Absolutely Fabulous

 
Bad behavior runs rampant in outrageous UK comedy.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Friendship is a major theme in the show, but other dysfunctional relationships and irresponsible behaviors are played up for laughs.

Positive role models

Eddy and Patsy are best friends but lack emotion for family and/or other friends. They are also unashamedly self-absorbed substance abusers who obsess over appearance. Saffron and a few more upstanding characters are often the brunt of jokes.

Violence

No violence, but physical comedy often includes pratfalls.

Sex

Patsy is obsessed with sex, so there's lots of talk about it, as well as slang references to body parts like "t-ts." Two main characters -- and a host of revolving players -- are homosexual, and there are plenty of quips at thier expense. Other sensitive topics like menstruation and menopause are treated with humor.

Language

Frequent, unbleeped use of "hell," "ass," "bitch," and "s--t."

Consumerism

The ladies are big fans of the finer things in life. Some products (mostly British) do appear.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Eddy and Patsy are smoking, drinking, and/or using drugs in nearly every scene. They wash down handfuls of unidentified pills with bottles of champagne and mixed drinks, they smoke like chimneys, and their perpetual drunken and/or stoned state is the main source of the show's humor.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main characters of this popular '90s British sitcom never met a drink, cigarette, or drug they didn't like. From double-fisting mixed drinks to popping unidentified pills like candy, these women personify addiction, and their perpetual drunken/stoned state lays the foundation for the most of the show's laughs. Strong language is also fair game ("ass," "bitch," and "s--t" are common fare), as are sexual references and slang anatomical terms like "t-ts." The main characters are selfish, irresponsible, and judgmental toward strangers and family members alike. In other words, nothing about this show is age-appropriate for kids -- but adults and mature teens who can contextualize the ladies' bad behavior and grasp the humor in it will appreciate the series' racy comedy.

Parents say

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What's the story?

British sitcom ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS (or "Ab Fab," as it's often called) centers on the substance-ridden, self-absorbed existence of Eddy Monsoon (played by the show's writer, Jennifer Saunders) and her best pal, Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley). The chums bond over their shared irresponsibility, fad obsession, and multiple addictions -- much to the dismay of Eddy's sensible daughter, Saffron (Julia Sawalha), who does her best to shake her maternal demons and lead an upstanding life. With the constant comings and goings of a variety of family and friends -- including Eddy's two ex-husbands, her wacky employee Bubble (Jane Horrocks), and her increasingly senile mother (June Whitfield) -- life is never dull (or sober, for that matter) in the Monsoon manor.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Britcom fans have long embraced the outrageous character comedy that makes Ab Fab, well, fabulous. Lumley and Saunders are so exceptional in their roles that their characters' staggering drunkenness, laziness, and general apathy almost pass as endearing qualities. The blatant character contradiction between Eddy and Saffron lays the foundation for the show's cast of over-the-top characters, each apparently existing to upstage the next with improbable eccentricity. Hilarious in jokes and off-the-wall observations on life from the two opinionated, amoral main characters top off this riotous show.

That said, the characters' excessive bad behavior ensures that it's not meant for tweens or impressionable teens. Precious little of the show's content could be construed realistic -- especially Eddy and Patsy's pampered, unfettered lives -- so there's nothing here for kids to relate to anyway. Plus, the show's comedic take on substance abuse obviously sends a poor message to youngsters, and the total dysfunction within the disjointed family unit isn't any better. Bottom line? Funny, yes, but not for kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the messages kids receive about drugs and alcohol. Have you ever seen a show or movie that makes drinking, smoking, or drug use seem socially acceptable? How was the behavior addressed in the story? Did the character face any consequences for his or her actions? How realistic was the scenario? How are kids affected by what they see in the media, even if it's just in passing? How does the media (and other forms of peer pressure) affect your impression of what's right and wrong?

TV details

Cast:Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha
Network:BBC America
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Absolutely Fabulous was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written bysamdod2427 May 28, 2014
age 10+
 

Hilarious!

Understanding this is an American website, the show may come as a shock to some families. Although it is very mouthy and characters behave poorly, a moral message to children comes by way of Saffy. Wouldn't recommend for kids under 12 really, but it's much more of a parental discretion thing as I watched at about 11 and it was by far not the worst language on TV in the UK.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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