I realize it’s sort of after the fact to be writing about Ab Fab’s return, but since I’ve just posted a paean to my own tardiness, I think I get a pass. I’m assuming we all sat ourselves down to revel in Absolutely Fabulous Sunday night, did we not? Certainly I did, even going so far as to avoid the leaked versions floating around the interweb earlier because it seemed more fitting to watch it on BBC with their amusing, slightly prissy commercials.
I had wondered how the girls might hold up after all this time; the answer, of course, was brilliantly. The episode might not have been as solid as some of the earlier ones, the misbehaviour not as honed, but it was still more insanely hilarious and irreverent than any thing else available on television.
An early stroke of genius: the prison gates swinging open to reveal not Pats as you expect, but Saffy. It takes familiarity with the show to understand why the vision of Saffy (Saffy!) in jail is funny, but if you have it, then the reward is a big laugh.
You have to respect the writers for not being lazy and leaning on that built-in knowledge that most of the audience brings with it. When Saffy demands to be brought up to date with what’s been happening while she was in the big house, a lesser show would have used the opportunity to role out a big block of exposition to bring us all up to speed with the characters’ back stories, but not Ab Fab. Instead, we get jokes about how big Fergie’s ass was at the royal wedding. And good jokes delivered as only Bubbles can.
Still, that familiarity was there, even without being written into the show. When Pats first entered, the audience spontaneously applauded. Hell, I applauded. There was just such a sense of pleasure at having them back.
Here’s what I came to realize during Sunday night’s show: Patsy is my favorite. Eddy gets the best lines. Bubbles is the funniest, Saffy the most cutting and Mother the most sly, but Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone is my favorite. I think it’s her absolute refusal to let go of the 1980’s. Right on sister.