-Absolutely Fabulous which is a British sitcom created by Jennifer Saunders. It was based on an original idea by her and Dawn French and was written by Saunders, who plays the leading character. -The Royle Family which is a British television sitcom produced by Granada Productions for the BBC, which ran for three series between 1998 and 2000. Absolutely Fabulous is an example of character interplay sitcom. Two main characters are: Edina “Eddy” Monsoon and Patsy Stone, a pair of high-powered career women on the London fashion scene. Eddy runs her own PR firm, and Patsy holds a sinecure position at a top British fashion magazine. The Royle Family is an example of so called Family sitcom. The main characters are: father Jim, mother Barbara, daughter Denise and son Antony. They are a state benefit-dependent television-fixated family. In Absolutely Fabulous most of episodes take place in a big, worth almost £ 2 million house in Holland Park (which has a reputation as an affluent and fashionable area with high-class shops and restaurants)and in the London office of Eddy’s PR firm. All the interiors are posh and luxurious. The house is sunny, painted in bright colours and decorated with taste. There is a swimming pool, a sauna and a big garden.
In The Royle Family most of episodes take place in the Royles’ Manchester home; most centre on the telly-centric living room. It is typical suburban council house. Rather small and decorated with no taste whatsoever. The walls are dark, with patterns not matching each other. The cheap furniture seems to be arranged haphazardly. We can see laundry getting dry on the radiators and indoor airers in the front room. Characters in Absolutely Fabulous are the representatives of so called Middle Middle class. They use the Received Pronunciation dialect (a standard accent of Standard English in England) which is traditionally frequently associated with professionals with tertiary education. Characters use “posh” and French words from time to time. Education is greatly valued by the middle classes, both Eddy’s children get a university education. She is successful professional with her own company. They quite often discuss serious topic like famine, anorexia or political issues (of course in a comic way).
Characters in The Royle Family seem to be representatives of Working Class or even of so called Underclass because many of family members do not actually work . Most of them is the long-term unemployed and they left school as soon as legally permissible. Father is unemployed, mother works part time, daughter does not go to school anymore or works and son works every now and then. They speak with northern accent. The family is not too careful with pronouncing their ‘t’ and ‘h’ which one of the common characteristics of the working class. They fail to use proper plural form of the verbs. Another grammatical error with the verbs can be noticed when Royles talk about third person e.g. “he don’t know what she wants”. They use multiple negations and say “me” when they “my” which is again very common in working-class speech. The family swears a lot and uses lots of colloquialisms e.g. :you are one lazy little sod, you”. Both sitcoms are funny because of dysfunctional relationships they characters are in.
In Absolutely Fabulous the best example is the relationship of two main characters which is largely driven by Patsy, who is both co-dependent and enabler to Eddy. Their lifestyle inevitably leads to a variety of personal crises, which are invariably resolved by Eddy’s daughter, Saffron Monsoon. In The Royle Family the whole family seems dysfunctional. Brabara Royle is exploited by her selfish lazy husband and daughter. Jim Royle has a short temper, and regularly berates his family. Main characters in Absolutely Fabulous spend their time chasing bizarre fads in a desperate attempt to stay young, slim and healthy. They know everything about newest trends, they wear designers clothes and eat in fashionable restaurants. They are opened minded and tolerant, e.g. Eddy’s first husband and son are gay. Eddy and Patsy travel a lot all around the world -business trips and holidays.
The Royles spend all their time on the sofa watching soap operas and celebrity programs, eating sweets and crisps. Jim Royle is obese and no one from family seems to be interested in any sport. They wear cheap clothes from shops like Primark, do not get up till 1-2pm and show very little interest in their children. Although they watch culinary programs on TV they only cook from frozen or packets. Royles do not travel or go out a lot. Jim Royle has never been to London in his life. These two shows were very popular in UK, especially The Royles Family which was called the most loved family in Britain. As I have been living and working in UK for last 7 years, I had a chance to meet representatives of both classes. I remember my disappointment when I realised that typical English man is rather Jim Royle not Richard Bucket. Nikolai Gogol said in his The Inspector General:” What are you laughing at? You are laughing at yourselves!”and in my opinion both shows were so popular because they portrayed British society very well, with their faults and virtues.