The situation comedies “Absolutely Fabulous” and “Gimme Gimme Gimme” both offer different representations of gender, gender roles and conventions. “Absolutely Fabulous” is based upon an inverted family unit: Edina’s daughter, Saffy, is maternal and often ends up taking care of the wildly irresponsible Eddie, who is more like a teenager, and men are absent from the house. However, there is a masculine influence present, in the form of Patsy who takes on the role of ‘man of the house.
‘ A strong theme within the show is sexual liberation and Patsy and Eddie’s free, liberal lifestyle’s rejection of domesticity. Th e rejection of domesticity is apparent from the set, most notably the kitcken. This is a place of tradition and domestic life, and Patsy and Eddie are clearly shown to be uncomfortable there, only venturing in when absolutely necessary. Most visitors are shown to the kitchen and it is a place of conflict and confusion, with most arguments taking place within.
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Patsy and Eddie’s discomfort there shows their fear of domestic life, and in the episode “Small Opening”, they leave an argument there and retreat to the lounge – “their” place – a sign that they cannot cope with normal life and shut themselves away from it. Another key element of “Absolutely Fabulous” is the relationship between Eddie and Saffy. Whereas Eddie is wild and childish, obsessed with beauty and fashion, Saffy is conservative, inexpressive and maternal. Saffy is of great importance as a contrast to Patsy and Eddie; she represents a different type of female sexuality.
She is misunderstood by her mother and often loses her patience with her, holding no trust in her whatsoever: (from “Small Opening”) “Darling, tell them I’m not mad. ” “What’s happened? ” Eddie’s neglect of her daughter has left Saffy bitter and disillusioned, and Eddie’s failure to remember how old her own daughter is is one of the many examples of her lack of attention, however it is clear that this is not because she does not care, rather that she is simply too wrapped up in her own life to notice. Patsy’s masculinity is accepted by the show itself, with the self-parody of Patsy’s play, in which Patsy is played by a man.
She is perfectly at home in this role, such as when Eddie’s mother asks for a ‘strong pair of arms’ and she willingly obliges. Her addressing of Eddie’s mother as ‘Mrs N’ brings to mind a teenage boy meeting his friend’s parents, and also contributes to her air of masculinity. Patsy often argues with Sasffy, who feels her mother and her childhood have been stolen: “You had everything I never had! ” “No. You took it! ” and there is a large amount of jealousy between the two. Language is also important here, such as Eddie’s continual repetition of ‘darling’ and ‘sweetie’.