Absolutely Fabulous!

Jan 10


Be afraid, be very afraid.

Those women from Absolutely Fabulous are back, and if they can’t corrupt you, you’re incorruptible.
No one is incorruptible.

Least of all Eddy and “Pats,” AKA Patsy Stone, full name: Eurydice Collette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone.

Her mother, besides being a bit of a literary poseur, was a free spirit who, immediately after giving birth to Pats in a parlor filled with like-minded souls and the aroma of opium, demanded that they take “this thing” away — and bring her another luhvah.

That little scene from an earlier episode may explain why Patsy is so selfish and amoral (ya think?) but not why she’s hysterically funny.

AbFabNYCould it be her outfits? Actually, they’re quite stylish, and Joanna Lumley has the former Bond Girl figure to carry them off. Edina is the one who Goes Too Far with sausage-tight tanks and argyle tops with plaid Capri’s. But Patsy’s big blond hair, which has a life of its own, begs the question: “What does she keep up there?”

That’s easy: drugs, of course. From Bond Girl to Bong Girl? You be the judge. Personally, I think that Sarah Palin’s hairdresser is a secret fan of Ab Fab fan, although I doubt that the Queen of Alaska keeps pot in her pouf. A small firearm, maybe. But that’s another story.

In the new episode of Absolutely Fabulous on BBC America, Patsy gets out of a tough situation (temporarily) by pulling a stash of those funny cigarettes off the top of her head, literally.

Meanwhile, Eddy must figure out how to get rid of the problem: a very large and nasty ex-con named Baron who is demanding 50 Buckets/Gorillas/Rios/Bags of Sand (that’s 50,000 pounds in English) that Pats owes her for drugs. Big Bad Baron came to Chez Eddy, a delightful townhouse in London bought from the proceeds of two ex husbands who each thought the other was paying for the house, because the still naïve Saffie had befriended Baron while in prison. Don’t ask.

Fashion Victim Meets Christian Missionary

Oh, ask. Saffie is the grownup of the trio, the polar opposite of her ex-hippie, self-indulgent, Fashion Victim (with the t-shirt to prove it) mother, who once told her that she dressed like a Christian missionary, and is often called Sweetie Darling because Eddie can’t remember her name. Saffie, always the defender of the downtrodden, was sent up for unwittingly supplying forged passports to poor souls in danger of being deported.


We pick up the story as Saffie is released from prison and goes home to be feted with champagne by the aptly named Bubble, who gives new meaning to the word “absurdist,” acting out a very silly recap of the Royal Wedding from the Archbishop of Candleford (“bore, bore, bore”) to Pippa (“no knickers, Rear of the Year”). Saffie then gets the latest news: “There’s a new disease out there called the Kardashians,” and is visited by her former prison mate, who starts calling her “my little wifey.” Uh oh. Even Sweetie Darling is better than that.

To get the money to pay off her debt, Patsy is dragged, literally, by Eddie into a government office where she has to give her name, which is hard enough, and her (gasp!) age, which is . . . .

Age Is Only A Number

Thirty nine? Well, not according to the computer, although the “easy peasy” loosey goosey clerk mercifully doesn’t reveal it. Anyway, Patsy has never applied for her state pension, and in the way of situation comedies the world over, the accrued amount — going back many years — turns out to be “millions.” She pays off Baron and stashes the rest of the dough in the toaster, where even Eddie has the sense to rescue it.

And so it goes, to not exactly coin a phrase.

SaffieThe thing about these women is that they have absolutely no socially redeeming values. They shop. And drink. And smoke. And take drugs. And shop. And drink. And smoke. And do drugs. Pats has lots of sex, often with young men with motorcycles or the husbands of friends staying at the townhouse. Eddy doesn’t seem to score very much, although she must have had a pretty colorful “love” life at one time. Witness the disapproving daughter named Saffron, rebelling in her own way, and ex-husband Number 1, Saffie’s father, who’s gay.

Menopause Meets Fat Cells

Although younger than Patsy, Edina Monsoon (played by Jennifer Saunders who also writes this inspired lunacy), frets about her age too: “I grieve for menopause,” she says poignantly. And her weight: “Every fat cell I’ve ever lost or gained has come back for the fat cell reunion of the year.” She blames this for having never visited her daughter, what’s her name, in prison, hindered as she was by this “huge returned truncal obesity.”

I love this show.

But it is an acquired taste. I was given a tape of six episodes to watch one weekend long ago, and remember going from What the #@!?!  during the first episode, to mild giggles during the next few, to LOL by the last one. I was hooked, always craving more: it was my favorite TV jones.

Saks_Ad001Well, it looks like there will be more Ab Fab for us fans. Besides this ad from the Sunday New York Times (OMG: Is Patsy now a fashion icon?), a new series for 2013 is being planned as we speak. And maybe even a movie — on the Riviera. Meanwhile, you can catch the special, “Identity” (as in does Pats have one?) and other reruns on BBC America.

But proceed with caution. Like Lord Byron, Patsy and Edina are “Mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

You’ve been warned.

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