Francine. She is a wonder, always. But she’s married to an asshole. Conrad/Cornelius/whatever her husband’s name is (it’s Carlton—to ring your bell, he is the guy who hit on Helen Bishop at the birthday party in episode 3; the Marriage of Figaro). (That episode, which I promise to post about, is the one that got me off the fence. I was pretty sure that the show was a pure winner, but that one blew my mind. Right off my head. Or something.)
I have been curious for awhile what the friendship is between Francine and Betty. Betty is more formal and guarded with Francine than she is with Don, so it is her vacuous side that is more often exposed, and I have been curious as to how Francine perceives that. She certainly stood up for her over the slapping Helen thing. Francine feels kind of gutsy as a character, but she hasn’t noticed what a creep her husband is, and she hasn’t noticed how shallow Betty is (or comes across), OR how fragile she is.
And now we see that Francine is a wreck, perhaps for the first time. Postpartum much? She said she hasn’t been thinking straight since the baby came. She’s probably all but dried up, lactationwise… she certainly isn’t nursing. So okay, maybe she’s not getting much sleep. Goodness knows Cockles or whatever his name is ain’t getting up for 4 am feedings. But still, sleep deprived doesn’t lead you to wanting to serve up a big ol’ vat of grape Kool Aid to the whole family on Thanksgiving, does it?
It is in this episode that Betty declares to Don that Francine is like a sister to her. I wonder if that is true, and if it is, what the friendship means to each of the women; I wonder if this relationship will become more important to the show. At the same time, when Betty delivers the line to Don, it sounds like a dig. I think she is defending relationships in general. In her therapy session in the same episode, she tells Dr. Wayne that Don doesn’t understand family. Betty is rather insightful… as she awakens she makes statements like these, and tells some very simple but very big truths. She’s not suddenly getting smart, she’s starting to lift the veil between the place in her brain from where she functions (the good girl, the dutiful wife who knows better than to ask questions, the daughter who never thought a bad thought about her mother), and the woman who in many ways is an equal to Don, does match him in humor, and certainly has more than a clue. She’s been collecting clues for years, and she is starting to lay them all out and figure out what they mean. Regarding who she is, who Don is, and regarding their marriage.