I loved “Absolutely Fabulous” back in the 1990’s and am so glad to hear they are making three new episodes for this season on BBC.
But I never considered it a cultural milestone or a predictor of future societal behavior. I guess I thought it was a fairly honest depiction of my friends and I as we dealt with our 3o’s and the last gasp of our shallow, out-of-control youth.
It was our “thirtysomething”.
Guess I was wrong, again!
Great article on AbFab from the Guardian in the UK
Edina, the hard-boiled, label-hungry PR guru, and Patsy, her addiction-fuelled magazine editor sidekick, now look like prescient visions of the future. When they first emerged on screen they endeared through preposterousness. With their minute-long obsessions and faux-ethical bandwagons, the pair cascaded from one catastrophe to the next. Yet what was once recognisably absurd has become absurdly recognisable.
A preponderance of Ab Fab-type figures now clog the cultural landscape. It is almost as if there is nothing left to ironise. Simon Cowell, Mary Portas, the Beckhams, Gok Wan, Nigella Lawson and any number of Premier League footballers all come replete with their own free-floating relationship with comic cliche.
We are treated to tales that sound as if they were plucked straight from an Absolutely Fabulous storyboarding meeting. There’s Alex James, the former coke-addled rock star who opened a cheese farm in his countryside pile. Here’s Angelina Jolie, displaying her global awareness one adopted baby at a time.
There’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s commercial repositioning with a holistic self-help website. Sex and the City has built an entire franchise out of repeating Patsy’s mantra: that nothing cannot be solved by the purchase of a fancy pair of shoes. The Financial Times’s How To Spend It magazine has become a latter-day Ab Fab manual.
What started as a sly poke at ridiculous figures of fun has become a new aspirational model. Patsy’s cries of “Bolly!” and “Lacroix!” in response to any impending crisis predated the late 90s snowballing of branding culture, from smart phones to handbags.