North American fans of the cult-favourite (yes, I'm appropriately using the British spelling), were thrilled to see their antiheroes, Eddy and Pats, grace the big screen this past weekend in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Debuting almost 24-years ago on the BBC, the edgy, laugh-a-second series was created and written by Jennifer Saunders, starring Saunders as Edina Monsoon and fashion icon, Joanna Lumley as Patsy Stone. Even on this side of the pond, AbFab grew a dedicated fan base who pride themselves in quoting (or drunkenly paraphrasing) the outlandish rhetoric that deliciously captured the misadventures of two best friends, living their misguided lives to the absolute fullest.
In every sense, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is a love letter to the fans. Here are five nods to the original series that made this fan squeal with absolute delight.
1. The “Walking Down the Road” Song
In an almost throwaway moment in the film, Eddy’s soft soprano is heard cooing, “I’m walking down the road... Just people say hello…”. The “Walking Down the Road” song first appeared in the Series 4 episode, Parralox, as an idea she sang into a mini cassette recorder (remember those?), but was most notably featured in the Series 5 episode, Schmoozin', where, while visiting Abbey Road Studios with Patsy, Eddy ends up recording her signature tune over an unreleased Beatles master tape.
The song also saw a new light in the 20th Anniversary episode, Job, where Eddy daydreams of belting out her infamously mundane lyrics with La Roux singer, Elly Jackson, on the Royal Albert Hall stage.
Elly Jackson, who covered the Eurythmics hit "Sweet Dreams" for the Series 6 theme song, also makes a cameo in the film.
2. The PR PR Person's Awards
It was reassuring to see that, even 20 some-odd-years-later, the PR PR Person’s Awards is still going strong. Bridget Jones's Diary actress, Celia Imrie, recreates the role of Eddy’s nemesis, Claudia Bing, who first went head-to-head against Monsoon PR for this award in the Series 3 episode, Jealous. Sadly, even 20 some-odd-years-later, Claudia continues to clench the pseudo-coveted title.
3. Patsy's Disdain for Saffy/Lola
Though Patsy eventually came around to accepting Eddy's daughter Saffy in the Series 6 episode, Identity, their early relations were less than civil, to say the least. The infamous "knitting needle" scene from the Series 2 episode, Birth, epitomizes their early dynamic. In the film, Patsy's snarls and evil looks have since transferred to Saffy's now-teenage daughter, Lola.
4. Lulu and Emma Bunton
Two of Eddy's forever disgruntled clients, Lulu and Emma Bunton, were featured quite a bit in the film. Though mentioned in Series 1, the "Shout" and "To Sir, With Love" singer first made an appearance in the Series 2 episode, New Best Friend.
"Baby Bunton" first made her appearance in the Series 5 episode, Cleanin', as a former school friend of Saffy's. Frankly, Bunton's ability to keep a straight face while Saunders goes off on one of Eddy's tirades is brilliantly impressive.
5. Eddie's Chanting
Amidst the crazy predicament she finds herself in the film, Eddy turns to chanting to look for peace. We first see Eddy chanting in the pilot episode, Fashion. Even in 2016, the authenticity of her chanting is still suspect.
However, the mother-daughter dynamic in the pilot, and even its origin (AbFab was based on a French & Saunders sketch, where Dawn French played opposite Saunders as her daughter) was brought back full circle at the climax of the film – and that – that was a true gift to the true fan.
(The writer, NYC circa 2002, with his bestie in an AbFab look-a-like contest, judged by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. Yep – they won.)
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