When I was eleven years old I remember watching a tv show that was glamorous, offensive and incredibly humorous. A show where on-screen cigarette smoking and pill-popping was perhaps a foreshadow to my latter teenage years. It was a show that introduced me to world of high-paced passion and how to correctly make a ‘Stolly-Bolly.’
That TV show was Absolutely fabulous and trust me when I say it was absolutely bloody fabulous!
For those who are unfamiliar with the synopsis (for real, what have you been doing with your life?!) the show is based around two middle-aged women working in the fashion and entertainment industry. Hedonistic PR executive Edwina Monsoon (played by Jennifer Saunders) and her chain-smoking-pill-popping sidekick Patsy Stone (played by Joanna Lumley) Despite their supposed highly powered jobs neither of the two actually ever seem to do any work and instead live in their own world of guzzling endless bottles of champagne, donning designer clothes and creating a range of lexicon that is now used by gals and gays nationwide. “It’s Lacroix sweetie!”
The satirical TV show debuted in 1992, where the feminist riot grrrl movement was well underway.
Madonna had just released Sex, a coffee table book that showed sexually explicit photographs of the singer herself and a month before Ab Fab aired, Sinéad O’Connor ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II to protest against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church during her performance on Saturday Night Live. It was a year of the woman and Absolutely Fabulous couldn’t have come at a better time.
The show was unapologetically fierce.
Both Eddie and Patsy were champagne swilling, coke snorting advocates of vanity and materialism. With their faux-ethical bandwagons and minute-long obsessions you witnessed them go from one disaster to another. However, if you strip away the designer labels, the Marlboro lights and bottles of champagne you’ll find a female friendship at its truest form. Both Eddie and Patsy are incredibly dependent on one another. They drink a lot, they lunch (even though Patsy hasn’t eaten since 1962) they embark on a trip to Morocco (and sell Eddie’s daughter Saffy as a slave), they drink some more and more importantly they have a bloody fabulous time doing it all! The show itself has never been about the two of them looking for a relationship, or defining themselves by having a man at their side.
Even now 27 years after its debut, Ab Fab still manages to retain its charm and pretty much all of its comedic relevancy.
Thanks to streaming sites and a recent film adaption, it’s enduring appeal has resonated with a mass audience worldwide and a new audience too, who perhaps were too young for the Stolly-Bollys and Harvey Nichols lunches back in the 90’s.
In a current era of clean eating, social media friendly influencers and sterile personality driven celebrities, there was once a time where too much was never enough, where overindulging was much better than just merely indulging, and Ab Fab proved that.
Eddie and Patsy’s excesses were extravagant and legendary! Mixing their favourite spirits, Stolly and a Bolly (Stolinchnaya vodka and Bollinger champagne) constantly. Eddie even has a self-replenishing champagne fridge. To be fair Patsy did try to stay sober once… it lasted eight hours. In the first ever episode Eddie is seen snorting an entire bag of cocaine sat in her office, before leaving that same office in the early hours of the morning to stumble home and neck an entire bottle of Jack Daniels. The twosome even flew to New York once, on Concorde, merely to find a door handle Eddie had seen in a Jasper Conran magazine… need I say more?
Eddie and Patsy – despite their attempts to maintain a superficial facade – were just as fundamentally flawed as the rest of us!
In one episode Eddie attempts to loose weight, so she clatters down the road for a few metres, donning a customer designer attire, before giving up in absolute exhaustion. Erm, relatable.
And here lies the reason of why I love Ab Fab with a passion.
Okay yes the characters it portrays are not particularly nice people, occasionally problematic, but they are loveable and human. Essentially the shows affectionate teasing and mimicking of the fashion industry that can instantly be dismissed and harshly ridiculed as a vapid and tedious waste of time, ironically showed it was much more human than people presumed. Although the fashion landscape and world has drastically changed since the 90’s, and company credit cards, drug-fueled parties and constant all-night boozing are not as common, it’s what made Ab Fab so absolutely fabulous sweetie!
What do you love the most about Ab Fab? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jm3ms
Hi! I'm Joey! A third year multimedia journalism student at Manchester Metropolitan University! I love all things lifestyle, music, fashion and food!