Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley star as Edina and Patsy, terminal fashion victims and loathsome relics from the sixties. Edina is a psychopathically narcissistic motormouth (conveniently, writer Saunders gives herself the lion’s share of lines), and Patsy is a vaguely sinister man-eater. She spends most of the time lurking about on the edges while Edina makes life miserable for her long-suffering daughter. The sum total of the series’ humour is graspable within five minutes, but that did…‘t get in the way of its popularity going through the roof.
The surround is pretty impressive for a sitcom, though it is primarily manifested by a wraparound laugh track. The dialogue comes through clearly, though it does sound a bit thin, and there tends to be static around the “s” sounds.
The picture is sharp and clear — you’ll get a much better sense of the state of Patsy’s teeth than you might really want. The colours are strong, and the flesh tones at times disturbingly true-to-life. First-class work on TV source material.
The first three discs are the show itself, with one complete series of six episodes on each. You also get outtakes, photo galleries and trailers on these discs. Disc 4 has a series of documentary features, of varying utility. “How to be Absolutely Fabulous” is sort-of a behind-the-scenes feature, with Jennifer Saunders taking us into the BBC studios and running into problems. This is interspersed with quick comments from the cast and crew, and many, many clips from the series. “Ab Fab Moments” is essentially more clips. “Modern Mother and Daughter” is the sketch from French & Saunders that gave birth to Ab Fab. “Leet’s Get Celebritied Up” is a collection of celebrity cameos from the series. “Who’s Who in Ab Fab” gives you lightning-quick voice-over bios of the cast and crew. These are so brief as to be almost worthless. (Joanna Lumley’s, for instance, makes no mention of her roles in Hammer films.) “It’s a Fabulous World” takes you on a commented mini-tour of the various international locations Patsy and Edina have pillaged. And there are trailers again. The menu on the series discs is animated and scored on the main page, but basic on the secondary pages.
Frankly, I can’t put up with these two. But if they’re your cup of tea, here’s plenty of them. Most of the extras are more silly than useful, however.
Special Features List
- “How to Be Absolutely Fabulous” — Behind the Scenes
- “Ab Fab Moments”
- “Modern Mother and Daughter”
- Photo Galleries