back to article Absolutely Fabulous ups sticks to LA

Fox has picked up a pilot for a US version of cult comedy Absolutely Fabulous, the Jennifer Saunders creation which ran for five series plus specials on the BBC, but has to date defied attempts to rehash it for the transatlantic market. Saunders has an executive producing role for the pilot, which is a joint venture between Sony …

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Sequel or remake.

I hope it will be a sequel where the original characters move to the US, rather than a remake. (Anyone ever see a program called Reginald? I didn't guess it was based on Reggie Perrin until I noticed a mention in the credits. It bore about as much resemblance as the movie Constantine did to the comic character.)

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Oh, an idea

Now would be the perfect time for a new series of ab fab. They could reinvent themselves as social media consultants just like every other failed PR executive does these days...

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Money is tight but...

It was crap the first time and it's still now! If I want to watch two 40 year old women behave like spolit 12 year olds, I can go to any town any Friday night and seen it!

There must be hundreds of genuinely talented comedy writers out there with something fresh to give, but no "money is tight, so stick to something that works".

I'm only in my late thirties but somehow I just get the feeling that no matter what I watch or listen to, it's all been done before, anyone else of my generation, feel like that?

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Already been done...

Uhmmm is it just me, or doesn't anyone remember the series, "Cybil" it was -verymuch- like AbFab but for US audiences. I say, it's already been done!

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@ The Fuzzy Wotnot

+1!

What is it with the current NEED to rehash previous successes? What happened to the talent to create NEW works which can become classics in their own right in the future?

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Boffin

American remakes

I find myself asking why. Are American audiences so parochial, they can't absorb British humour?

(There's a strong case against this)

Or perhaps, do some American television networks desire to put their authoritative cultural stamp on yet another British comedy classic?

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@The Fuzzy Wotnot

"It was crap the first time and it's still now!"

Bloody hell! You mean there's two of us? I'd always thought that I was alone in finding this about as funny as a root canal session with Josef Mengele.

1001 variations on a gag involving coke, booze or coke and booze? Yeah, very clever I'm sure.

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you must have noticed the trend

that remakes are the new 'in' thing. studios have finally realised that they can no longer milk sequels endlessly, and have had the original idea that remaking* things endlessly instead will go a little better.

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/166239/55_movie_remakes_currently_in_the_works.html

* a caveat, i have no problem with remaking things that did badly the first time around, but what's the point of remaking popular films other than milking the franchise for money.

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@Fuzzy Wotsit

No, you are now reaching the slippers and pipe era of your life. As your trousers slowly migrate up to your armpits you will find that it is never as good as it was when you were a lad. Little and Large are as funny as it gets.

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So let's take a guess...

Patsy won't smoke, drink or shag anything in a pair of trousers, Eddy won't be half-stoned most of the time and won't have "token gay" friends, Saffy will initially hate Patsy and vice-versa but then they'll have an episode of female bonding and realise that actually they're both really nice people underneath and Eddy's Mother will dispense sage advice to her daughter...

Yep, that sounds about right for an American remake of a British classic... :-(

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Be suspicious of anything with "US" in the title

I heard they're using younger actresses - o-oh.

Let's hope it's more Californication than Friends...

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There goes

any chance of it being funny again, no drinking, no smoking, no bad or suggestive language, pretty much the same as the US men behaving badly.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: So let's take a guess...

You think?

Really?

A lot of American comedy is absolutely vicious. There's no reason to assume it'll all be wheatgrass and perfect teeth.

Anyway, remakes are popular because if a show's been successful then it's a proven quantity and it's more likely you can squeeze more out of it. This is not necessarily the root of all evil. (For other 'root of all evil' suggestions, see every other thread on the Reg since the dawn of time till Doomsday.)

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@ The Fuzzy Wotnot

"I just get the feeling... it's all been done before".

Wait till you're kicking 60, young man. The rock music all sounds the same (so you take refuge in classical); TV comedies don't make you laugh (heard all the jokes before); the politicians seem to get more and more useless year on year. Hell, you're not even as interested in fuzzy wotnots as you used to be.

And this is me having a *good* day.....sigh

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Changed my mind

Cancel my last tell - I've just seen that new girl on Countdown.

Oh yes!!

DB is back to life.

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@Gerhardt

"Are American audiences so parochial, they can't absorb British humour?"

Yes.... Although I suspect that it is not the audiences per se, but the studio suits that make this decision.

