And we’re back! Back for more of Amanda’s journey! I hope you are enjoying our small little side trips down into this rabbit hole! The whole point of these posts is to get the discussion going and keep it going. There are no right or wrong answers – please join in the commentary if you would like to! Your thoughts and opinions are yours alone to share.
In MBus, we see thrust into a new case by the Agency. Although she deals with it well, it is just dropped on her doorstep, practically literally, without any real agreement on her part. I wonder just how much that irks her, yet she just goes along with it. Are you feeling a bit like a doormat here, Amanda?
In MBus we also see Amanda getting more comfortable with Lee personally and with working with him. Remember this?
Of course you do! Maybe after the helicopter ride in TFT, the crane ride in TGTN and being tied up in TACMK has shrunk their personal space boundaries. (I think someone brought that point up on the blog somewhere recently – was it you?) There is lots of teasing and even a bit of sexual tension in this episode.
Amanda continues her quest to learn more about Lee’s personal life. In her mind he has had a really interesting life and I think she justwants him to like her as a person (making him a picnic lunch even though he’ll never appreciate it) and have some respect for what she brings to the table instead of thinking of her as a nuisance.
She still views him as someone who cannot relate to normal every day life. “Real people live here and they won’t understand you.”
Although Amanda thinks of herself as “normal”, she takes her job at the Agency seriously and wants to get the training she
was promised. I think she believes in herself and in her ability to contribute successfully to her job and by the end of the episode insists on Lee admitting it. You go girl! What a change from the doormat treatment at the beginning of the case!
Unlike TACMK, Amanda is key to the successful resolution of this case and I am glad to see Amanda stand up to Lee and let him know that she is a strong, confident and capable woman.
And what about Dean? Amanda tells her mother that Dean is the only man in her life. Hmmm. Is she getting comfortable enough with her lies about the Agency that she is now lying about Dean to her mother? Or is she lying to herself? What do you think?
I’ll stop there – but have a few other questions to ask…
What do you think of Amanda’s transformation from doomat to making a stand for herself?
Why does she make him a picnic lunch? With a bottle of wine nonetheless – he is going to be driving after all. Do you think that Amanda wants Lee to like her as a person?
What does Amanda mean by the “real people” comment? She seems to understand Lee – yet she’s real.
Why do you think Dotty asks Amanda if she is having an affair? Do you think it’s more than Amanda being distracted and missing late night TV?
Welcome back to our exploration of Francine’s fashions. We’ve seen Francine at her worst in the first post on Francine’s fashions. In this second post about Francine, I’ll be showing you how beautiful Francine is in the right outfit and, for a bit of fun, I’ve found some animal-themed outfits that Francine. Just a little bit of Learjet craziness .
Francine looks fetching
Yes, Francine is gorgeous. However, this is just my opinion so you may well think some of these ensembles are nonsembles that belong in the previous post. Feel free to object.
She is looking lovely in this blue dress with silver jewellery (Dead Ringer)
– the silver sets off her colouring much better than gold.
I’d say this is a great work outfit (The Artful Dodger)…
…if it weren’t for that strange clip/ pin/ brooch/ ornament (thanks to KC for this last suggestion) on her left shoulder. (Is it a not-so-hidden instrument of torture?) The blue and black look good; the shoulder pads are built in and very discreet. Even Francine looks surprised, in a defensive kind of way.
I love this outfit of Francine’s at the close of Waiting for Godorsky. Yes, the necklace is too busy with the dress but otherwise I love it. Minijet two says that it’s weird. And “her hair looks weird. Even her face looks weird”. I disagree – I think this highlights MS’s lovely bone structure. Are you with me or Minijet two?
Not my favourite outfit but I like these red-themed outfits from A Little Sex, A Little Scandal (KC will tell us what colour this is – kind of deep pinkish red?) and DOA (maroon? Burgundy?).
Actually, I like Francine in a cowl neck. Including this little number (also from A Little Sex, A Little Scandal). Why the sceptical face, Francine?
