|Available at Amazon.com|
Here it is. Sixteen years in the making. The name says it all. This is absolutely everything you could ever want of Absolutely Fabulous. All five seasons, all three specials and every special feature you could possibly want.
Never has a show about disdain and hatred been so hilarious. The show revolves around three main characters. On one side you have Saffron “Saffy” Monsoon (Julia Sawalha), she’s the anchor of the show (if there is one). She’s levelheaded, practical, shy, and a bookworm. On the other side we have her mother, and the star of the show, Edina “Eddie” Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders, who also created and wrote every episode of the show), easily the worst mother in television history. Not only does she drink and smoke and encourage bad behavior in her daughter, but she also dabbles in every drug under the sun and is the most selfish, self-absorbed person ever. She only ever thinks of herself and if she isn’t in the spotlight she’ll do everything in her power to put herself there. Saffy and Eddie’s relationship is a completely role reversal with Saffy being the more mature one always telling her mother what she can’t do.
If Saffy is the good angel on Eddie’s left shoulder then Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), Eddie’s best and only friend, is easily the devil on her right. Patsy encourages all of Eddie’s bad habits and does way more drugs. She’s also slept with just about every man in England (including Keith Moon and apparently most of The Rolling Stones). She also does not eat. Period. In all of the 37 episodes she only eats food twice, and each time it’s a pretty big deal.
Most of the show revolves around Eddie, Patsy and Saffy yelling at each other, but some other colorful character rounds out the cast. Saffy isn’t alone in her struggle against her mother and Patsy. She has her grandmother “Gran” (June Whitfield) who grows more and more senile as the show progresses and her father, Justin (Christopher Malcolm) who divorced Eddie because he realized he’s gay. Justin is one of Eddie’s two ex-husbands. The other is Marshall (Christopher Ryan) who always shows up with his wonderfully outspoken girlfriend, Bo (Mo Gaffney). The other very memorable character is Bubble (Jane Horrocks) Eddie’s complete oblivious and insane assistant.
Absolutely Fabulous is a wonderful blend of British wit and slapstick humor. Eddie and Patsy are always falling all over the place. Jennifer Saunders made falling out of the car and falling down the stairs into an art form. Patsy even does a damn good job of falling into an open grave in one episode.
The show is very brutal at times. There really are no redeemable qualities in Eddie or Patsy. They are characters that you love to hate. There are not that many shows built around characters this despicable and some people just aren’t going to get the humor of it. The show is just going to make them uncomfortable. But for those who get the humor, every episode is a laugh a minute and that’s whom this collection was released for.
Disc 1: Season 1:
Fashion – 11/12/1992
Eddie is panicking about a celebrity fashion show she’s organizing to which she can’t get any worthwhile celebrities to commit.
Fast – 11/19/1992
Eddie needs to lose weight quick cause an old friend, Penny Casper-Morse, who used to tease her about her weight, is coming to visit. While she contemplates a regular diet and fitness routine, Patsy recommends and quicker plan: liposuction.
France – 11/26/1992
Eddie and Patsy’s trip to France isn’t as luxurious as they thought it would be as they get stuck in a ramshackled shack. Fearing they’ll starve, Eddie has Saffy brings them food from England. Bubble shows up too.
Iso Tank – 12/3/1992
Always wanting to be in on the latest fad Eddie buys an isolation tank. While inside she dreams of terrifying world where Bubble is efficient and Saffy has interesting friends.
Birthday – 12/10/1992
It’s Eddie’s 40th birthday so Saffy is throwing a nice little get together inviting both her ex-husbands as guests. Frustrated by the blandness of the party Eddie refuses to participate.
Magazine – 12/17/1992
Patsy decides to actually go into work, a fashion magazine where she is Executive Fashion Director. She organizes a fashion piece for a morning television show but when she loses all her models she sucks up to Saffy and Gran to get them to participate.
Disc 2: Season 2:
Hospital – 1/27/1994
Patsy winds up in the tabloids after an affair with a politician while Eddie stubs her toe and decides she needs surgery. Patsy joins Eddie in the hospital to get a facelift.
Death – 2/3/1994
When Eddie learns that her father has died it doesn’t really bother her, much to Saffy’s chagrin. That is until she realizes that she too, one day, will die.
Morocco – 2/10/1994
Patsy and Eddie go to Marrakech for a Fashion photo shoot. Saffy also goes for educational reasons. While there Patsy sells Saffy into slavery.
New Best Friend – 2/24/1994
Edina’s old, minimalist friends are coming to visit, which creates a rift between her at Patsy. However when they arrive their minimalist days are behind them as now they are parents. This proves to be disastrous for Eddie.
Poor – 3/3/1994
Eddie is devastated do learn that alimony payments have stopped from both her ex-husbands. Saffy forces here to sit down with her accountant to see how bad things are. Eddie is worried she will be poor and must make some sacrifices to her exuberant lifestyle.
