Jump to content

Pauline Francis: Does Not Approve


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.

23 replies to this topic

#1

bmsartre

bmsartre

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Jul 29, 2010 @ 10:42 PM

Has she really got Betty's number, or is she just a judgmental... person?

#2

Agent Rouka

Agent Rouka

    Loyal Viewer

  • Gender:Female

Posted Jul 30, 2010 @ 3:04 AM

I vote for the latter.

Anyone who refers to a divorcee as "dirt" has some serious issues with bigotry.

#3

Constantinople

Constantinople

    Fanatic

Posted Jul 30, 2010 @ 7:58 AM

Has she really got Betty's number, or is she just a judgmental... person?


I don't think it's either or. She has Betty's number in part, but she's also judgmental.

#4

Sister Magpie

Sister Magpie

    Fanatic

Posted Jul 30, 2010 @ 9:32 AM

Judgmental. There are some things she's going to get right, but right now she's looking for negative things. When she finds one she'll fasten on it. If she doesn't find one she'll make one up. I don't think she's a complete villain, though. She probably genuinely believes what she's saying. She just a lot like Betty herself was with her father's second wife (were they married?)--who didn't stick around when he got sick.

#5

michellems

michellems

    Couch Potato

Posted Jul 31, 2010 @ 5:08 AM

I think Pauline is both judgmental by nature, (as is Betty,) and pretty observant. She's experienced enough in life to know what she's seeing, and has Betty pegged.

I gleefully noted that she's saying all the things Betty said about Gloria. I am looking forward to a conversation between Pauline and Betty that resembles Gene's early conversations with Don. Lots of karma coming down.

I am thinking that the remark about living in another man's dirt is as much about living in Don's house, as it is about marrying his wife, and probably is what made Henry finally say, "He's right." It strikes me that where Gene complained that Don "has no people," Pauline complains about Betty having too many.

Maybe it's just the actress, but I keep thinking that Pauline is deeper than Betty, despite having all the same prejudices. It can't be easy to have Thanksgiving under those circumstances, and I think Betty would have made even cattier remarks.

#6

stillshimpy

stillshimpy

    Stalker

  • Gender:Female

Posted Jul 31, 2010 @ 12:42 PM

In a way I think she's got Betty's number, but only in a marginal way. I don't think her assessment of Betty, or even her read on Betty's relationship to her children was entirely accurate. Just in the ballpark. For instance, the entire "you could have gotten it without marrying her" is kind of nasty thing to say, particularly during that time period, and also? Not true. Betty didn't want a tawdry affair with Henry.

So Pauline is pretending to have some insight into Betty, but really she just is passive-aggressively calling her a name without uttering that actual name. Pauline's read on the kids being terrified of Betty isn't entirely accurate either. About half of went down at that dinner table was theater, and the performance was in the hands of Sally. What Betty did was wrong, and I'm in no way defending that, but a kid who calls back, loudly, "OW! Stop pinching me!" is doing that partially for the audience. Betty's not a great mom, but Sally isn't terrified of her. Sally is trying to rebel against her and nothing will ever make Betty's treatment of Sally Sally's fault, that's on Betty. I'm just pointing out that about half of what Sally did was performance.

All that aside, Pauline set out to have that "I am now going to have my say about your floozy!" type of conversation. Pauline inquired about the gifts, and whether or not the children liked them. Sort of an odd thing to do, considering the gifts actually came from Henry's daughter, not Pauline. If it "made the holidays memorable in some other way" it was no thanks to Pauline.

I think Pauline was trying to pretend to take the high road there, when she had every intention of making sure she told her son, "That woman you love? I hate her. I think she's stupid, and p.s. cheap...and also I'm being really passive aggressive about a little girl I know full well has reason to be unhappy." Even if she chose different ways to say that, what did she have to gain from telling her son those things? It was pretty unkind to Henry, too.

