The pleasure-seeking duo of Eddie Monsoon and her best friend Patsy Stone was introduced to American TV audiences the evening of July 24, 1994 when cable network Comedy Central began airing the popular UK sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. Other cast members included Eddie's disapproving teen daughter Saffie, her somewhat dotty mom, and daft office assistant Bubble. The show was probably best known for Eddie's term of endearment, "sweetie darling". Eddie and Patsy were played by British actresses Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.
AbFab was embraced by gay viewers not only for the show's high-camp quotient but also because many identified with Eddie and Patsy's tireless pursuit of being hip and glamorous. The humiliating fixes Eddie and Patsy got themselves into were not unlike those experienced by Lucy and Ethel or Laverne and Shirley - but with a touch more debauchery (and a lot more booze). And although it appeared that Eddie and Patsy had no redeeming qualities (their lives were more pitiable than fabulous) viewers were occasionally reminded that they were the products of mothers who were either distant (Eddie's) or completely absent (Patsy's).
Some of my favorite AbFab memories:
- Interviewed on a morning "chat" show, a stunned Patsy could only manage to say, "You can never have enough hats, gloves or shoes".
- Eddie regularly brought up the fact that pop singer Lulu was one of her most famous PR clients.
- During a trip to Morocco, Eddie and Patsy arranged to sell Saffie.
- In one episode Bubble became super efficient and arranged for Eddie to adopt a Romanian child, much to Eddie's horror. It turned out it was a dream of Eddie's.
- After a humiliating night at an awards ceremony Eddie and Patsy woke up and found themselves on a garbage barge in the middle of the Thames.
In 1995 CBS produced a bowlderized version of AbFab called High Society, starring Jean Smart of Designing Women fame and Mary McDonnell (who later starred in the Battlestar Galactica TV series). It aired on Monday but didn't catch on with viewers and aired just 13 episodes over two half seasons.