex God, but that doesn't really make up for his obvious personality defects and Fleabag still dumps him for The Priest.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: The first shot of series 2 shows Fleabag wearing one of these, and a front shot shows the same jumpsuit also features a Navel-Deep Neckline. The effect is somewhat spoilt by the profusely bloody nose however.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The show's sex scenes are tastefully done but when Fleabag and The Priest have sex for the first time, Fleabag forces a discretion shot by reaching out and tilting the camera away. Not only does this show that there's something special about this relationship, it also indicates that Fleabag is at last learning to have some control over her fourth wall breaking.
  • Sexy Priest: Fleabag's main romantic interest in Season 2, played by Andrew Scott. Fans have even taken to unofficially calling him "Hot Priest".
    Claire: He is quite hot, though.
    Fleabag: Oh, very hot.
  • Shipper on Deck: Fleabag is intrigued by the idea of Claire and Klare and enables and encourages her sister to go after him.
  • Sir Swearsalot: Andrew Scott plays a very handsome and charming but particularly foul-mouthed priest.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse/Distracted by My Own Sexy: Arsehole Guy is referred to as either "good-looking", "very good-looking", "really good-looking" or "almost too good looking" by everyone and is unashamedly aware of the fact. He has a huge photo of himself hanging on his bedroom wall.
    Fleabag: When did you realise you were so good looking?
    Arsehole Guy: I knew I was different when I was about 9... but shit got real around 11. Aunts got... weird.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • When The BBC commissioned the series, one condition was that unlike the original stage play, the series couldn't kill off Hilary the guinea pig at the end (though there's a Bait-and-Switch moment for those who've seen the play and think they know what's going to happen). Waller-Bridge admits this was probably a good call.
    • The cafe itself. The play follows the last three days leading up to the cafe closing, and has a Framing Device of the newly unemployed Fleabag attending a job interview after this has happened. In the series, the job interview was replaced with the loan application interview (with largely the same dialogue), allowing the cafe to be rescued after all. Extended into Series 2, where the cafe has actually become quite successful.
  • Spurned into Suicide: Boo, though she was only trying to injure herself.
  • Stealth Insult: Almost everything that comes out of Godmother's mouth.
  • Stepford Smiler: Our narrator is gradually revealed as this.
  • Survivor Guilt: The main character and her father both have heavy doses of this. The former over Boo's accident-suicide, the latter over his wife's death from cancer.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The bank manager in the first episode makes repeated suspiciously specific denials about his history of sexual harrassment.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted in series 2, where Fleabag is given a voucher for therapy by her dad and attends a session after initially intending to ask for a cash exchange.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Evident in the long walk back from the disastrous art exhibition. A still of this was the main image used by Amazon to promote the show.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The guinea pig pictures that adorn the walls of the cafe are tragic keepsakes of Boo. As is the actual guinea pig.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: What happened to Boo is gradually revealed through a series of these.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Claire's creepy stepson Jake. Even his father Martin lampshades it.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Fleabag, Claire and the delicious aroma of some canapés.
  • Unreliable Narrator: What she doesn't tell us is as important as what she does.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: At first Fleabag seems like a perky, quirky and somewhat brazen young lady, but quickly surges into this trope. In her defence, many of her friends and family turn out to be worse, and with even less self-awareness about it.
  • Visual Pun: Stepmother excuses her real fur handbag saying it's OK because the animal had a stroke... whilst stroking it.
  • Vulgar Humor: Usually of the filth kind—the very first scene of the show is an anal sex joke.
  • Wham Episode: Things fall apart in a spectacularly rapid fashion in the final episode of series 1.
  • Wham Line:
    • Claire in the Season 1 finale, after Fleabag begs her to believe her about her husband trying to kiss her:
      Claire: After what you did to Boo?
    • Claire drops one in the Series 2 premiere:
      Claire: It's not a period, it's a fucking miscarriage, OK?
    • In Season 2, when the Priest first seems to briefly notice Fleabag breaking the fourth wall.
      Fleabag: (To the audience) We'll last a week.
      Priest: What was that? Where did you just go?
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Several of the men Fleabag dates act as if they're a protagonist in a more straight-forward romance, or a Rom Com, justifying their self-involved behaviour.