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AbFab and Downton: Stylish British TV Saves Winter

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

Dear Stylish British Event Television,

God bless you—collectively, you're one of only a few things getting me through this already so long but still so young winter.

I speak here of new episodes of Absolutely Fabulous. The first of three new 20th anniversary episodes of AbFab has already aired on BBC America and Logo; the second has aired in the UK (in other words, the internet savvy can watch right now if they're so inclined). And, well, both episodes are just pitch perfect, total candy. Most refreshing—how unabashedly wealthy and monetarily fancy-free—Edina still is. Generally stagnant finances don't even come up. The general tone: "What recession?"

To wit: Edina is literally being chauffeured around in a Maybach. Mercedes-Benz couldn't even afford to keep making Mayback—Eddy has the last one. Then there's Patsy—who has never cashed a paycheck (let alone a pension installment). An entire career's worth of cash appears in one fell swoop—millions of pounds. And, Patsy—god bless her—she doesn't really seem to want it or even know what to do with it. Eddy tells her to put the cash somewhere, she chooses the toaster; so Eddy hands her a Stella McCartney wallet, and she thinks it's a phone.

Otherwise, there is a shopping montage set to, what? La Roux? It's absolutely unnecessary plot-wise but totally necessay AbFab-wise—they had to put it somewhere. (Could you even imagine if BBC produced three new episodes of Absolutely Fabulous but didn't include a shopping montage? There'd be rioting in the streets.) And, it's flawless—with the exception of a visit to Zadig & Voltaire. Who the hell shops at Zadig & Voltaire? What the hell are Edina and Patsy buying at Zadig & Voltaire? Was that, like, crude, British product placement?

On a higher-minded note—I mean, it's on PBS—there's Downton Abbey. When it was first suggested I watch this show I responded with silence and dead eyes. Masterpiece Theatre? Really? When a show like Dance Moms exists you actually expect me to sit through something that Public Broadcasting deemed worthy of airing between their incredibly low budget news hour and tinny sounding performances of things I wouldn't go see live at Lincoln Center?

But, I caved.

And, omigod, it's so juicy! All the substance you might say AbFab lacks—Downton has it in spades. But, probably more importantly for some of us (the sorts who notice Edina's driving through Brixton to a jail in a Maybach before going shopping at both the Kooples and Zadig & Voltaire), multiply that substance by the crazy castle and all those gorgeous period costumes—the hunting looks! The driving looks! The breakfast looks! The military looks! The tweeds! The vast variety of intricate shirt collars! The jewelry! And a whole staff to help you maintain all of it and put it all on! Holy hell, when whatsherface comes downstairs in—gasp!—pants!

And, right, the story—great too. The bitch sisters and the sinister servants? The snappish, snobbish matriarch (God bless Maggie Smith, each episode in its entirety could just be a montage of her snarling at poors and complaining about swivel chairs and electricity. The show would be just as good.)? All Delicious. Long story short: It's absolutely addicting. PBS or not.

BBC—you're rocking our winters. But maybe you can help us figure something out.

Who the shit is Alexa Chung and why are we supposed to care about this person? My best guess is that she's done some modeling and certain people think her sexless London-diffused pilgrim cum Audrey Hepburn without the class look is inspiring and blog-worthy? It's not. Get her dead, droll, personality-less voice off Lifetime because her previews for that 24 Hour Catwalk show are ruining watching Project Runway All Stars and that presence is fully capable of extinguishing our whole happy British TV vibe.

But, I digress ?

· Love, Frank [Racked]