Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Return to Fabulous: Season 5 of Absolutely Fabulous-New on DVD-Marks a Return to Form for the Wonderfully Wicked Britcom

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Return to Fabulous: Season 5 of Absolutely Fabulous-New on DVD-Marks a Return to Form for the Wonderfully Wicked Britcom

Article excerpt

Absolutely Fabulous: Series 5 * Written by Jennifer Saunders * BBC America/Warner Home Video

In trying to figure out why the fourth season of Absolutely Fabulous was so weak and why the fifth is so funny, a friend suddenly figured it out: "Real life has caught up with Patsy and Edina; they're not as outrageous anymore." So after a full decade of the adventures of part-time publicist and full-time wanna-be Edina (played by Jennifer Saunders) and her Gorgon fashionista best pal, Patsy (Joanna Lumley), writer-creator Saunders has come up with file perfect way to keep the show fresh without totally overhauling it.

The show's success rests on several key elements--the brilliantly talented ensemble (including Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, and June Whitfield), delicious humiliation for the two lead characters, and skewering whatever's Hot and Right Now. So even though society at large has risen up, or sunken down, to meet the boozy, self-centered standards of Edina and Patsy circa 1993--hello, Paris Hilton!--Ab Fab is more about our heroines never being as cool as they think they are and less about them upheaving the unfortunates in their wake.

Saunders has certainly kept up her hipness quotient, zeroing in on such phenoms as book clubs, panic rooms, and the seemingly endless stage revival of Chicago. …

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