Picks and Pans Review: Absolutely Fabulous

UPDATED 11/19/2001 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/19/2001 at 01:00 AM EST

Comedy Central
(Mondays, Nov. 12-Dec. 17, 9 p.m. ET)

It seemed final when Comedy Central aired a two-hour Absolutely Fabulous called "The Last Shout" in 1997 (after three six-episode seasons), but the wild British series is back with six new episodes, and there's still a lot of shouting going on.

For those just tuning in, Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are fast London friends who chase fashion trends, abuse various substances and brazenly refuse to let middle age force them into maturity. The slapstick grows strained when Edina tries frantically to lose weight or stiffens all over after too many wrinkle-removing injections. The put-downs become repetitious when Patsy and Edina trade the usual insults with the latter's uptight, plain-Jane daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha). An overenthusiastic studio audience seems to spur the actors to ever higher decibel levels. Yet there are times when the revived Ab Fab really is riotously funny. One of these high points comes Dec. 10, when Saffy writes an anguished memory play and discovers that her life plays like a comedy onstage.

Bottom Line: Darling, it's just a tad less fabulous than before

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