Absolutely Fabulous: Olympic – a recap

It appears that Edina and Patsy are “passed it.” Lately they haven’t been able to get into the hottest clubs or the hippest parties. In the final episode of the latest series, Edina (show creator/writer/star Jennifer Saunders) is having what appears a midlife crisis. In the opening of the episode, she’s trying her best to get into Stella McCartney’s boutique. And the door’s locked. But only to Edina. Other shoppers – all thin and beautiful, glide into the shop without issue, but for some reason Stella McCartney is verboten to Edina.

As a result of her shrinking social life, Edina rents her house to Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Except the Hollywood power couple don’t make it – instead, Eddy’s ex Marshall (Christopher Malcolm) and his horrible American wife, Bo (Mo Gaffney) arrive. In the latest of the trail of tears, Bo believes Marshall is a sex addict.

Patsy (Joanna Lumley), meanwhile is more ho-hum about not being the latest thing. It’s wisdom that comes from being ancient, I guess…She’s not Yoda, though – she’s still vain and upset that her body isn’t taut and tight like it was before – there’s a great gag where Eddy produces a body slimming suit that looks like it’s supposed to fit an infant. It’s so small that Patsy can’t straighten her back, and walks around looking like a question mark.

Not to be outdone by all this absurdity, Saffy (Julia Swalha) is back from Africa. She’s one of 9 wives with John and returned to watch the Olympics that are taking place in London. Saffy’s dressed the part: she’s done up in kinte cloth, and is mistaken for Queen Latifah and Whoopi Goldberg by Bo and Marshall.

So, does Eddy make it back to the A-list? Well, she never was on the A-list and that was the admirable thing about Edina – she’s never really all that popular and whenever she mingles with the jet set, she always fails somehow. But the awesome thing was she never really cared all that much. She cried, pouted and raged, but in the end, she’s had this core of self-confidence – in “Olympic” she’s got her confidence severely knocked, and she’s not sure she can bounce back.

Bubble (Jane Horrocks) and Mother (June Whitfield) are also on hand to add some surreal humor to the show. I’m not sure, but I think Bubble’s training for the Olympics – in the episode, she’s in a white leotard, trying out different sports, including faux gymnastics and speed-tricycling.

As a finale, this episode works – it’s funny – probably the funniest in the trio of the shows in the latest series. Hopefully, Saunders and company will do more. This season was pretty good – and Saunders was awarded with a BAFTA (her first competitive win) for her performance as Edina. What this truncated season proves is that there’s still a lot of creative avenues for these characters, and hopefully Saunders will be able to pen more adventures.

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Filed under Comedy, Sitcom, Television

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