Absolutely Fabulous episode entitled New Best Friend

Opening sequence: multi-coloured titles dance across screen then seen revolving round the centre – psychedelic flashing blue background; whole impression is of drunken or drugged vision.

Premise: Edina is a publicist who has Lulu among other celebs on her books; however she isn’t very good and even her customers don’t think much of her; she lives in a nice suburban house where the living accommodation is on the ground floor and the kitchen below – topsy-turvey rather like the relationships in the series! Everything is extreme in this programme.

Cast of characters: Edina, Patsy, Saffy (Saffron), Gran, Bubbles and transients Carmen (Jo Brand) and Hamish (Adrian Edmondson) in the office – she’s a ‘journalist’ her travel report is the unvarnished truth ‘ate free foreign crap and then vomited.’ he is patronising, educated and upper-class ‘Andaluthia…’ and asks if she can’t write ‘we grazed on canapés beneath a bewildering array of stars…beside a pool brimming with azure blue’ and after a rant from Carmen ‘oh dear Mr Dictionary seems to have deserted us again.’; Max and Bettina upper class, new over anxious parents; guest stars Brit Ekland, Lulu and Zandra Rhodes

Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sahwala and June Whitfield and Jane Horrocks.

Edina (and Patsy): masculinised females; excessive behaviour and language ‘darling’ ‘sweetie’ ‘bollocks’ ‘bugger’; exaggerated; drug taking, smoking, drinking, sleeping around; remnants of the 60s left behind; mind somewhat affected by abuse such that she thinks any fly might be ‘The Fly’! constructed as an overgrown child – ‘Patsy had them…’ Edina’s life is thrown into turmoil by the impending visit by Bettina and Max, Patsy’s by Edina dumping her.

Edina – black leather long line waist coat, long clunky gold costume cross; longline white blouse and trousers.

Gran: Take A Break reader; ‘never was very good with nappies of the brown variety’ she fainted; not much good as a mother to Edina and not much better to her granddaughter but they are in league against Edina. Hates Patsy ‘so much more suitable than poor dear sad old Patsy.’ Rather unsubtle. Tends to float through life rather like her daughter.

Patsy: bouffant blonde hairstyle; continual fag in mouth and most usually seen with a glass of wine in hand; longline brown cardigan, trousers, triple strand of pearls, large dangly earrings; bright red lipstick;; the only thing in her life is her friendship with Edina (though she hates Saffy calls her ‘this little trail of catsick’); they are both losers, have no respect from family, old friends or work colleagues. Highly dependent – a masculine trait. Lost when ‘dumped’ by Edina in favour of the posh old friend.

Saffy is the normal viewpoint, she is the one who keeps the family together; she acts as the mother, cleans, cooks and prepares the house for the visitors, large glasses, healthy eater, old fashioned hair do, shapeless striped colourful jumper; she is her mother’s carer!

Bubbles is a complete air head; Edina has found her a new job at Marie-Clare mag because they have no work on but she has been head ‘shrunk’ hunted by Vogue ‘is that a magazine or something?’

The work place – a magazine office; none of the workers doing any work just making excuses.

Spoofs the whole upper class snobbish attitude to money and status and in this episode the new age hippiness with its mood music, white walls, white clothes and quiet way of speaking; also the complete contrast between the hooray Henry upper class language and accent with Jo Brand’s working class coarseness

Edina thinks being a good housewife is about ‘clear surfaces, minimalism and appearances.

They are all afraid of getting old; Max and Bettina are afraid of parenthood and maximising their child’s potential – rivalry with other parents to come!

Competition between Edina and Bettina from school days
Competition between Edina and Patsy in the restaurant

Patsy can remember nothing of the past every detail is just slightly off.
Champagne is called Bolly short for Bollinger.
Edina is completely incapable of anything!

Comedy derives from subverting stereotypes all over the place!

  • What it is to be a mother
  • What it is to be a grandmother
  • What it is to be an adult
  • What a boss should be like
  • What a work place should be like
  • Class stereotypes, prejudice and snobbery
  • Over anxious parents
  • Obsession with celebrity

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