Beholding The Ascent of Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Rachel Syme at Bookforum:

The title of Fleabag: The Scriptures (Ballantine Books, $28) is a cheeky play on words: It refers to the shooting scripts for the television comedy Fleabag, which are reproduced here in full, and it also refers to the fact that the second (and, if creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge is to be believed, final) season of the show, which debuted on Amazon Prime in May 2019, is about the main character’s romantic attachment to an unattainable Catholic priest. But it also acknowledges that Waller-Bridge’s words—printed out on creamy paper stock, bound inside a smooth navy-blue cover, and embossed with gold serif letters like a Gideon Bible—have become a new kind of religious text, albeit one that preaches primarily to secular women living in major metropolitan areas. And there is some truth to this visual provocation: If anyone had a truly blessed year, it was Phoebe Waller-Bridge. A picture of her lounging at the Chateau Marmont after she swept the Emmy Awards in September, with a vodka gimlet in one manicured hand and a cigarette in the other, went viral overnight. Women set it as their phone lock screens and desktop backgrounds; they meditated on it like a rosary. It’s so victorious, so insouciant. Here was a woman not ground to a pulp by anger at the news cycle, but wringing the juice out of life. She appears to be luxuriating, a hard-earned repose after several years of grinding out scripts. And on the seventh day, Phoebe Waller-Bridge rested.

more here.