Absolutely Fabulous: 20 Years Later

image via BBC

There was a time when Comedy Central was a channel that showcased great stand-up comedians and very funny, unique shows. It was way back around the same time that MTV had anything to do with music. All of that is in the past now, unfortunately. I miss the old days of Comedy Central. They were the network smart enough to bring us Absolutely Fabulous, a brilliantly written and executed British sitcom from the mind of Jennifer Saunders that follows two eccentric and aging best friends as they try to keep up with trends in fashion, drugs, and sophisticated nonsense.

Over the years the ladies behind the show have found perfectly-timed opportunities to bring the series back to production, and have remained on American television networks on and off for more than fifteen years. Originally airing in the UK in 1992, this year marks the twentieth year of its existence. To celebrate that milestone, Saunders and company have gotten together to create three new episodes, the last one to air during the 2012 London Summer Olympics. I’m now eagerly awaiting the second episode, which airs in the U.S. for the first time next weekend on February 12th. This coming weekend, BBC America will also be presenting a lengthy Fabulous Bowl Marathon (for all those who won’t be watching the Superbowl) that includes 25 episodes from past seasons.

The first of the three new episodes, Identity, aired here a few weeks ago on BBC America (it is also available on Logo) and I found it beyond satisfying. I always fear that when AbFab returns for more episodes that they’ll change something too much, thereby changing the essence of the show. This has never happened, though. Unlike many writers, Saunders has managed to carry the same tone throughout all her seasons of the show, no matter how many years have passed by. Even Edina’s hairstyle in Identity seemed to be a throwback to their original seasons. Her straight-laced daughter, Saffy, despite having been incarcerated for the past two years, settled right back into the bedroom that she grew up in. And Patsy was, well, the same – which is always a comfort.

The new episode had several hysterical moments, from ditzy Bubble recreating the ass-swish of Pippa Middleton, to Eddie and Pats catching Saffy up on the disease that is the Kardashians (“That looks like a boob, in fact it’s just another Kardashian”). My favorite scene, however, was when Eddie fell asleep watching a Danish suspense series, The Crime (aka The Killing), and dreams of a visit from the actress Sofie Gråbøl. She seems to be investigating something in Eddie’s bedroom and fails to understand the faux-Danish that Eddie has developed from watching the series.

Although we’re only going to get three episodes this time around, it’s more than we’ve gotten in recent years. As a greedy fan, I’d always like to have more to watch, but Saunders has figured out a way to give just enough to always keep us wanting more.


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