‘Flack’ is yet another tale of an American working aboard, with an unsatisfyingly edgy twist

Jocelyn Arroyo-Ariza , Staff Writer

“Flack” is a British comedy-drama that follows Robyn, an American publicist played by Anna Paquin, working at a London based firm. Due to pay cuts and scheduling conflicts, it was unclear if the show would continue beyond the first season back in 2019. However, arrangements were made and “Flack” season two eventually premiered in the UK in April and became available for streaming this January. 


The newly acquired Amazon series follows Robyn’s ongoing struggle to balance her exuberant clients and her personal life. Both seasons emphasize her efforts to navigate the cynicism of London and how she often succumbs to the pressure of it. The problem is that we all have seen this show better executed before. 


“Flack” falls into the recent television trope of being overly dark and edgy. Though British comedy is notoriously dry and features less slapstick humor than American comedies, the show feels muddled. “Flack” attempts to appear more realistic, but it confuses realism with darkness and does nothing with said darkness. 


The series has what most viewers come to expect from a show of this caliber: the characters are clichés of the modern workplace. The protagonist is a hard-working leading lady with a tragic background hiding her inner demons, but she fails at devoting her time to her actual job. However, she is good at her profession, which implies the questionable message of trauma being necessary to be good at one’s job. Robyn has her family, friends, love life, and a job that demands too much. However, Robyn’s backstory does not engage the viewer enough to make them care about her situation or her problems. 


The supporting cast does not fare better with side characters receiving limited development across the two seasons. Most of the background characters act like jerks for no reason other than to justify how the real-world works. Robyn’s clients are self-absorbed celebrities, and they leave no emotional impact other than the trouble they have caused. The show’s limited runtime also impairs character development with plot threads feeling half-baked as they repeat already existing formulas. Although the show itself is not long with a total of 12 episodes, the story beats are repetitive. If you enjoy seeing crazy celebrity antics and figuring out how they can get away with them, “Flack” might be an enjoyable show for those looking for something new.  


The promotional poster for “Flack” attempts to convey that the show is grounded in reality and showcases the duality of the modern working woman with contrasting makeup and lighting. However, it also highlights the largest fault with “Flack”: the fact that it tries to appear more nuanced than it is. The show has all the parts of an engaging program but lacks the creativity to try something different or work with what it has to offer. It seeks to pull the audience in with a fish out of water narrative. However, the concept is not utilized properly, and its attempts to distinguish itself make “Flack” feel more like a parody.