It seems that they cannot see any idea from overseas without wanting to "Americanise" it for the home audience. And generally, they make a complete ballsup of it in the process; - Sanford & Son, All in the family, etc. etc. etc. Basically, everything is dumbed down to the lowest common denominator.

Some years ago, Clive James hosted an American commentator who predicted that "you will find Benny Hill is one of your major intellectuals" - he wasn't that far off the mark.

BTW, Stephen Fry made a rather excellent speech at a broadcasting event last year, defending the idea of a licence fee in supporting new ideas in broadcasting. It's available as a podcast for download and he makes some really good comments about nurturing new ideas.

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Ahh but Sarah

Then why not just start showing the old Ab Fabs to the seppos? Why let them go and dirty the name Ab Fab with a purile pathetic version which will be absolutely awful - like what the bloody yanks did with Aus's Kath & Kim...

And considering how the majority of us'aens have about as much understanding of sarcasm as the Ebola Virus has of Shakespeare (Reg readers excluded naturally) then do you really foresee a version of a show like Ab Fab being made to the standards of the original being understood by most Americans?

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Yes, THIS will work...

While the "street cred" of the production team is quite good, I'm not sure how the material and setting will transfer into a culture where excessive drug and alcohol use are regarded as some odd mixture of lack of willpower and a disease needing medical treatment rather than as a coping mechanism or entertaining to do. I fear leaving those in the show in the US would end up making it not at all funny to a large chunk of the audience and taking them out would leave no characterization than random bitchiness. Random Bitchiness won't carry it, without a supporting cast the size of /Dallas/

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Dan

To be fair.

The US Office has turned into a great show. And I'm enjoying their version of Life on Mars way more than I expected. Both of them are shown on the child friendly networks. So this could work.

I know we give the Yanks a bit of a hard time when it comes to certain things. But for my money they beat us hands down with TV.

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Anonymous Coward

NBG

Yes, some American comedy is absolutely vicious. But American movie/TV remakes of foreign products tend to involve taking small, good products and remaking them as bloated and bland. If Hollywood were to remake the MG roadster, it would produce a mid-1970s Cadillac.

(Native-born US citizen, for what it's worth.)

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Second time lucky?

Anyone remember the first attempt over 10 years ago? Following a short piece in an episode of Roseanne which contained two characters played by Jenn and Joann who were Eddie and Patsy characters but without the money and wit, a whole series was going to be made of AbFab but Barr never got it off the ground. The stories at the time were that thery'd removed most of the drink and drugs references to appease middle America.

It'll be interesting to see how they pull it off this time...

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Paris Hilton

Good 'uns

@Gerhardt

Yes. At least, very few of the people to whom I am acquainted at any level -- personal, professional, or just in passing -- can grasp British humor. Or should that be "humour"? :)

@Graham

"Tonight, on a very special episode of Absolutely Fabulous..."

@Sarah Bee

Then how about remakes of "Monty Python's Flying Circus?" I have seen far too many remakes, rehashes, and spin-off which are utter garbage and make a mockery of the original. OTOH, I see very few which are actual tribute. I think the only thing AbFab:US or AbFab:LA will have going for it is Saunders.

Paris, NotAbFab:US.

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Jobs Horns

Re: Josef Mengele root canal

My only question for you is...

is it safe?

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Annoying

Usually when the Americans get a British show they ruin it, but what if the show is already more annoying than any American one?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Ahh but Sarah

To the... what now?

My American family and chums all have a perfectly sound grasp of irony and understanding of sarcasm. Could you all stop spunking all over yourselves in superiority and consider stepping the xenophobia down a notch?

It's not this thread so much as almost everywhere on the Reg whenever Americans are mentioned. You could at least come up with a more creative off-colour slang term for that nation of slack-jawed gun-totin' morons.

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Stop

I'm an American -- and I used to watch AbFab all the time.

We're not "parochial". Most of us get the BBC channel and watch the original British shows. Also we can pick up the DVD collections of most British shows in our local bookstores.

Many Americans enjoy British comedy immensely. The nice thing about British comedy is, it doesn't treat us like imbeciles. It allows us to actually enjoy a smart punchline, or an irreverent, smart-ass worldview.

American television comedy, on the other hand, is written for the lowest common denominator -- the mouth breathers who get angry when you use "big words" around them. The punch lines are stupid, the situations are inane, and only rarely is any intelligence injected into a show.

