There’s a Theory ‘Fleabag’ and ‘Ferris Bueller’ Are The Same Story; Here Are The Similarities

Fleabag is an Amazon series that had a raucous first season and a surprise second season. Both went on to gain critical acclaim and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s show won three Primetime Emmys. One for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, another for Outstanding Comedy Series, and to Waller-Bridge herself for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

To put it simply: it was a hit. Fans also have their own theory about the show that combines it with a John Hughes’ classic. 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in scene during Season 2 of 'Fleabag.'
Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Season 2 of ‘Fleabag’ | Steve-Schofield/Amazon

‘Fleabag’ started as a one-woman show written and acted by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

The show started on BBC Three and was a TV version of Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show of the same name. She wrote, created it, and starred in it in many iterations. 

While it might be a bit difficult to wrap your head around how it could be a one-woman show, it actually works really well. The inner-monologue that viewers get with Fleabag is a hilarious and excellent use of breaking the fourth wall. But Waller-Bridge explained to The Guardian that the character is broken and uses this device as a way to distract herself, and the audience, away from her pain. Because she might not be able to survive acknowledging it. This makes the last moments of Season 2 so much more meaningful.

The wild ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day off’/’Fleabag’ theory intrigued Waller-Bridge

Recently, Vanity Fair sat in on a talk Waller-Bridge did with writer Taffy Brodesser-Akneras. They touched on the end of the show and Brodesser-Akneras exposed the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off theory with her. Basically, the theory suggests that the show is a “soft, stealth gender sequel to Ferris Bueller,” the writer said.

Of course, it’s less of a theory and more of a comparison. Ferris Bueller, famously played by Matthew Broderick, breaks the fourth wall just like Fleabag and they have the same initials. Vanity Fair also pointed out that “Fleabag says ‘nine times’ in the penultimate season two episode in a similar way to how the principal says it in the film.”

Waller-Bridges apparently hadn’t heard of the similarities or theory, but said, “Wow. I should watch that movie again.”

Of course, despite the similarities, this couldn’t be a “sequel” to Ferris Bueller even outside of the gender-swapping.

Waller-Bridge literally can’t play Fleabag anymore because she “left”

As mentioned above, Season 2 wasn’t a set thing from the start. The play it was based on, of course, didn’t have more than that first season’s content. But Waller-Bridge added more, and it paid off during awards season. But don’t expect that in regards to Season 3

“I really, honestly don’t know where she is,” Waller-Bridge said about her character, Fleabag. The audience at the panel didn’t like that answer, according to Vanity Fair, so she followed up with a quick band-aid answer. “She lives by the sea! Priest rides in on a donkey, [and she’s like] Oh, you came back for me!”

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But she wasn’t joking; the character of Fleabag is left the building entirely. “I started getting sort of panicky because I could feel the character leaving me,” she said about one of her last times playing Fleabag. “And I remember feeling like, No, no, we have one more show!”

”I felt her go,” she concluded. “It was such a lovely feeling…I don’t actually know where she is now and I think that’s the right thing for both of us.”

Even though the clever and hilarious series Fleabag is truly no more, it might free up time for Waller-Bridge to create more roles for herself.