Tag Archives: costume design

Francine’s Fashion Faux Pas: Part one

Francine: we all love to hate her. (A few people actually do love her smile ). 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 yuck 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 thumbsup .

Francine’s Hair

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).

S2E6_hair_Francine S2E6_hair2_Francine When you glance briefly at this 1934 Permanent Wave machine, you can see why. Reminds me of someone being connected to an EEG machine shudder .


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 15_weeping ?? 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.

S2E10_hair_jewellery_Francine  S1E1_updo_Amanda

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 yes .


Francine’s jewellery

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.


The outfits

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):

S1E4_StarTrek_worst_Francine S1E18_StarTrekReturns_Francine


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.

S2E9_creamhorror_Francine S2E16_shapeless_Francine

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 wave!

SMK disguises part two: Lee

Welcome back to part two of SMK disguises. Thank you for your patience wink . Your reward? Lee in uniform and disguise. Grab your helmets and smelling salts as we explore Scarecrow pretending not to be Lee Stetson. And Lee Stetson pretending not to be Scarecrow. And all combinations and permutations thereof spin  (Don’t panic, I won’t mention probability again smile ).

Lee’s first disguise came early on: as a pirate waiter in Moby Docks in The First Time. He is possibly the only man (fictitious or otherwise) who can actually this carry this off without looking completely ridiculous. Look at those dimples drool1 .


However, this isn’t Lee best look. Thank goodness for the many Lee in a tux moments which block this unusual, yet strangely fetching Lee moment.

Edited to add: KC has alerted me to the fact that I missed Lee’s first disguise of the series: the non-pirate waiter in  The First Time:

This is for those fans who like the tousled Lee, complete with ripped clothing:


And this reminded me of the other waiter Lee moment: in Charity Begins At Home. Lee can pour me a drink any day wlEmoticon-winkingsmile.png


Next, in Service Above and Beyond, is Lee as the chauffeur of Victoria Greenwich (“You look fabulous”).


And then angry chauffeur Lee rescues Amanda


The chauffeur’s cap doesn’t really work for me but the three piece suit, the anger, the knight-in-shining-armour-rescue is swoonworthy. Where’s the white horse? whiteknight

Then we have the avoiding-the-paparazzi celebrity or convicted criminal look – when Amanda (or should I say “The Scarecrow” wink ) finds him hiding out at his gym (Saved by the Bells).

S1E8_gymdisguise_Lee  Actually, he looks better in this (less than flattering) disguise than when he removes those disguise layers: S1E8_worst_yellowvest_withplaid_Lee Learjet and both Minijets were horrified by this nonsemble hiding sneakily under the mystery hoodie and towel cravat.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, we have Lee posing as Dan, I mean Dean. For their visit to the scary pay-by-the-hour style motel, Lee disguises himself in Dean’s fishing outfit (“I hate plaid. I look like the front seat of a DeSoto”). Yup, I don’t blame you for looking nauseated, Lee. I think it’s worse than Dotty’s plaid horror in The Wrong Way Home.

S1E11_Deanfishing_Lee S1E11_LandA_inbed And to think this is the only time we see Lee and Amanda in bed together…blush

One of Lee’s “charms” is his clean-cut, shaven look. I know there’re a couple of Magnum PI moustache fans in JWWM-land. I’m not naming any names, but this is for you, KC …

Tom Selleck Magnum moustache

During my “research” I discovered this post: The 35 Manliest Mustaches of All Time and suddenly Tom Selleck’s moustache started looking really appealing in comparison.

Moving on,  I’ve established that I’m not a fan of facial hair on a man. So, IMHO, the  busker in Trafalgar Square with beard isn’t Lee’s best facial moment (To Catch a Mongoose). The sighting of Lee in jeans doesn’t even make up for it. The guitar’s in the way anyway wink . (Yes, Learjet can inhabit the gutter too).


Next up, we have the rather, um, inappropriate sight of Lee as a priest in Munich (The Times They Are A Changin’). Best looking priest I’ve ever seen….and quite the flirt.


We also see Lee as a security guard (Charity Begins at Home and Burn Out) – note “wet Lee” to brighten up this rather dull collection of photos – more of these damp moments in a future post.

S2E5_securityguard_Lee  S2E21_security_guard_Lee S2E21_security_guard_top_Lee  S2E21_wet_security_guard_Lee Postman Lee (A Class Act) is almost identical to Security Guard Lee – just a badge change.

S2E9_Postman_full_Lee S2E9_Postman_Lee

Inexplicably, I’m quite fond of Cabbie Lee (Spiderweb) .


Now, as a special treat, I’m going to let you have a look at Lee-as-a-spy (also in Spiderweb).


Fortify yourself with a few rewatches of this outfit and a few if this: S1E1_Tux_Lee

in preparation for the following images.  warningsign  Cover your eyes if you’re squeamish!

Lee as Emily-the-rich-old-lady’s personal assistant, Lee as fellow homeless person (The Three Faces of Emily)

S2E11_Emily_helper_disguise_Lee S2E11_homeless_disguise_Lee and finally Lee the termite man, in a very fetching (not) orange jumpsuit (A Little Sex, a Little Scandal).


