Absolutely Fabulous and Roseanne

Absolutely Fabulous (1992-1996)
Roseanne (1988-1997)
Type: Crossover

   Okay okay okay. This crossover technically breaks the rules I have about what is a full fledged legitimate crossover. I'm breaking my own rules but screw it I don't care. What rules am I talking about you ask? I'll get there in due time.

   For those of you who have been secluded in a Tibetan monastery for the past 10 years, Roseanne was a show based on the stand up comedy act of Roseanne Barr (later Roseanne Arnold, then just Roseanne). It was a show about the Connor family, an average middle class family living in middle America. The Connors were not the Brady Bunch. They smart mouthed each other, had troubles paying the bills, fought, had kids elope... They tried to give a more honest picture of semi-dysfunctional family life in the good old U.S.A.

   One of the show's traditions was their yearly Halloween episode. They always went out of there way to make it an outrageous can't-miss-it event of an episode. In the show's final season, the Connors had won a ton of money in the lottery and ended up hob nobbing with a ritzier class of people. In the Halloween episode of that season, some of those people turned out to be Patsy and Edina of the British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.

   Absolutely Fabulous told the stories of the adventures of Patsy and Edina, two women who had been friends from childhood and were totally out of control. They drank and smoked and generally lived life to the fullest and beyond to excess. Edina had a family that actually did make the Connors look like the Bradys. Her mother was a little out there, she had a number of ex-husbands and her daughter Saffron was, oh the horror, a smart and moral girl. Edina could not abide by her daughter NOT getting a little action in the sack, not getting a buzz on once in awhile, not, to her mind, LIVING! Of course Saffy was equally embarrassed and ashamed of her mother's over the top antics. And Saffron also despised mom's pal Patsy but that was okay because Patsy despised her right back.

   Roseanne (the real person, not the character) loved the show and wanted to produce a version of it for American television. This hasn't happened yet and would be a tricky proposition given that most of Ab Fabs humor is a bit more than is allowed on U.S. network television. But, as I have said, she did manage to get Patsy and Edina into that final Halloween episode.

   So where is the problem I mentioned above? Well, at the end of the Halloween episode it is revealed that the entire episode was just a dream. Another part of the episode had Roseanne's pregnant daughter discovering her unborn child was the spawn of Satan (literally and not just figuratively like Roseanne's TV kids) so they really had to pull the "its all a dream" move to make everything right.

   But see that muddles the crossover and how the Ab Fab girls fit into Roseanne's world. Are Patsy and Edina characters Roseanne saw on TV and then had a dream about? Are they real people she ran into and then dreamed about? I dunno. But this crossover doesn't really tie these shows together as part of a shared reality. But guess what? In this one case I don't care. The bottom line is this is the only case I know of where two shows from two totally different countries have crossed over with each other. That is such a stunningly cool thing that I'm willing to fudge on the fact of whether the crossover was "real" or not. Screw it! This is TV history!

   Like this isn't long enough but I have one final thing I'm guessing I should address (before some smart ass writes me about it). In terms of whether the crossover was a dream or real, there is another point to be dealt with: the final episode of Roseanne. The final episode confused the hell out of a whole lot of people. In it, we hear Roseanne in a voiceover talking about how what you have been watching is fictional. It is all a story she has been writing based on her real life. At the end of the previous season, Roseanne's husband Dan had a heart attack. In the voice over Roseanne tells us that in point of fact Dan actually died from that heart attack but she couldn't bare to kill him in the story. She also explains that many of the outrageous over the top plots of the last season were her working out some personal issues through her story writing. Now this is where people get confused. Most people seem to think that the entire last season of the show was b.s. and never happened. That would also, again, undermine the reality of the crossover.

   Those people missed the point. If you pay attention, the point of the last episode is not that the last season never happened and was in fact just stories written by Roseanne, but rather that THE ENTIRE SERIES was. The whole show frome episode 1 on has all been the Roseanne who narrates the end of the final episode filtering her real life into a fictional version, making changes to things as she sees fit. She swaps her daughter's husband, makes her mom gay and her sister straight... I think the point of this was supposed to be that in real life that was exactly the truth. The show obviously isn't real. Its a TV show! Its a show written by Roseanne based on her real life but in point of fact not a totally realistic and accurate portrayal of it. The way they scripted it though just got confusing. They would have been better off having the real Roseanne say this was all just a TV show based on her life. Instead they bring in this "new" Roseanne who we don't know who has been writing the entire show as a story. It was confusing and a bit of a betrayal. Even though we all know the Connors were just TV characters and not real, having them become fake characters within that fake TV world was unsettling. It was like this show that prided itself on showing an honest portrayal of family life had actually been lying to the audience the whole time. It just didn't seem right. I don't even know if you could follow ANY of that explanation the whole thing gets so confusing.

   The bottom line in terms of any Roseanne crossovers is I'm not letting this last episode confuse things. A lot of shows use the last episode to turn things on their heads (St. Elsewhere was the dream of an autistic child, Newhart was a dream...) but I generally try not to take stuff like that too seriously. They're just artsy flourishes to try and put twists on the end of the show. Sometimes they work, sometimes they're just confusing as hell.

Other Roseanne Crossover Links
Roseanne and The Jackie Thomas Show

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