For all those who liked Fleabag, and haven’t yet become raging fanatics of Phoebe Waller-Bridge – this one will do it! This British comedy series will leave you laughing out loud, quite literally.
With one season, and spanning across six short, but power-packed episodes, this series is your perfect go-to binge-watch. Crashing is a British ‘coming of age’ comedy-drama, once again created by the incredibly talented, our favorite, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also features as the lead. We follow the lives of six wacky adults (who are not so much adults as they are pre-pubescent children in the bodies of adults) living as property guardians of a dingy, under-developed hospital in exchange for cheap rent. Amidst the madness, the show explores the varying relationship dynamics among these seven tenants. If you fancy light-hearted sitcoms about a group of friends navigating life and making disastrous decisions along the way – I’m pretty sure this one will catch you off-guard with its unpredictability.
I must warn you, however, that if you’re not a fan of jokes with glaring sexual innuendos and unforeseen changes in thematic tones, this may not be your type. Much like Fleabag, it can go from hysterical to grim and existential before you know it. From the way I see it, that is what bears the beauty of the show.
Storyline & Characters
Lulu (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), the charming goof-ball, decides to visit London to surprise her long-lost childhood best friend (and crush, of sorts) Anthony (Damien Molony) on his birthday. This jocular ‘boy next door’, perhaps the only seemingly ‘normal’ one out of the lot, is a chef at a local restaurant that almost culturally fetishizes eating with the hand. I mean, it’s called ‘We Don’t Give A Fork’. He lives with his strikingly contrasting fiancée, Kate (Louise Ford). She’s a stickler for rules, uptight, and what others may refer to as ‘anal’. This may also be the cause of Kate’s endless struggle to prove that she can also be wild and adventurous.
When Lulu arrives, the glaring romantic tension between her and Anthony comes through almost instantly – and a classic love triangle ensues. Much to Kate’s dismay, Lulu incidentally gets a job as a receptionist at her office, and eventually joins the rest – making home at the run-down hospital.
Melody (Julie Dray) is a nihilist French artist. A volatile, but confident woman, who is certain she’s found a muse in Kate’s recently divorced co-worker Colin (Adrian Scarborough). In Colin’s prominent post-divorce apathy and discontentment with life, Melody finds an odd sense of comfort.
Sam (Anthony Bailey) is supremely confident, borderline obnoxious, and a possible ‘sexaholic’ who lives in complete denial of his fondness for his gauche roommate, Fred (Amit Shah). A fondness that is disguised under the garb of hyper-toxic masculinity and internalized homophobia. All this, until he sees Fred completely smitten by his Australian boyfriend, who also happens to be a narcissistic freak.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge: The Bright Spark
Underneath all the humor and surreptitious love triangles, the series also revels in its parallel themes of feminism and self-acceptance. Unsurprisingly, Phoebe Waller-Bridge once again shines brighter than ever as the writer, and even more as Lulu.
Having been the creator/writer of both, Crashing and Fleabag, it’s hard not to notice the parallelism between the two storylines, and the characters. Lulu is childishly exuberant and free-spirited but somehow manages to be disastrously embarrassing in social situations that are hard to navigate. I mean, there was some real second-hand embarrassment in the episode of the awkward ‘curry night’ when Lulu finds herself writhing on the floor in a pool of spilled curry, all in a glorious drunken stupor. But despite that, she succeeds at being confident, and self-content. Much like fleabag, she ends up hurting the ones around her in the process of maneuvering murky waters. Take even Kate, and Fleabag’s sister, Claire! The similarity in their personalities is almost uncanny.
Crashing never earned mainstream success as Fleabag did – but the abrupt, incomplete ending of the season will leave you pining for more, especially because it leaves no room for potential character development or storyline curves. What happens with Sam and Fred? Do Kate and Anthony break up? We don’t know. Unfortunately, Bridge already confirmed that the series was meant to be a stand-alone one. So, I guess we’ll just have to satisfy our desires with this one.