So far I think there's every reason to believe Henry took after his dad, basically. He's forthright and honest, his mom? A little sneaky and not a little bit nasty.

Edited by stillshimpy, Jul 31, 2010 @ 12:45 PM.


#7

quentin312002

quentin312002

    Fanatic

Posted Jul 31, 2010 @ 1:37 PM

In a way I think she's got Betty's number, but only in a marginal way. I don't think her assessment of Betty, or even her read on Betty's relationship to her children was entirely accurate. Just in the ballpark. For instance, the entire "you could have gotten it without marrying her" is kind of nasty thing to say, particularly during that time period, and also? Not true. Betty didn't want a tawdry affair with Henry.


I don't think that statement was just to call Betty a floozy, but I don't think Pauline is any kinder in her estimations of Betty. I think that that statement also served to tell Henry that Pauline thought that the bedrock to his and Betty's relationship was looks and convenience, but on Henry's part mostly his attraction to Betty. I dont' think she's wrong on that one.

Edited by quentin312002, Jul 31, 2010 @ 5:40 PM.


#8

michellems

michellems

    Couch Potato

Posted Jul 31, 2010 @ 3:33 PM

Anyone who refers to a divorcee as "dirt" has some serious issues with bigotry.


True, but she may have actually been referring to the house. One assumes that Don's dirt has been cleaned up by Carla, but still, Henry's over there letting Don pay his rent, living in the house that has a decade of Don's "dirt" accumulated in it. Then again, she might've meant Betty. Betty would have said the same thing about a man marrying a divorcee with two kids, if the divorcee in question were someone else.

Pauline's remark that the kids were terrified of Betty rang true to me. I think Pauline believes it. You can't spit a chunk of sweet potato out onto your plate, and have it get all over everywhere. It was still all in one piece--she hadn't really chewed it. Sally's half-whispered, scared "sorry" seemed quite genuine to me--as if she was surprised and horrified that she'd thrown up. If she had merely spit the food out, Pauline would have just asked Isabella to clear the place setting--that would have been enough. Sally hit the plate dead center with the sweet potato. The problem was that she was still spewing a bit as she was hauled to her feet, and so Pauline called for a rag to clean the chair, floor, and tablecloth.

Maybe Sally isn't "terrified" of Betty yet, but she's quite scared of her, and doesn't know what to expect from her. It is very likely that she was too nervous to eat in this company, or maybe she even had a touch of flu. She's ten. It happens. Not eating isn't always a gesture of defiance, and vomiting never is. Fake gagging isn't followed by the kind of "sorry" Sally uttered.

I don't think "stop pinching me" was an act either--I think it was a way of showing us that Betty was still pinching Sally in the other room where no one could see. At home we've never seen Sally tell Betty to stop anything--she takes her licks in silence at home. THAT is the act--pretending it doesn't hurt, so Mom doesn't do something even worse. With people there, Sally knows someone might sympathize and stop Betty before she goes much further. She wanted to call Don, because she wants someone to rescue her from Betty or hold her in check somehow, or even just comfort her and sympathize.

I don't think that someone is gonna be Pauline, but I hope I'm wrong. Pauline is no nicer than she has to be. She is the voice of the old establishment, much as Betty and Gene used to be. What she has to gain by telling her son that this Thanksgiving has made her even less willing to accept Betty, is the possibility that Henry might annul the marriage, or divorce Betty, quickly.

Edited by michellems, Jul 31, 2010 @ 3:49 PM.


#9

Cassatt

Cassatt

    Channel Surfer

Posted Jul 31, 2010 @ 4:50 PM

I gleefully noted that she's saying all the things Betty said about Gloria. I am looking forward to a conversation between Pauline and Betty that resembles Gene's early conversations with Don. Lots of karma coming down.


Yup. Maybe Henry did find his true love in Betty - she's the same woman as his mother, in a Grace Kelly wrapper. No wonder Pauline has Betty pegged.

