It’s been seven long years since our last outing with Patsy and Edina, and things have and haven’t changed in the Ab Fab world. Thanks to the show’s 20th anniversary, Jennifer Saunders began thinking of bringing the girls back for three new specials, even after she said that she had officially closed the book on the duo. We’re elated that she changed her mind! A film version is now also in the works.
Where we left off:
Saffy, who now has a baby, traveled back to Africa to be with her boyfriend and the father of her child, John Johnson. When she returns, we find out that she met John’s “other wives”. Things come to a head in the Monsoon household, and Saffy who we find out actually owns the house, throws Edina and Patsy out for good.
Today (and here’s where the spoilers come in):
Saffy has been updated as a 40 year old woman, which makes sense since actress Julia Sawahla is now 43! Her daugher Jane is now living in Africa with her father, so needlessly to say the child has been written out of the show. This isn’t the shocker though. While we’re keen on giving you spoilers on the first of three new episodes, this one we want to keep thinly veiled… Saffy now has something in common with America’s domestic diva, Martha Stewart, and we don’t mean that Saffy has now taken up making doilies! Thanks to Saffy’s predicament, Patsy has some respect for her.
Edina is now living in the newly refurbished Monsoon household. The house is pretty much back to basics. No more “funhouse” that we saw in series 5 of Ab Fab. The home is doned with a collection of abstract art, and a bunch of 1960s art pieces. It looks plush and modern. Edina now has only two clients: Lulu and Emma Bunton (Baby Spice of the Spice Girls). Both appear in the second special. Edina runs her little PR opperation in her basement/kitchen. Patsy is back working for a magazine, and handles much of it in Edina’s living room. Well, when we saw “work”, she basically has an intern doing all the real work for her. The intern it should be noted, is a member of Jennifer Saunders’ daughter’s comedy troupe. Patsy’s desk is made from an airliner’s wing, something she snorts drugs off of.
Bubble is seemingly the same, albeit a bit older. She is still figuring out the iPad, and frequently Twitters Edina’s life for her. Gran is still the same old “theiving old person”, and frequently gets frisked before leaving the premeses. Back to Bubble, we finally figure out why she’s still around: she knows too much!
The financial crisis currently wreaking havoc in the world does get referenced. Saunders pondered making Edina officially poor, but decided against since it simply wouldn’t be Ab Fab. These people live above their means and don’t give a damn. They are on somewhat of a budget. Edina no longer has a proper PR agency, and as stated, only has two clients. She is now living off investments.
As this is the 20th anniversary, Edina is twenty years older. In 1992’s episode “Birthday”, Edina celebrates her fourtieth. That makes Edina 59 years old, and her old age does come into play in the new specials. Edina is tired of people offering her cups of tea, and basically treating her like an official old person. She can no longer keep up with the trends of today, and she’s finally realizing it. Patsy is still trying to get her to go out clubbing, but Edina just doesn’t have it in her. She has a masseuse in a spa relax her with news about the latest trend in denim. Edina is also pissed that Rupert Murdoch has not tapped her phone. No one cares what she has to say!
We should also tell you that each of Edina’s outfits in these three new episodes is an homage to pass getups we’ve seen Edina in over the years, including her hippy phase.
Pop/electronic band, La Roux joins forces with Edina and remakes one of, well, Edina’s only song.
Actress, Sofie Gråbøl, who Jennifer Saunders said she was more excited about being on the show than Madonna, appears in the Christmas special, as does Saffy’s crazy school chum, Sarah, played by Naoko Mori.
Modcoms of present that get referenced to:
Twitter, vlogs, blogs, iPads, GPS
Okay, so that out of the way, onto Special #1, “Identity”:
Bubble is now alerting Edina with what she has to do for the day with a megaphone. She tweets everything happening in Edina’s life, including her waking up out of bed. Edina has a driver, whose car she runs and jumps into because she believes, or wants to believe, that the paparazzi are following her. She helps guide him to the location she wishes to go to with her GPS, which she isn’t very good with. Needless to say, they turn up in the wrong area. Edina makes a stop to a certain shocking place, and picks up Saffy, who arrives home to a semi homewelcoming party. Saffy is keen on hearing what has changed in the world. Patsy and Edina reveal what’s in and out now in the fashion and celebrity world. Cue trashing of the Kardashian family.
A tough friend who befriended Saffy in the place in which she’s been “staying”, visits Saffy at home. Patsy takes a glimpse of her and discovers that she owes money to this woman! This woman is her former drug dealer. Patsy, we find out, is completely broke. She does have a pension though that she hasn’t cashed in. Saffy’s friend alerts Patsy and Edina that bread is owed. Patsy is then forced to cash in her pension and cough up the dough. The trouble is, Patsy’s mother never registered her birth, and Patsy truly has no idea how old she is or who she is! Thus, the episode title “Identity”. The pensions office takes out a book and has to go back decades to find any reference of Patsy. All ends well with Patsy getting her money to pay back her dealer, and she is now wealthy once more!
New Year’s Day Special #2 “Job”:
Patsy and Edina head to a spa, and who should be working there, that’s right — Edina’s arch nemesis, the Nurse from series 2!
Patsy’s incompetent assistants, Catronia and Fleur, are back in the series. Catronia has had a fish pedicure, and has had her feet casted when one of the fish bit to hard, causing her to bleed and the fish all had a proper smorgasbord.
Edina and Patsy head out to lunch, and to make a long story short, they see a French actress/singer, who Edina is keen on representing. Edina gets this woman on her roster by promising her to get her gigs at the Royal Albert Hall and even Carnegie Hall! Edina believes that having a client of this stature will finally win her the respect of Saffron.
Onto the Albert hall, and dream sequence ensues, and Edina’s self-penned song “I’m Walkin’ Down The Road” from series 4 and 5, is turned into a collaboration with the band La Roux. Yes, it really happens.
Edina, trying to prove how worldly she is, continuously tries her hand at speaking French around her new client. She comes to find out that what she is continuously saying is that she’s a fatty.
After a quick listening session in Edina’s sitting room, we learn that this actress/singer cannot actually sing, even though she proclaims that she can. Edina’s calls upon her only two clients, Emma Bunton and Lulu to help out.
Nothing helps. It’s up to someone else to do the singing bits behind the stage while this woman mimes it. You can pretty much guess what happens in the end.
Special #3, the Olympics Special:
Edina doesn’t give a toss about the Olympics coming to Britain until she discovers that Stella McCartney, who guest stars, is designing the strip. Stella is the new La Croix. Edina tries to befriend the designer, but Edina is practically thrown out of the store. Edina screams “Stella!” (a la “A Streetcar Named Desire”) outside the shop. Mo Gaffney returns as Bo. She is no longer into Scientology, or Kabbalah, or her former Christian ministry.
More on the Olympics Special as we get closer to its airing.
Source: Saffron “Sweetie Dahling” Monsoon (HMP Holloway)
Christmas Special airs: December 25, 2011 @ 10PM on BBC1 in the UK, BBC America and Logo in the US on January 8, 2012 @ 10PM
New Year’s Special airs: January 1, 2012 on BBC @ 9:40PM in the UK, US date TBA.