August 8, 2022

She’s charismatic, self-destructive, and increasingly tiresome: from Fleabag through to Everything I Know About Love, chaotic female leads now seem to be the default, one-note expression of womanhood. It’s time to move on

There’s a scene in the opening episode of Everything I Know About Love – Dolly Alderton’s adaptation of her smash-hit 2018 memoir – in which 24-year-old protagonist Maggie is all dressed up with nowhere to go. Her flatmates are all out. Her current squeeze, a Blake Fielder-Civil lookalike she met on a train, isn’t picking up the phone – and when he eventually does, he rebuffs her. Maggie is insulted, bored and increasingly desperate. She lies on the living room floor. She has a solo pint or three in the local old-man pub. The sheer desolation of being alone on a Friday night in your mid-20s is perfectly evoked and intensely relatable.

But Maggie (Emma Appleton) is not a bog-standard Billy no-mates. She is Messy Millennial Woman. MMW doesn’t slope home and call it a night. Instead, she bursts in on her housemate Birdy, who is in bed with her date, and pathetically suggests that the three of them hang out. When that offer is politely rejected, she literally sprints across London into the arms of the very man who had snubbed her hours before. The implications are clear: Maggie, who is loosely based on the now 33-year-old Alderton (Everything I know About Love is set in 2012, putting its protagonist firmly in generation Y), is self-destructive, irresponsible and determined to live life to the full – while drowning out any negative feelings by beckoning further emotional chaos into her life.

Continue reading…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.