Birth – 3/10/1994
Patsy falls asleep in Eddie’s kitchen with a lit cigarette in her moth accidentally burning it down. To get way from the problem they plan a night out which is fine with Saffy as she has a date coming over to watch a documentary. However all of their evenings are ruined when Gran locks them in together.
Disc 3: Season 3:
Door Handle – 3/30/1995
While repairing her burnt down kitchen Eddie is determined to find the perfect door handle to match her new décor so her and Patsy take a day trip to New York on the Concorde to find one.
Happy New Year – 4/6/1995
While Saffy plans a quite night in with Gran and her dad, Eddie and Patsy are planning a huge underground rave. Things change, however, when Patsy learns that her sister Jackie (Kate O’Mara) is coming to visit. Sadly the visit ends up distressing Patsy more that she thought it would.
Sex – 4/20/1995
Eddie wants to expand her room by knocking down a wall. She can either encroach on Saffy’s room or on the room of her estranged son Serge who’s been gone for years. While looking through Serge’s things an old porn mag is found. Leafing through it Eddie realize it’s been a long time since she has sex so Patsy suggests prostitutes.
Jealous – 4/27/1995
Eddie falls into deep depression when she doesn’t win the PR Person of the Year Award. Meanwhile when Saffy’s psychology lecturer starts paying too much attention to her, Eddie comes to her daughter’s aid for once.
Fear – 5/11/1995
With Saffy off to college, Patsy moves in with Eddie. However all is not well in their lives. Eddie is about to lose one of her biggest clients and Patsy loses her job when her magazine folds.
The End – 5/11/1995
Patsy moves to New York for a new job. Eddie moves to a commune to once again attempt to get in touch with her inner self. Once Eddie grows bored with the commune she goes to New York to track down Patsy who is also not having the best time.
Disc 4: Season 4:
Parallox – 8/31/2001
Patsy has an injection to freeze her wrinkles. Eddie has an appearance on a morning talk show and decides to use Patsy’s stuff to horrible results. Meanwhile, Saffy is looking for a new job and Gran discovers the delights of the Internet.
Fish Farm – 9/7/2001
After a Marilyn Manson concert, Eddie finds an attractive young man in her garden. When Patsy points out to her that the man, a gardener, is the brother of a well known aristocrat Eddie turns on the charm in a pathetic attempt to woo him.
Paris – 9/21/2001
Patsy heads to Paris for a fashion photo shoot to relive her glory days with Eddie and Saffy in tow. While Patsy struggles with young beautiful models and a photographer that doesn’t get her, Eddie and Saffy attempt to bond. They spend the day together and wind up at the Eiffel Tower where Eddie convinces her daughter to flash her breasts to the world.
Donkey – 9/28/2001
After a Sex In The City-style lunch with Patsy and two other “friends” who make fun of her weight, Eddie decides she really needs to diet and ends up on grueling militant fitness program. She also gives up booze and drugs, which upsets Patsy. In a great dream sequence Eddie is visited by God (Marianne Faithfull again) and the Devil (Anita Pallenberg). We also learn that Saffy has started writing a play.
Disc 5: Season 4 (continued):
Small Opening – 10/5/2001
Saffy’s play, Self Raising Flower, opens at a local theater. When Eddie and Patsy learn that is an autobiographical play they are horrified to see how Saffy has portrayed them. In a hilarious moment, Patsy is played by a man in the play.
Menopause – 10/12/2001
When Patsy breaks her wrist attempting massage Eddie’s back she learns, from Saffy, that she has osteoporosis. Saffy sets up a menopause meeting for her Eddie and Patsy which they are not very excited about attending.
Disc 6: The Specials:
Gay (aka Absolutely Fabulous In New York) – 12/27/2002
When Eddie learns that her estranged son, Serge, is gay and living in New York she accompanies Patsy there for Fashion Week. She is very excited to reconnect with her son and hopes to spend fashion week with him. However when she finally meets him he’s not nearly as flamboyant as she has hoped. In fact he’s more like Saffy. While in New York Eddie and Patsy are married by Goldie (Woopi Goldberg). Rufus Wainright also makes an appearance.
The Last Show (parts 1 & 2) – 11/6/1996 & 11/7/1996
While Saffy becomes engaged to her snooty new boyfriend, Paolo Carlo, Eddie and Patsy go off on a ski trip where Eddie has a near death experience and meets God (Marianne Faithfull). Paolo’s parents disapprove of Saffy until Patsy remembers Paolo’s mom from a porn film she starred in a long time ago. Oddly enough it is Eddie who realized that this is not a match made in heaven.
Disc 7: Season 5:
Cleanin’ – 10/17/2003
Eddie and Patsy are living it up while Saffy is off in Africa. However, Saffy returns home with startling news: she’s pregnant.
Book Clubbin’ – 10/24/2003
Saffy is trying to figure out how to tell her boyfriend from Africa that he is going to be a father. Meanwhile Eddie wants nothing to do with Saffy or her pregnancy. That is until she learns that the father is John Johnson, an African, and her grandchild is going to be mix raced.
