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A knowing smile and breaking the fourth wall: People are obsessed with Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

There’s a moment in the first episode of the second season of Fleabag that I can’t stop thinking about.

In the scene, Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is smoking a cigarette out the back of a restaurant. She’s taking a momentary break from a tense dinner with her dad, her sister, her godmother-turned-mother-in-law, and a random priest.

Said random priest comes outside and asks Fleabag for a cigarette.

She hands him one and turns to walk away.

There’s only one thing wrong with Fleabag. Post continues after podcast. 

He says, “Well, f*ck you then”.

Fleabag looks at the camera with a knowing smile.

The scene perfectly encapsulates the brilliance that is Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Waller-Bridge is the kind of person who would fit in with your group of friends, but would also stand out in a crowd.

She’s tall and preppy, but at the same time a little edgy and awkward.

From an upper middle class family with baronets on both sides, she gives off an air of someone who has grown up around money, but who finds the whole class thing a little bit funny.

According to The Guardian, Waller-Bridge struggled to find work throughout her 20s, so she started to write her own stuff.

The 34-year-old is the mastermind behind the TV shows everyone is talking about at the moment. In a world crowded by streaming services and bingeable series’, Waller-Bridge is creating TV that makes you stop and take notice.

She’s creating the kind of TV shows we didn’t even know we needed in our lives until they were handed to us on a guinea pig-themed platter.

phoebe waller bridge
Waller-Bridge in Crashing. Image: BBC.
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After winning the Fringe First award at Edinburgh in 2013, Waller-Bridge landed a small role in the second season of Broadchurch. The role was miniscule but it was a catalyst for bigger things to come.

You may have first come across Waller-Bridge as a cast member on Crashing, a kooky sitcom about a bunch of twenty-somethings who live together as property guardians in a disused hospital. In exchange for keeping the building safe, the six, erm, hospital-mates are given cheap rent and free reign over the building.

What you may not have realised is that Waller-Bridge was the writer and creator of the six-part series.

After Crashing, Waller-Bridge went on to create and star in Fleabag, a British comedy-drama about a 30-something woman who is trying to balance navigating modern dating, grieving for her best friend, dealing with her eccentric family, and running a fledgling cafe (which happens to be guinea pig-themed).

The first season introduces the viewer to the world of Fleabag. To her uptight sister and douche-y brother-in-law. To her emotionally distant father and overbearing almost cruel soon-to-be mother-in-law. To the string of men she lets into her life only to be left disappointed. And to her late-friend, Boo, whose violent and sudden death haunts Fleabag throughout the season.

Through her narration and glances at the camera, the audience becomes slowly engrossed in Fleabag's world. She doesn't seem like a fictional character, but more like your well-meaning friend who can never seem to get her shit together.

phoebe waller bridge
The hot priest in question. Image: Amazon Prime.
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The first season is good. It'll make you laugh and then give you a little kick in the guts at the end.

But the second season is something else.

Season two of Fleabag picks up several months down the track from where season one left off. Fleabag's life looks a little different. Her guinea pig-themed cafe is somehow turning a profit. Her sister still hates her. Her father and her godmother are getting married.

Then there's the Catholic priest. The very attractive Catholic priest. The Catholic priest that Fleabag is not allowed to have sex with no matter how much she wants to.

Just like the fleeting encounter between Fleabag and the priest, the second season of the series will leave you wanting more, even though that's all you're going to get. No matter how much you beg.

You see, Waller-Bridge is busy.

She's also the creative mind behind Killing Eve, the BAFTA award-winning series which follows Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) a British intelligence officer who is tasked with capturing a psychopathic, international assassin named Villanelle (Jodie Comer).

When the first season of Killing Eve dropped last year, it dominated water cooler chat.

Killing Eve was unlike any TV thriller we had seen before. Both villain and hero were female. The lines between enemy and lover came close to being blurred. By the end of the first season we had no idea who we were actually rooting for. And we bloody loved it.

Despite being behind three of the most watched shows on TV, Waller-Bridge remains largely an enigma.

She doesn't have an Instagram account. On Twitter she tweets exclusively about her shows. She never makes headlines.

She's not dating high profile leading men, or getting in feuds with other female celebrities.

The only thing Waller-Bridge seems genuinely interested in is making good TV. And thank God (and hot Catholic priests) for that.

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