Why ‘Fleabag’ Is Likely to Dominate the 2019 Emmys
Amazon Prime Video’s breakout comedy Fleabag, written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, continues to grow in popularity with each passing day. It has us wondering — is there a chance the dark horse could dominate the Emmys? It’s a definite possibility.
Nominated for 11 awards, the comedy’s second season has garnered critical success as well as praise from Waller-Bridge’s fellow talent in the industry. On paper, the show may not sound altogether special — as IMDb’s summary states, Fleabag is “about a young woman trying to cope with life in London whilst coming to terms with a recent tragedy” — but it’s a whole lot more than that.
Waller-Bridge has proven herself as a writer in Hollywood, not just with this show but also with the beloved Killing Eve, and she’s currently on the writing team behind the next James Bond film, Bond 25. So, with great writing and an equally talented cast — Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford, Olivia Colman, Fiona Shaw and Kristin Scott Thomas were all nominated for Emmys — Fleabag is like a dark horse quietly edging its way to the front of the pack.
Season 2’s arrival has increased the previously lesser-known series in a way that not all shows do, and it has elbowed its way alongside fan favorites Barry and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in this year’s categories. While the two shows previously mentioned have been awards darlings for a while now between the Golden Globes and last year’s Emmys, there’s a chance that Fleabag could surprise.
Considering the show hails from the same platform as Maisel makes it just as worthy for promotion by the company towards voters. Since Fleabag falls into the comedy category as well, it’s fair to say it has a better chance than those who are matched against Game of Thrones‘ 32 nominations in the drama categories.
Waller-Bridge’s show is perhaps less “polished” than Maisel with its foul-mouthed, blunt and less-cutesy protagonist, but that’s where Fleabag‘s charm lays. And maybe that charm will be felt by those who clearly showed the series love when voting for the nominations.
The series was also just honored with three major awards at this year’s TCA Awards for Individual Achievement in Comedy, Outstanding Achievement in Comedy and Program of the Year, all chosen by TV’s own critics. And the announcement of a book, Fleabag: Scriptures, which will include the filming scripts and new writing by Waller-Bridge, is a good sign of its growing popularity.
Waller-Bridge’s character, the cleverly unnamed Fleabag, captures the chaotic thoughts in quick fourth wall breaking quips that have become customary in the middle of her scenes. And just when viewers had thought the scribe to be witty, she added a deeper layer to this device by introducing the Priest (Andrew Scott) who constantly asked her what she was doing when she’d break that barrier — something none of the other characters had done previously.
Adapted from Waller-Bridge’s one-woman play, Fleabag stands out from the crowd of fellow Emmy nominees with a lesser-used storytelling method. Unlike mockumentary/documentary style programs like The Office, Modern Family or Parks and Recreation, Fleabag is one of the first shows in a long time to implement the breaking of the fourth wall in a way that hasn’t been notable since House of Cards in its prime.
It doesn’t hurt that among the show’s cast is this year’s Best Actress winner from the Academy Awards, Colman, who continues to be one to watch with her impending performance as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown‘s forthcoming third season. Mix in the continued growing buzz ahead of September’s Emmy ceremony and you have yourself a prime candidate for awards domination.
And who doesn’t love an underdog story? Because with only six half-hour episodes to represent its second season, the nominations almost mean a bit more than they would to a show with eight or ten hour-long installments. While Fleabag may have less to give in terms of content, it leaves viewers wanting more, and isn’t that the simplest sign of TV gold? We think so.
Fleabag, Streaming Now, Amazon Prime Video
2019 Emmy Awards, Sunday, September 22, 8/7c, Fox