And more blue – she wouldn’t stop moving her head in this. I even quite like the accessories.
And more blue (I like Francine in blue ) – A Relative Situation (let’s just pretend her earlobes are unadorned) and Life of the Party (pity about those v. 80s navy blue pantyhose)
Also from Life of the Party – Francine’s interview outfit for becoming an undercover maid.
Looking shocked at how great she looks (You Only Die Twice)
And finally, in black and looking very professional and not a bit ridiculous (from Burn Out) – bottle green top with flare at the bottom black skirt (not wild about jewellery).
Does anyone remember “Color Me Beautiful” by Carole Jackson (1987)? Each person was categorised as season according to hair, skin and eye colour. Did you have your colours done? My mother did and was diagnosed as a “winter”. I had the make-up book and – didn’t get round to using it. Was Francine a “spring”? “Your coloration is bright and sunny. Select colors that look as if they are bathed in sunlight.Your best color will mirror the color of your eyes. You receive compliments in bright shades: turquoise, watermelon, salmon” (from http://www.colormebeautiful.com/ )
Animal themed Francine
“Always there but not doing much. Pleasant, unassuming. Easy to overlook! Loyal, faithful…” (Spiderweb).No, Francine is not, as Amanda astutely comments, referring to the family dog but to Amanda . And dog-like characteristics are evidently not something that Francine admires. So it’s surprising that Francine shows a previously undocumented affinity for animals. Or at least for clothing with an animal theme.
The first animal moment was unintentional.
Amanda introduced her to Dotty as the owner of the chimpanzee which Amanda cared for as part of her pets and plants business (Saved by the Bells). She succeeded in charming Dotty and irritating Amanda.
Next, Minijet one saw this outfit from “Saviour” on the screen and said: “She looks like a budgie”.Maybe she had a point – you can carry the monochromatic look a little too far.
And, as we will discover, Francine does seem to like birds…
The Galah (Eolophus Roseicapilla, a small cockatoo from
Australia, seems to have inspired Francine more than any other. Galahs apparently mate for life and can learn to talk .
In Fearless Dotty and Waiting for Godorsky, she wears her first Galah-like outfit.
And in Vigilante Mothers, she varies the feather colours a bit (note the matching feather ear-rings) .
Was Francine a particular fan of Australian birds? Her next choice (Ship of Spies) suggests that she may have been inspired by the Grey Cockatoo but she’s much brighter (in more ways than one). And she has matching ear-rings too…
A bold choice (Fearless Dotty) was her zebra look. “Inspector Shamba” was later inspired to use this for his luggage (The Wrong Way Home).
In Odds on a Dead Pigeon, she appears to been inspired by a snake’s pattern
– try to not look at those incongruous turquoise ear-rings and neck-bow and look more closely at the snakeskin printed blouse.
Her final animal inspiration is the cat. In The Artful Dodger, her gilet looks like the cat ate something it shouldn’t have…
And in A Class Act, she plays the cat burglar – who then attacks poor Amanda . She even has matching ear-rings under her fur, I mean balaclava.
So what animal does Francine most closely resemble? Cast your votes…!
That’s all on Francine. Have I missed anything out? Am I being too charitable (or not charitable enough) about Francine’s fashion choices? Should she be confined for fashion felonies? I’d love to hear what you think !
Francine: we all love to hate her. (A few people actually do love her ). We probably don’t know enough about her background and her motivations to understand her more kindly…. But these posts are not about analysing Francine’s personality, insecurities etc – I’ll leave that to a Francine fan. My aim is to celebrate the sometimes truly appalling outfits that she wore in seasons one and two. In the first post, we’ll cover Francine’s bad hair days, bad jewellery days and unfortunate outfits. And in the second post, I’ll examine Francine’s best outfits (yes sometimes she looks fabulous) and the little known group of Francine outfits: Francine’s animal-themed outfits. Those with more detailed knowledge of the technicalities of fashion, I need your help. I’m just a per(s)nickety SMK fan. But enough about me, and on with Francine .
