Absolutely Fabulous 20th Anniversary Specials: Still Not Acting Their Age, Thankfully

Edina, Patsy, and the gang return for three specials.
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Absolutely Fabulous debuted in Britain in 1992 and went onto become an international television sensation.  Creator Jennifer Saunders pushed the boundaries for female characters with Edina (Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley), who are bizarro versions of Lucy and Ethel.  Throughout their adventures, the two women attempt to stave off the inevitable by trying to stay hip, which finds them chasing fads, swilling booze, and ingesting drugs.  Their behavior has been of particular consternation to Edina's daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha), who has had to act as the grown-up.  The duo were last seen in a 2005 Comic Relief sketch and returned, with the rest of the Ab Fab gang, in a series of three specials in celebration of the sitcom's 20th anniversary.

absolutely fabulous 20th"Identity" finds Edina bringing home Saffy after a two-year prison term for unknowingly supplying fake passports to asylum seekers.  Baron, a friend of Saffy's from jail, arrives for a visit, and turns out to be a drug dealer who Patsy owes £50,000.  Patsy doesn't have that kind of money, though if she admits her age she could collect her back pension.  But is she willing to?  She's been 39, like Jack Benny, for quite a while.

Edina gets a "Job" by booking French film star Jeanne Durand to sing at the Royal Albert Hall.  It's sure to be a sensation until she discovers Durand can’t actually sing.  Later, Edina plans on renting out her house to Michael Douglas for the 2012 London "Olympics," with is part of a ruse to sleep with him, but she hasn't given herself the time to get ready.  She and Patsy still find a way to involve themselves in the festivities.

The disc comes with two extras.  "Ab Fab Does Sports Relief" (7 min) is part of the UK charity event that brings entertainers and athletes together.  "Behind the Scenes at Sport Relief" (17 min) is more than twice as long as the sketch and takes viewers behind the scenes to see how the sketch was made. 

These specials deliver a pleasant reunion for Ab Fab fans who have missed the girls and their high jinks.  While the outrageousness of the characters has been tempered by both time spent with them and the show's influence on other programs, there are still funny moments throughout that make them worth seeing, even though they don't rise to the level of must-see.  Also, the specials are written so new viewers can jump right in and quickly understand who these characters are, so you have no excuse to check them out, sweetie darling.

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