Written by Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, and Ruby Wax
Directed by Ed Bye and Paul Jackson
Starring Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Ruby Wax, Tracey Ullman, and Joan Greenwood
Released by: BFS Video
Rating: NR (some humor may be unsuitable for young audiences)
Anamorphic: Nope, episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
My Advice: Fans should rent.
[ad#longpost]Amanda Ripley (French) has a little problem. She’s managed to find herself a flat, but there’s just not as much money in being a ultra-feminist protester as there used to be. So, she’s had to open up her new apartment to several sub-lets. They include Shelley DuPont (Wax), Jennifer Marsh (Saunders), and Candice Valentine (Ullman). DuPont is an unnervingly annoying American actress who just doesn’t have a clue about her craft. Marsh is a rather slow childhood friend of Ripley’s and she has been taken in almost as a charity rather than out of financial need. Valentine is just a slutty flirt who just needs a place to lay her head when its not on some strange man’s pillow (needless to say this goes over well with the feminist views held by Ripley). Together they get themselves into a whole mess of trouble.
You’d think with the writers they had on this show that it would have been better. However, it’s just not that good of a show. There’s only so far you can go with a loose idea of placing diametrically opposed personalities in the same apartment. I mean it works if there are only two characters in the apartment, but with four of them and a number of guest stars, it just got muddled. Speaking of the guest stars, the list reads like a Who’s Who of British film and theatre stars. Names like Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Hugh Laurie, and Helen Lederer keep popping up all over the place. With names like this on the list, it’s just a shame that the show wasn’t strong enough to last more than two seasons. Although, I guess it could be said that this show allowed these two ladies to hone their craft in order to pen the ever popular Absolutely Fabulous, right?
The order the episodes are arranged in on the DVDs is very weird: not in order of the story at all. This could be a bigger problem than it was since each episode is its own story, but it would have been nice to have them put together with their correct seasons. What I mean by this is that some episodes from Season One are put on the same disc as episodes from Season Two and vice versa. There is just no organization to it whatsoever.
The other blatant problem with these sets is the notable lack of bonus material. There is a trivia section, but it’s filled with generic infomation that most fans will already know. Granted, there may not have been much vintage material to accompany this show, but how about an episode list or some interviews with members of the cast and crew? How about a featurette on the outstanding list of guest stars the show boasts of? Anything would have been an improvement.
On a personal note, BFS needs to get some different music to go behind its FBI warning at the beginning of its discs. The music that they are currently using is just too…ummm…game show and it takes too long to get through the warning.
If you are a fan of French and Saunders, and are looking for more of their work, rent these, you might actually like them. In the state they’re in now, though, I don’t think they are worth adding to your collection permanently.