Francine’s hair was manageable, up until the time she had a perm (“permanent wave” ) in early season two. The results were unfortunate. Yes, most women did it in those days, but that doesn’t make it any more palatable to the 21st century viewer. And what looks like lashings of mousse didn’t help. She looks more like she’s had an electric shock here (Brunettes Are In).
When you glance briefly at this 1934 Permanent Wave machine, you can see why. Reminds me of someone being connected to an EEG machine .
A misguided SMK hairdresser compounded the problem by added a puppy-for-Christmas bow in The Three Faces of Emily.
And another (slightly more restrained) bow in Car Wars is thankfully slightly camouflaged by her hair colour.
And, The Three Faces of Emily, an Amandaband. Why, I ask with tears in my eyes ?? Notably, this is the episode where Amanda reprises her custom hairband. Bad hair(dresser) day?
A final look, which mercifully disguises the perm but is an abomination in itself, was when Francine copied Amanda’s season one updo (Playing Possum). Lots of curls. Way too many curls. Worked for Amanda, not so good for Francine.
In all honesty, we have to admit that Amanda had some bad hair days – or months – as well
I think Francine looked much better with this updo from “Odds on a Dead Pigeon”
and looks lovely with a French Plait in Life of a Party. Learjet gives credit where credit is due .
Francine specialised in jewellery of the large, chunky variety.
One of her earliest example (The Artful Dodger) was quite moderate and pretty. But she moved on to large, Egyptianesque necklace – this one was cunningly matched with the colour-coded belt and buckle, and bracelet (Spiderweb). Anyone admit to having one of those belt\buckle combos? I had a lilac (!!) belt with butterfly buckle in my mid-teens. Moving swiftly on from that disastrous choice – Francine liked the necklace so much that she wore it again in Odds on a Dead Pigeon (see the updo photo with the teal top).
A similar offering in Burn Out
A personal non-favourite is the downward “arrow” necklace (A Relative Situation). Francine doesn’t look too happy about it either. I’ve got a nasty feeling it reappears in early season three as well. What is that arrow supposed to be pointing at? Is it supposed to be diverting attention from the curious black with red dot semi-jacket thing that she’s wearing?
Then on to Francine’s secret weapons – her ear-rings. I’m not sure if they’re her equivalent to the spy’s hidden cyanide pill or whether she wears them in case she needs to take out a baddie. Are these from Spiderweb aiming to pierce the external carotid artery? Or is an ear-piece for the first mobile phone?
Next is the less dangerous but rather strange pair from the same episode.
Or these clear ones (Burn Out), bizarrely paired with the pearls and decorative hair comb.
In the early part of season one, Francine favours red. I’ve said that I love red, but not the faux tartan look in If Thoughts Could Kill (and who would thought the well-endowed Francine could have looked flat-chested?).
Then we have the Star Trek pinny in Magic Bus or the alternate Star Trek look in Filming Raul and Murder Between Friends (with matching red plastic ear-buttons):
I’m not sure what I think of this red top with mixed up kaftan thingy from Magic Bus. It certainly doesn’t flatter her figure.
“Out of Africa” for the Weekend? Unfortunate colours (grey and beige??), a massive buckle (with large matching necklace) and the hat. No wonder Francine has toothache.
The shapeless, monochromatic look, with half-sleeves (Playing Possum and Life of the Party). The outfit matches her hair colour.
The blue colour isn’t too bad (You Only Die Twice). I can even live with the blue/yellow contrast (just).
But the crowning horror is the loose, brownish trousers. What was she thinking?
Vote for Francine’s highest class of fashion felony:
Have I missed any horrors out? Anyone got an ‘expert’ view on fashion to add? That’s all for now from Learjet. Next time, I’ll be being a bit kinder to Francine, I promise!
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