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Blatherings from Bonnie Burton

When I first started watching “Absolutely Fabulous” during the ‘90s – a British sitcom about the hilarious misadventures of two self-absorbed, mid-aged (or in Patsy’s case Yoda aged), boozy, unapologetic career women who happened to be best friends – I was instantly addicted.

At the time, I had just started college and I wasn’t sure what adulthood had in store for me. I was a budding journalist and music VJ with a Denver TV show called Teletunes. I also worked at my college radio station as a DJ during a time when dancing till dawn at raves was the norm.

But it was also a time when I realized that life is way too short to get caught up in the seriousness of adulthood. Yes, growing up is required, but no one said you had to do it gracefully, and “Absolutely Fabulous” was something of a guide for me on how to live life to the fullest one witty comment and glass of champagne at a time.

The main characters of “Absolutely Fabulous” – Edina and Patsy – played expertly by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley – looked adulthood in the face and laughed at it.

Sure, they had grown-up responsibilities like Edina heading up a celebrity PR agency and Patsy editing a fashion magazine, but they both understand the vapid nature of their industry – fashion and fame – and treated it accordingly. In other words, they had a staff to do all the real work, Sweetie Darling.

In fact, Edina’s bird-brained assistant Bubbles (played by Jane Horrocks) was often left to her own devices way too many times to fix one misunderstanding after another in pure sitcom plot fashion.

The only other adulting Edina had left – being a parent to her super-serious daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha) and taking care of her elderly mum (June Whitfield) – seemed to always be shelved when a fashion or PR crisis was at hand.

At the time the TV series was at its most popular in the ‘90s – which aired in the States on Comedy Central – I was Bubbles’ age at around 21. So much of the middle-aged humor about Edina trying and failing to be happy with her weight and lack of male companionship went over my head.

I was much more fascinated with Patsy’s constant champagne and ciggies intake. I loved Patsy’s distain towards anything mundane. She was like a murderess version of Auntie Mame.

But it wasn’t until I reached my 40s that I finally identified with Edina, and it took seeing the latest installment in the AbFab saga – “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” – for me to finally understand all of Edina’s insecurities about growing older and wider.

Without giving too much away, “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” follows Edina and Patsy on their latest adventure as they go on the lam after possibly, accidentally pushing ‘90s icon and supermodel Kate Moss off a yacht during a celebrity-infested party.

While the movie still has that same feminist bravado of the TV series, it also has quite a few touching moments. Edina’s career as a PR exec has taken a nose-dive after losing almost all her noteworthy celebs over the years, and no one seems to be interested in her memoir. Her daughter is now grown with a daughter of her own. And even her own mum doesn’t seem to have time for her.

But that doesn’t mean Edina must wallow in self-pity about ageism and diet woes. Patsy is ready and waiting to show her BFF that there’s nothing a glass of bubbly can’t put in better perspective.
Their unwavering bond as best friends over the decades makes me aspire to find gal pals that will tell me I look fabulous when I need to hear it most.

I highly recommend seeing “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” this weekend to give yourself something to giggle about in a world gone mad, but also to remind you that life is too short to worry about getting too old, fat or forgettable.

Sure the movie is jam-packed with celebrity cameos and shout outs to the original TV series, but it’s the friendship between Edina and Patsy that shines the brightest in this movie.

(This post is made possible by support from Fox Searchlight Pictures. All opinions are my own.)


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