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This is why the lead character in Fleabag doesn't have a name

Cosmopolitan (UK) logo Cosmopolitan (UK) 14/3/2019 The Editors
Phoebe Waller-Bridge standing in front of a fence: Phoebe Waller-Bridge explains why the lead character in Fleabag doesn't have a name, and it makes sense. © BBC Phoebe Waller-Bridge explains why the lead character in Fleabag doesn't have a name, and it makes sense.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag is ~finally~ back for a second series, and fans are delighted. Not least because it means our favourite dysfunctional-yet-hilarious main character is on-screen again, but also because it's another reason to shun real life social situations in favour of brilliant television.

One thing viewers can't quite figure out, though, is whether she has a name - or if she's simply known as 'Fleabag'.

"In #Fleabag is the name Fleabag ever mentioned ? Or is Phoebe Waller-Bridge's character nameless?", one person asked on Twitter, while another added, "It’s so frustrating to try and talk about Fleabag without knowing her name."

© getty

A third commented, "Does Fleabag have a name in Fleabag?"

In the series, Phoebe's character is only referred to as 'she', 'her' or 'you', and never by a real name. Something Phoebe Waller-Bridge - who created and plays the character - explained to Decider was on purpose, in order to hammer home what a fleabag she is.

"I wanted something that would create an immediate subtext for the character," she commented, confirming she was effectively nameless . "So, calling her 'Fleabag,' calling the show Fleabag, gives the subtext of 'Fleabaggy-ness."

a group of people sitting at a train station: This is why the lead character in Fleabag doesn't have a name © BBC This is why the lead character in Fleabag doesn't have a name

The Cambridge Dictionary definition of 'fleabag' is "a dirty and/or unpleasant person or animal", so it seems Phoebe was keen to inflate that side of her character's personality.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Waller-Bridge also explained why she didn't make her character's name known, because it gave her more depth. "I liked the idea of withholding some of that mystery," she commented.

As Bustle note, Fleabag was originally a one-person play performed by Phoebe at Edinburgh Frince Festival in 2013, which might also explain the lack of name for the main character - as it's unlikely she would have introduced herself as something specific onstage.

a person sitting on a bed: This is why the lead character in Fleabag doesn't have a name © BBC This is why the lead character in Fleabag doesn't have a name

Interesting, huh?

Related: 16 female characters who changed our TV screens [Harpers Bazaar UK]


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