#10

Cinder63

Cinder63

    Video Archivist

Posted Jul 31, 2010 @ 5:10 PM

I like Pauline; she seems pretty shrewd. I thought they were clever to make her obese and kind of eccentric instead of the older-Betty you might expect.

#11

avaleigh

avaleigh

    Fanatic

  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted Jul 31, 2010 @ 11:30 PM

I'm inclined to agree with Constantinople--Pauline sees Betty for what she is but she's also a bit on the judgemental side.

A lot has been made of the "dirt" comment. Here's my take on it: Pauline says, "I don't see how you can stand living in that man's dirt." In my opinion this wasn't exactly a slam against Betty so much as it was a criticism of their current set up. If she'd really been calling Betty dirt wouldn't she have phrased it in a slightly different way? Like, "I don't see how you can stand living with that man's dirt"? I think the "dirt" she's referring to is the house and all of the memories that are associated with it. Don and Betty had a mess of a marriage and Henry has essentially stepped into that mess. Henry is in the house where the Draper marriage unraveled. Every ugly thing that we've seen and heard transpire between Betty and Don has essentially taken place at the house in Ossining. Rather than move away and start their own lives they're still in a kind of transitional stage. It has to feel weird for everyone in the Francis/Draper household each time Don comes by. IMO it would be less awkward if Don were coming to pick the kids up at their new house. This isn't to say that there wouldn't still be awkwardness I just don't think it would be nearly as bad.

Agreed too with those who think that this is some kind of karmic retribution for Betty.

In partial defense of Betty I can't help but wonder how much of Pauline's evaluation of her character has to do with Betty's appearance.

So Pauline is pretending to have some insight into Betty, but really she just is passive-aggressively calling her a name without uttering that actual name.


I pretty much agree with this. I think Pauline took one look at Betty, immediately wondered 'what's the catch?' and has basically been looking for flaws ever since. I'm not saying that she's shallow but I'm getting the feeling Henry and Betty married quickly and that Henry might very well have intoduced Betty to his mother as Mrs. Henry Francis.

Sally's half-whispered, scared "sorry" seemed quite genuine to me--as if she was surprised and horrified that she'd thrown up.


I agree that Sally's hurried "sorry" was somewhat genuine but I think I got different impression in terms of her motivation for apologizing. IMO this was a kind of last ditch effort on Sally's part to appease Betty since she knew that something bad was coming due to Betty snatching her up from the table. As far as whether or not she was being extra loud for the benefit of the audience--isn't it possible that it was a bit of both? She probably could have refrained from making too much noise but perhaps the first pinch surprised her into an exclamation. After the first "Ow" she quickly sees that Betty is even more furious (because everyone can still hear them) so she's slightly louder when she says "Stop pinching me!" Like, she could have held it in but she decides to see if there'll be an advantage to protesting aloud? OTOH we've seen before that Sally will protest against being hurt. She told Betty "you're hurting me!" when Betty grabbed her by the hair and shoved her in the closet.

What intrigues me is that Pauline says Betty is a "silly woman". That does remind me of Betty's comments on Gloria even though they aren't exactly the same. What is it that makes Pauline think Betty has no substance? What is it that makes her cringe even though her own son is already a part of the divorced people's club? Even with the divorce and children, on-the-surface!Betty seems like she'd be an okay daughter-in-law so what is it that makes Pauline thing that Betty isn't good enough for Henry? I'm guessing that it could be largely be about Betty's general attitude. Betty might not have given a very good first (or second...or third?) impression and now she's going to permanently have a mother-in-law who doesn't approve of her.

On a lighter note--

Am I the only one who wants Pauline and Mama Sterling in a room together?

Edited by avaleigh, Jul 31, 2010 @ 11:41 PM.


