ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS is unquestionably one of the most absolutely hilarious British sitcoms to ever grace the airwaves. Like many British sitcoms, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS would pop up for a handful of episodes then disappear, only to pop up yet again for another handful. ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS ran for a total of thirty-six episodes, over five seasons, spanning the period between 1992 and 2003, with some specials thrown in for good measure. That brings us to ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ($129), which assembles all the goodness (or badness) in one, nine-disc, DVD collection.
Season One features the following episodes: Fashion, Fat, France, Iso Tank, Birthday and Magazine. Season Two features the following episodes: Hospital, Death, Morocco, New Best Friend, Poor and Birth. Season Three features the following episodes: Door Handle, Happy New Year, Sex, Jealous, Fear and The End. Season Four features the following episodes: Parallox, Fish Farm, Paris, Donkey, Small Opening and Menopause. Season Five features the following episodes: Cleanin', Book Clubbin', Panickin', Huntin' Shootin' & Fishin', Birthin', Schmoozin', Exploitin' and Cold Turkey. The Specials are as follows: The Last Shout, Absolutely Fabulous In New York and White Box.
If you have never experienced ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, the series is akin to I LOVE LUCY on Quaaludes... that is, if Lucy and Ethel were on Quaaludes or some other inebriant. Created by Jennifer Saunders, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS is the story of Edina Monsoon (Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), a pair of immature, self-indulgent, substance abusing, fashion obsessed and utterly clueless, middle aged London women, who live their lives as though they were still in their twenties, even though that boat has long since sailed. Edinaís daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha) is the series voice of reason; generally disapproving of her motherís lifestyle, as well as her friendship Patsy, who encourages the worst aspects Edinaís behavior. Also along for the ride is Edinaís slightly dotty Mother (June Whitfield), who expends her maternal instincts on Saffron, having long since given up trying to influence her self-obsessed daughter. ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS mixes witty dialogue with physical comedy; each episode usually finds Edina and Patsy getting themselves into one hilarious (drunken or stoned) misadventure after another.
BBC Home Video (via Warner) has made all the episodes that comprise ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING available on DVD in the various aspect ratios of their original productions. Seasons one through three, as well as The Last Shout and Absolutely Fabulous In New York are presented at a 1.33:1 full screen, while seasons four and five, plus White Box are presented at a 1.78:1 wide screen and have been enhanced for 16:9 displays. The early seasons look like shot on video sitcoms; so the levels of image sharpness and detail are just decent enough. Colors a bit fuzzy but not too bad. The later episodes demonstrate a sharper image and better color definition, as well as grater stability. Overall, the presentations are highly satisfying.
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING arrives on DVD with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel surround stereo soundtracks. As one might expect from this type of sitcom material, the audio gets the job done without bells or whistles. The soundtracks are very much front and center, but some sound does bleed into the outlying channels. Dialogue is accurately rendered and remains totally understandable. Fidelity is nothing special, but really doesnít need to be. No other language tracks or subtitles are provided on the DVD.
Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene/episode selection and set up features, as well as the extra features. Commentaries are provided for the season four episodes by Jennifer Saunders and Producer Jon Plowman. Also included is the Modern Mother And Daughter sketch from French And Saunders that inspired AB FAB, plus two other sketches from the series. One will also find the following programs: How To Be Absolutely Fabulous, Absolutely Fabulous: A Life and the Pilot Episode for the series MIRROR BALL included with the set. Vintage footage from the '60s of Joanna Lumley discussing modeling, plus Outtakes and Photo Galleries close out the extras.
As I stated above, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS is absolutely hilarious. If you are a fan and havenít acquired absolutely everything in the past, now is the time to do so. Absolutely recommended.
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