Panickin’ – 10/31/2003
While Eddie has a panic room installed in her home Patsy gets the glorious job of helping dress Minnie Driver. While showing her some clothes in Eddie’s home Eddie and Patsy accidentally get locked in the panic room, leaving a very bitchy Minnie Driver alone with the very expensive clothes.
Huntin’ Shootin’ & Fishin’ – 11/7/2003
Eddie wins a weekend away in an auction so her and Patsy go away to enjoy themselves. Meanwhile Saffy has a baby shower in which the only two people to show up are her crazy friend Sarah (Naoko Mori) and Emma “Baby Spice” Bunton.
Disc 8: Season 5 (continued):
Birthin’ – 11/14/2003
Saffy is soon to give birth and all everyone’s around. Patsy is supposed to host a banquet but her extremely expensive dress gets doused when Saffy’s water breaks. Marshall and Bo arrive with plans to steal the baby and sell it to a Hollywood celebrity. Many others arrive and chaos ensues as Saffy prepares to give birth at home.
Schmoozin’ – 11/28/2003
Eddie hooks up with an old boy friend Pete (Robert Lindsay) who has discovered a lost Beatles Tape. They get along wonderfully and even decide to get engaged however Patsy ruins everything in a most horrible way.
Exploitin’ – 12/5/2003
After a rather horrible argument between John and Saffy, she breaks down and does the unthinkable. She asks her mom to watch her daughter so her and John can have some alone time. So Eddie and Patsy take the child to her first photo shoot at the zoo. Everything goes flawlessly, until they come from the zoo with the wrong baby!
Cold Turkey – 12/24/2003
Since she is now a Grandmother, Eddie spends her very first Christmas at home, much to Saffy and Patsy’s chagrin. Patsy wants to go out of town and Saffy wants to have a small Christmas while Eddie wants to go overboard. Everyone shows up and good, crazy times are had by all.
Disc 9: The Last Special:
White Box – 12/25/2004
In the very last episode of the show Eddie decides to redecorate the kitchen (again). She is stuck on what to do with it and Saffy demands she hurry up and finish. Resorting to desperate measures to find the perfect design Eddie attempts to look into her past lives. Frustrated by her lack of progress Saffy kicks Eddie and Patsy out of the house for good.
Seasons 1-3 and the first two specials are presented in a fullscreen format 4:3. Seasons 4-5 and White Box and presented in 16:9. The sound is in Dolby Digital Stereo. The episodes look and sound fine. Nothing to complain about here.
Discs 1-3, 6-8:
15 Minutes Of Rare Outtakes: Each of the first three season has roughly 15 minutes of outtakes that are all pretty funny. Not on disc 8.
Photo Gallery (not on disc 6-7)
Audio Commentary with Jennifer Saunders and producer Jon Plowman: Sadly, season 4 is the only one to have commentary. Jennifer Saunders is very funny and has lots of interesting things to add to the episodes.
Audio Commentary with Jennifer Saunders and producer Jon Plowman: More of the same for the rest of season 4. Again, it’s good stuff.
Before AbFab: (11 min.) These are two sketches from French & Saunders. They are funny but have no real relation to AbFab.
Mirror Ball: (30 min.) This is a single pilot episode that never panned out to a series. It stars all the actors from AbFab, but in completely different roles. They are all actor friends who are trying to get work. The greatest moment is Jane “Bubble” Horrocks singing Alabama Song in a bad German accent. All-in-all this is a pretty funny show.
Joanna Lumley Talks About Modeling: (2 min.) Frankly I’m not quite sure what this is from but it’s Joanna Lumley playing Joanna Lumley talking about modeling. It’s pretty funny.
15 Minutes Of Rare Outtakes: More of the good outtakes.
How To Be Absolutely Fabulous: (28 min.) Originally aired 1/6/1995 after season 2. Jennifer Saunders walks talks to us about the show and we see a few good clips from the show. A glorified clip show, this is pretty funny.
Absolutely Fabulous: A Life: (77 min.) Originally aired 1/2/2004 after season 5. Staged around a few minutes of new footage of Eddie visiting her mother at the thrift shop she works at. She’s filming a documentary of sorts about herself. Again this is a super glorified clip show. It’s got good clips, some of which are repeated from the previous clip show. It’s entertaining but kinda repetitive if you’ve just finished watching the entire series.
French & Saunders: Modern Mother And Daughter: (8 min.) The French & Saunders Sketch that inspired the show. Saunders plays the as of yet unnamed Eddie character while Dawn French plays the daughter role. This is a funny sketch and a wonderful addition to this DVD collection.
Well, what else can I say? It’s all here: every episode, every special, everything you could possibly want if you’re an AbFab fan. If you’ve never seen the show I’d recommend renting a season or two first, but if you love this show then this collection is for you.
BBC presents Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely Everything. Created by Jennifer Saunders. Starring Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha. Running time: 1154 minutes. Not Rated. Released on DVD: May 27, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.