#12

stillshimpy

stillshimpy

    Stalker

  • Gender:Female

Posted Aug 1, 2010 @ 10:53 AM

A lot has been made of the "dirt" comment. Here's my take on it: Pauline says, "I don't see how you can stand living in that man's dirt." In my opinion this wasn't exactly a slam against Betty so much as it was a criticism of their current set up.


I agree with this, I think Pauline was referring to the entire situation, not Betty specifically. I think even the warmest, most trusting and accepting person in the world would raise an eyebrow if his or her son came home with a new wife, who'd rapidly divorced her previous husband, had a baby under a year and had just married, with equal rapidity, into the family.

More than one thing can be true at any given moment. I do think Pauline was being passive-aggressive as could be, particularly in involving a little kid who is very understandably upset, but it doesn't mean she's fully wrong. I don't know if we're meant to assume that Pauline didn't meet Betty until after Henry and Betty had married, but I'm assuming that's the case. Even though I think Betty is perfectly prepared to love Henry and try to make him happy, he was also her escape route. More than one thing being true there, too.

So I think Pauline is judgmental but I also think that hers was a very human reaction.

I also agree that Sally's calling back was half theater, not entirely.

There was one thing that Henry said to Pauline that I didn't feel had much truth to it, that Betty loved Pauline, or that Pauline would love Betty if she gave her a chance. I don't think that's ever going to be particularly true.

I think Pauline took one look at Betty, immediately wondered 'what's the catch?' and has basically been looking for flaws ever since.



I agree with that entirely. That I can't blame Pauline for even a little bit, partially because she's right, there are catches galore. If a single Betty, without a child, and a terrible marriage to escape had met Henry would she have given him the time of day? There's no way to know. I think Betty may very genuinely love Henry, but part of the reason she might is that he rescued her, and she wanted to be rescue. Remove the need for rescue and I don't know what Betty would have felt, but I can understand why Pauline would look at a beautiful woman, with three young children and have some suspicions as to why that woman married her son.

I neither liked, nor disliked Pauline. I think she's an interesting character, but more importantly, I think she rings entirely true as to how a mother would react to this situation. Having said that, if Pauline's Thanksgiving was truly ruined, she has herself to thank for it. Even before she zeroed in on Sally and asked the rather leading, "What's the matter dear, don't you like the food?" instead of something more neutral like, "Aren't you hungry?" (which would have allowed Sally to answer in a manner that likely could have gotten her excused from the table, "I'm full." "I'm not hungry."), she'd taken a broadly passive-aggressive shot that roped in her own grand-daughter.

In particular, Henry's daughter said, "I told you mom's was at one." or something very like that, was another instance of Pauline being pretty determined to get her digs in without owning that that was what she was doing. Again, a very human, well drawn, and real sort of character.

Sally had some company in engaging in a bit of theater.

Edited by stillshimpy, Aug 1, 2010 @ 10:55 AM.


#13

Scaramanga

Scaramanga

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 3, 2010 @ 2:26 PM

"She's a silly woman! Now, excuse me while I go dunk my hair in a vat of india ink!"

#14

Evilida

Evilida

Posted Aug 3, 2010 @ 2:54 PM

I think Pauline is a protective mother. She knows that Betty wasn't in love with her son, and that she used him to get out of a bad situation in her personal llife. She's saddled Henry with raising another man's children. Henry's mother naturally isn't going to be too fond of a woman who treats her son as a convenient escape raft instead of a human being. She can't foresee anything good coming out of this marriage for her son.

"She's a silly woman! Now, excuse me while I go dunk my hair in a vat of india ink!"


Pauline is just a Goth marooned at the wrong point in time.

#15

Birdhee

Birdhee

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 4, 2010 @ 1:11 PM

I agree that the "dirt" was less a reference to Betty than to the whole sordid, crumbling Draper marriage, and I think Henry got that. If Mrs. Francis had said, "Why would you want to marry such dirt?" he likely would have protested more strongly than by giving her a disapproving look and marching out with the table leaves.

