Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Variety reports that Fox is developing an American version of “Absolutely Fabulous” indicating that yes, there are no original ideas. Variety reports:

The latest attempt at a U.S. rendition of "Ab Fab" will be transplanted to L.A. but retain the basic template of the original, revolving around the friendship of two boozy, over-40 best friends who are desperate to stay hip and youthful and who carry on under the disapproving eye of Edina's teenage daughter, Saffy.

There have been two prior attempts at remaking this series. One by Roseanne Barr that never happened and then High Society in 1995 which didn’t work. I wonder what could possibly have happened since then that would suddenly make it possible for an American company to put together a remake of a totally nuanced, inherently English show. I can’t figure it out but if anyone can it’s Fox. Excellent. Fox is at the helm and that means everything should be a-ok. They didn’t fuck up The Simpsons but that’s probably almost entirely due to the fact that The Simpsons doesn’t actually get producer notes. Let’s think about that; the show works and has survived because Fox meddles less than it normally would.

America always has a hard time just watching the original English program. Actually, Americans invariably have a hard time watching any English program. I was watching “Skins” on BBC America last night for some reason, I honestly don’t know why, and they actually not only put in subtitles at various points so that American audiences will understand the accent, they also put in an explanation at the beginning of the show that explains why the subtitles are there and it’s spoken in an English accent. That makes it safe for American audiences to listen. The statement isn’t always the same but it always says something like “If you, like me, find it difficult to understand the English accent, then you’ll be happy to know that there are subtitles at challenging points throughout the following program.” Because, don’t worry – even the English can’t understand themselves. You’re just like everyone else. It’s always about coddling American audiences so they can be led through the experience of laughing at a joke without having to step outside their comfort zone.

Plus, Ab Fab is fundamentally dated. It was progressive when it started but the Edina character is completely generic now what with 13 years of a million shrill idiot women and gay men running about imitating her since the last episode first aired.

It’s sort of like Sex and the City is now. The ideas were funny when they were edgy but they’re not anymore. Now, the people it really resonates with are the kinds of people who never would have stuck by it in the very beginning ie. When it was just a column and book by Candace Bushnell.

Admittedly, Joanna Lumley’s Patsy is, on the other hand, not worn out. The basis for her character was a real darkness that potential imitators either didn’t really get or didn’t understand and so it hasn’t become a full cliché like Eddie has.


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