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The smashing misadventures of fashion femme fatales Edina and Patsy remains one of the most popular comedies in BBC history. Episodes 13-18.
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The third series of Britcom Absolutely Fabulous maintains the dizzyingly high quality of the first two while striking out in new directions. Big events happen throughout the six episodes: Sensible, repressed Saffron (Julia Sawalha, Chicken Run) moves out of the house of her catastrophically trendy mother Edina (writer/creator Jennifer Saunders, Shrek 2); voraciously drug-addled Patsy (Joanna Lumley, The New Avengers) is revealed to have a sister who's the darling of the jet-set scene; Edina fires her daft assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks, Little Voice); and Patsy and Edina have a genuine falling out as Patsy considers a career move to New York City. Of course, what remains constant is the astonishing ability of Edina and Patsy to wallow in every aspect of female excess like fashionable pigs in designer mud. Saunders and Lumley are razor-sharp, turning everything from a morning's greeting to planning an orgy into egregious, hysterically funny bad behavior. Sawalha, Horrocks, and June Whitfield as Edina's white-haired mother all have their own moments of glory--Bubble, in particular, has scenes of idiocy that verge on performance art, while poor Saffron is one of the most sympathetic characters in the history of television. Absolutely Fabulous is one of the high points of comedy, the brilliant evolutionary link between Monty Python's Flying Circus and Arrested Development. Essential viewing. --Bret Fetzer
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