Oh, we have a couple of shows that aren't bad. South Park for example, and the Simpsons, which is written by Harvard grads. But most of it is crap.

For some inconceivable reason, the American version of The Office was actually good, but I think that was a fluke. Maybe the executives weren't paying attention, and the writers saw an opportunity?

If they remake AbFab here, I want to think it'll be good, like The Office, but deep down I have a gnawing fear that the suits have caught on, learning from The Office, and will have some new way of forcing the writers to dumb the material down.

Maybe not, but...

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@Sarah Bee

> You think? Really?

Yes, I do think, really!

Did you ever watch the US remake of Cracker? In the UK version the police were deeply sceptical of him, in the US version they thought the sun shone out of his backside. In the UK version he was fat, smoked, drank and had a disfunctional family life, in the US version he wasn't overweight, didn't smoke, was trying to quit the booze and make up with his family. There's nothing of the tense relationship of him trying to get off with the US equivalent of Penhaligan (who, in the UK version was trying to succeed in the teeth of the police "lad culture" which was entirely omitted from the US version) and, frankly, the acting just sucked.

That's just one example of the US managing to take anything slightly "edgy" out of a UK production and, instead, making it saccharine, anodyne, let's not offend the advertisers rubbish and there are plenty more where that came from.

> A lot of American comedy is absolutely vicious. There's no reason to assume it'll all be wheatgrass and perfect teeth.

I agree, but UK comedy is *not* US comedy, nor is UK drama US drama.

> Anyway, remakes are popular because if a show's been successful then it's a proven quantity and it's more likely you can squeeze more out of it.

The trick is knowing *when* you've reached the bottom of the barrel.

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By my reckoning...

...that would make this the 4th attempt by the US to bring Ab Fab to the TV screen- The previous 3 failed miserably.

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Heart

I'm sure it will change

AbFab was run on Comedy Central a few years ago and it didn't fly, ergo I'm sure it will be tweaked in the remake. It is just the eensiest bit possible that this will be due to cultural differences, and not to address shortcomings of the audience - sort of like how The Simpsons is popular in France in much the way that Seinfeld isn't, innit?

@Sarah Bee: =)

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Oooh this is like a confessional

All these years and I felt so alone in hating Absolutely Fabulous - and The Vicar of Dibley, and only Fools and Horses, and The Royle Family, and Little Britain...

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Anonymous Coward

back for more

"You could at least come up with a more creative off-colour slang term for that nation of slack-jawed gun-totin' morons."

Boss?

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@Sarah Be (in the hive?)

"My American family and chums all have a perfectly sound grasp of irony "

Irony... isn't sorta like silvery but with a duller shine?

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Misc.

In no particular order, and directed at nobody in particular:

Some of us Yanks appreciate Brit TV comedies. It is quite common, with old shows being replayed on most PBS stations nation-wide. Most folks also get "BBC America" on either satellite or cable ... although the comedy on the later has been lacking, recently.

The original AbFab has been on the air here in the USofA on and off since the early or mid '90s. It got old after a couple seasons. The concept is good, but the writing lacked staying power, and the re-runs are completely unwatchable for folks with any grasp of memory.

No, "Cybill" wasn't a re-hashed AbFab. It was based on lead actress Cybill Shepherd's experiences in Hollywood ... CBS canceled the show because it was too close to what happened in reality when an actress matured. Especially a smart, funny actress with a body that doesn't resemble a 14 year old boy.

Small Brit convertibles won't be re-built as mid-70s American gargantu-cars ... rather, small Brit convertibles were an upgraded re-hash on late '20s American middle-of-the-road Model Ts. Personally, I absolutely love my '48 MG-TC and '54 Morgan +4. Yeah, they are a pain in the butt sometimes ... but once you've driven one, there is nothing to replace the experience. There is likewise nothing to replace the experience of driving my '70 Mercury Cougar convertible, or my '70 Pantera or my '65 Sunbeam Tiger. Vive le difference! :-)

Irony ... Meaning "godlike" ... Thanks in advance, Spider, for allowing me to twist that ;-)

The TV show "The Office" sucked, on both sides of the pond.

All so-called "drama" shows suck. (Someone should tell Hugh Laurie that he's not doing his career any good with "House" ... IMO, of course.)

Yes, some Yank comedy is pretty good. But the vast majority of it sucks. Kinda like everything else in the rest of the world. I think it was Sturgeon’s Law that said "Ninety percent of everything is crap" ... Pick the good bits, reject the rest, & run with it.

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