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Lucy and Ethel. Laverne and Shirley. Kate and Allie. There was a time when there were barely enough tables for two on television to accommodate all of its dynamic female duos. It’s quite possible that Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone showed up and scared them all off to another party.

Edina and Patsy – the Stoli-swigging, fashion-flaunting, pill-popping, occasionally gender-bending but perpetually hungover anti-heroines of the BBC classic comedy “Absolutely Fabulous” – have endured (and injected) a lot, enabling each other through an on-again/off-again bender that’s about to hit the 25-year mark. It remains to be seen if “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie,” which hits theaters this Friday, spells the final chapter of the pair’s ever-soused saga, but if it does, the girls certainly go out on a (visibly) high note.

Much like the very first episode of the series, “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” starts with a brutal hangover and spirals downward from there. This newest adventure is littered with little updates (there are hashtags and Keurigs and vaping and Tinder) but the more Patsy and Edina try to change (and they change, a lot) the more they stay the same. And thank heavens, sweetie, dahling.


We spoke to series creator, writer, and star Jennifer Saunders as well as longtime costar Joanna Lumley about how the girls have kept it up for so long (though I have a general idea), and how they convinced Kate Moss to let them push her into the Thames.

Q. You recently led the pride parade in London, any highlights from that?

Joanna: It was fantastic. It’s got such an atmosphere here in London. There were rainbow flags flying from Parliament and MI6 – it was lovely.

Jennifer: And I think it was cheerful, because the political news has been so bad. I think people just wanted to have something fun and not be so depressed about everything.

Q. I imagine you saw many Patsys and Edinas out there.

Jennifer: Honestly – what joy! Bearded! And all of them much taller than us. The weird thing about all the drag queen Patsys and Eddies is they are so beautiful, and so tall, and so slim that it sort of puts us to shame.


Joanna: It does.

Q. Aside from Patsy and Edina’s fearlessness when it comes to fashion, why do you think they have become such BFFs with the LGBT community?

Jennifer: In the show, it’s a fairly dysfunctional family, but they’re not women who are constantly in search of a man. They don’t live conventionally, they don’t live in a conventional heterosexual relationship. Edina wishes all her children were gay, because as far as she’s concerned it’s the most glamorous most interesting thing to be. I think it’s about bucking convention, really, and living life without apologizing.

Q. One of my favorite things about the very first episode is the hesitation I hear in the audience’s laughter – it’s as though they’re uncertain whether they’re on board with these two women yet. Did it take a little while to sell Pasty and Edina?

Jennifer: I think because we were quite an odd combo in a funny way. Because I normally would have been working with Dawn French, and so people were used to seeing me in a different relationship, in a double act. And they were used to seeing Joanna –

Joanna: As a heroine! (laughs) As a good person.

Jennifer: (laughs) Not as a coke-sniffing ex-model. And they were used to seeing Julia [Sawalha] in a different context. So I think it took people a while to see us all in the same show together.


Q. There’s been a fair amount of tension over here surrounding the place of the T in the LGBT community. It's safe to say there will be some grimacing and tweeting over some of the jokes at trans people’s expense in the film. Is there a balance that has to be struck between making a familiar audience laugh and tending another audience’s wounds?

Jennifer: People ask could I have written the show I wrote in 1990 now, and I don’t think I could. I think it’s much easier to offend people nowadays. People have grown quite sensitive, I think. I don’t think we’re ever being offensive, but I don’t think there’s any kind of person – whether they’re heterosexual, gay, transgender – that shouldn’t be able to take a joke.

Joanna: As keen watchers of the show will know, Patsy has already appeared as a man a couple of times in several episodes – you know, she went down to Morocco and had something sewn on and then it fell off and she came back to being a woman again. But it’s no comment, it’s just something she does occasionally – just drifts into being a man and drifts back into being a woman again. In the film, Edina says, “Oh go on, do it,” and [Patsy] says “oh no...” and just sticks on a moustache and pulls her hair back – she hasn’t got time to do the full job obviously in 10 minutes. If you can’t see that as funny, it’s not really the fault, I don’t think, of the writing in the film.


Q. What was Kate Moss’s reaction when she first learned about playing herself in the film?

Jennifer: (Laughs.) You know I wasn’t there. I was a complete coward. I’d written and sold the film before I even remembered to ask her if she’d be in it. I had to post a friend of hers and she said, “Oh yeah, she’ll think that’s funny.” So I thought I was on safe ground, but I have to say when I did send it to her I was quite nervous because had she said no, we’d have been stuffed, really. What she does, is whatever you say to her – Do you want to go through anything? Do you want to read that together? Do you want to rehearse it? – she’ll go “No, no, no – just let me do what I do on the day. I don’t want to overthink it.” And that was her reaction to the film: What’s the story? We push you in the Thames, blah blah blah. Yeh, that sounds good. She’s very cool, Kate.

Q. And finally, could I get three words from each of you on Brexit?

Jennifer: I’m still European.

Joanna: What a mess.

Interview has been edited and

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.