Jumpsuits. Yes, thank goodness, we have Lee in a black jumpsuit woot  . Some very pleasant images follow of Lee in a jumpsuit (You Only Die Twice and Murder Between Friends).

S2E20_jumpsuit_full_Lee S2E20_jumpsuit_helicopter_Lee S2E22_jumpsuit_another_Lee S2E22_jumpsuit_Lee

The last one is my favourite. I think it’s a combination of the earnest look into the distance and the V-neck wink .

Vote for your favourite Lee disguises:

That’s all for the SMK disguises. Does Lee look fetching or off-putting? What do you think? Until we explore Francine’s Fashion Faux Pas, it’s goodbye from Learjet!

SMK Disguises part one: Francine, Billy and Emily

welcome Welcome to the first of a series of posts showcasing the highlights (and lowlights!) of the fashions of SMK. I’ll be swimming in the shallow end of the SMK pool – nothing deep and meaningful here; just a bit of fun. Plus I am the world’s most unstylish person, but I am opinionated. Feel free to be rude about my taste (or lack thereof). I’ll include a few polls so you, Iswod’s wonderful readers, can vote for your favourite fashion horrors (and best moments).

Thanks to Iwsod for allowing me to “host”  this series of posts and to KC for technical advice and being a sounding board for me.

Initially, I’ll be covering seasons one and two. And to start off: two posts on the disguises and uniforms of SMK. The second post will cover Lee’s uniforms and disguises. But hold onto your helmets for that second post, because first I’m covering disguises used by three other SMK characters. As Miranda would say on with the show:

First up is Francine dressed up as Amanda in Filming Raul – or what she calls “suburban frump”. Curlers under a headscarf. Lovely….Meanwhile, back in the car  driving , Lee and Amanda are having a ‘steamy’ blush moment .


Next is Francine in Spiderweb as the ticket seller at the theatre. Did ticket sellers wear outfits like that in the 1980s? Anyone remember? Anyway, it’s a good look for her. Even with her snarky facial expression. And those big bows were very popular. (Worryingly, I’ve seen a few similar bows in Australian mothers’ hair recently yuck  – in pale florals!)


In, Life of the Party, Francine (rather unsuccessfully) is forced to get in touch with her domestic side: first as a maid. Look at those heels. Perfect for stamping on a baddie’s instep; not so good when whizzing around with the vac (does she realise that’s a vacuum cleaner?) And later as a waitress. I have to say, I like the refined French plait compared to her usual “styles”.

S2E16_maid_Francine   S2E16_waitress_disguise_Francine

Next Billy! And as far as I am aware, the only time we see Billy in “deep” disguise as an African dignitary (Mr Ngamo) in the same episode. Why didn’t they get MS to do more of this type of thing? His facial expressions and hand gestures are hilarious.

S2E16_African_official_disguise_Billy   S2E16_African_official_disguise_kiss_Billy

His bottle shop owner in The Three Faces of Emily is too similar to his normal outfit to merit more than a brief mention here…I’m more interested in the age of that cash register. Was that a mid-eighties cash register? Had it been in the shop for 20 years before it was seconded by the Agency as “retail” grouping furniture?


Then there is Dotty as “Mrs Marston” and Phillip and Jamie as intelligence operatives at The Agency in Amanda’s “dream” in Delirious on Arrival – OK they weren’t in disguise, they were “real” in Amanda’s chicken-sandwich-poisoned brain.

S2E19_Dotty_as_MrsMarston How long did BG spend in the hairstylist’s chair having her hair “set” to achieve that hairstyle (and how many cans of hairspray did it take?).





I think Jamie makes a more earnest spy than Phillip – Phillip with his snazzy hairstyle and jacket over his shoulder looks like a mini-playboy (Mini-Lee?).


No post on disguises would be complete without Lady Emily Farnsworth and her “three faces”. Except I found four faces (other than her “normal” face). Am I having problems counting crazy ?

Here is the “real” Emily, intelligence operative posing as evening party guest.

S2E11_Normal_Emily  S2E11_Normal_Emily_full

First is her KGB interrogator look: it’s all about the posture and the facial expressions: I’d be pretty scared if I was a baddie:


Then she’s a rich old lady choosing paint with her personal assistant (Lee – pictured in next post). She just can’t decide what colour to choose (and she doesn’t like any of the options in the hardware store) but she manages to keep an eye on Amanda. Love that hat… and the glasses make me remember my mum’s  in the 80s.


Her next look is a bit of a come down: maid Emily-style. She looks more comfortable with the equipment than Francine does wink (plus I’m sure she’s wearing comfortable shoes – maybe a certain brand as Amanda favours??)


Finally, Emily’s best disguise: the homeless woman (bag lady?) in the above-mentioned bottle shop. Is that an old-style tea cosy on her head? I gather her outfit was sourced from the 70s (the unremitting brownness). S2E11_homeless_disguise_Emily  S2E11_homeless_gloves_Emily

Now for the vote. Who’s your favourite?

That’s all for the first disguise post. Please vote and let us know which is your favourite!! Anything I’ve missed out on? Comments and suggestions are very welcome!  Bye until Lee in Part 2 wave.