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What’s Worth Watching: ‘Flack’ is ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ meets ‘Veep’

Jan. 28, 2021 Updated Thu., Jan. 28, 2021 at 12:50 p.m.

Anna Paquin plays Robyn, a high-powered celebrity publicist, alongside Sophie Okonedo as Caroline in “Flack.”  (Des Willie/Pop TV)
Anna Paquin plays Robyn, a high-powered celebrity publicist, alongside Sophie Okonedo as Caroline in “Flack.” (Des Willie/Pop TV)

Although it originally aired on Pop TV in 2019, following its recent acquisition by Amazon Prime Video, “Flack” is experiencing a second wind.

The dramedy follows publicist (aka celebrity problem fixer) and American transplant Robyn (Anna Paquin) as she confidently struts through her “Devil Wears Prada” meets “Veep” 24/7 work life in the London office of Mills Paulson PR.

Robyn is “the best,” we learn, so the biggest, trickiest cases tend to fall into her lap. In dealing with a client-related scandal, a family tragedy or just struggling to feel something again, she is always on call.

Tasked with saving celebrity chef Anthony Henderson’s (Max Beesley) bacon with the media, Robyn has her work cut out for her as her new assistant, Melody (Rebecca Benson), struggles to settle in.

Always a winner for me, the show is very British. So, if you like “Love Island” more than “Bachelor in Paradise,” get ready to pick up on lots of little references.

Mills Paulson PR “covers everything from media training to brand management, career strategy – specializing in crisis management,” Melody explains.

But, of course, Robyn adds, “we don’t use the word crisis, we call them challenges.”

Robyn’s approach to onboarding Melody is one of the best things about the show. She asks a lot from the unpaid intern but – unlike some other characters – she doesn’t crucify her for making mistakes. Refreshingly, she lets them become learning experiences.

“It’s fine, but in future, just assume that we’re lying to everyone,” Robyn explains in the first episode after Melody fumbles a particularly tricky client problem.

A strange combination of totally relatable and absurdly unrealistic, the show’s viciously biting scripts scream the overwhelming jadedness of 2020 in a way that makes you forget it came out a year earlier.

“If this is going to be a question about existential angst, I’m going to have to stop you there,” says Caroline (Sophie Okonedo), Robyn’s boss. “The world keeps turning, Robyn. We just help push.”

Remembering the kind of shows I was watching in 2019 – “Peaky Blinders,” “Frasier,” “The Great British Bake Off” – I don’t think I would’ve liked this show at the time. But in 2021? I’m here for it.

Some guest actors leave a little to be desired, but you can tell how well the show’s core characters are cast as certain lines that would be cringeworthy in any other show somehow seem to work.

They even manage to deliver exposition in a way that isn’t obnoxious.

“Flack” is not kid-friendly. It’s a story about clever, sad people lying to each other in beautifully decorated rooms. Speaking of which, I think it’s finally time for me to watch “Fleabag.”

“Flack” is available on Amazon Prime Video.

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