What intrigues me is that Pauline says Betty is a "silly woman". That does remind me of Betty's comments on Gloria even though they aren't exactly the same.


"Silly woman" is exactly the same. Betty says it to William in "The Inheritance": "She's a silly woman. All that talk about her underthings?"

I have noticed something else recurring, and I don't suppose this counts as a Mad Men-specific verbal "motif" as it is a pretty standard reply, but I still find it interesting. More than once, when one character has criticized another behind the latter's back, the defender of the criticized has responded with some variation on "You don't know [him/her/them]!" Suzanne to Danny about Don: "You don't know him." Henry to Mrs. Francis: "You don't even know any of the people you're talking about." I'm not time-starved enough to go look for other examples, but I feel as though there have been some (maybe Roger defending Jane?); and often it's been the defensive person who isn't ready to consider the truthful part of what's been said.

Edited by Birdhee, Aug 4, 2010 @ 1:13 PM.


#16

Sister Magpie

Sister Magpie

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 4, 2010 @ 1:24 PM

I agree that the "dirt" was less a reference to Betty than to the whole sordid, crumbling Draper marriage, and I think Henry got that. If Mrs. Francis had said, "Why would you want to marry such dirt?" he likely would have protested more strongly than by giving her a disapproving look and marching out with the table leaves.


And Betty is part of the whole sordid mess. I just think it's impossible to refer to "another man's dirt" and not at the very least be including the main thing that belonged to "another man." Or use the term "dirt" when talking about a woman you just hinted was easy without it being at least partly a reference to her. The Draper family isn't a mess that Francis is living in.

I think it was a genuine dig that was supposed to be a swipe at Betty too. Dirt is dirty and neither Betty's house nor her children nor Betty herself is dirty. To me it's like Pete's mother coldy dismissing the idea of adoption by saying it's "pulling from the discards." She can speak that way because in her view of the world Betty and her family are damaged goods that can be described as such. So what I mostly got from the scene was that Francis wasn't capable of anything more than a disapproving look and marching out with the table leaves, which didn't bode well for Betty.

#17

YetAnotherAlex

YetAnotherAlex

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Oct 21, 2010 @ 9:30 PM

Well, the season's over and it looks like Mama Francis was right about everything! Her observations were on point and thoughts on the future of Henry and Betty came true. Henry put himself in a big mess which he's surely regretting now.

It seems like Mrs. Francis the Elder is one of those mothers who's always right.

#18

mickbeth

mickbeth

    Video Archivist

Posted Apr 12, 2012 @ 11:44 AM

Count me as a Grandma Pauline fan. She's somehow been awfully damaged, but she's more authentic with Sally than anyone but Glen. Certainly than any other adult, and that includes teachers and therapists. She's the anti-Faye. She's Dr. Edna with fucked-up boundaries. She'll turn out a mentor.

I have a feeling that she's also a sleeper, like Miss Blankenship . . . But much darker comedy. I propose that the thread name be changed to Pauline Francis: "That's for nothing, so look out."

Edited by mickbeth, Apr 12, 2012 @ 11:46 AM.


#19

Riff Randell

Riff Randell

    Video Archivist

Posted Apr 12, 2012 @ 8:17 PM

I've also become a Pauline fan. The actress is terrific, and plays the character with such subtle terrifying nuances. I'm excited to see her pick up where Grandpa Gene left off in regards to Sally - helping her to grow up, albeit in inappropriate ways.

#20

whywatch

whywatch

    Couch Potato

Posted Apr 13, 2012 @ 1:21 AM

I'm liking Pauline. Well, I have liked her since the Thanksgiving ep., and I thought she looked too young to be Henry's mother. I thought she was his older sister. She looked older to me in this episode, though. Maybe because I saw more of her? I liked that she spoke to Sally honestly. The hitting bothered me, but telling Sally to eat her sandwich didn't. I am an elementary teacher and some of my boundary pushers have ended up really liking and respecting me because I gently, but firmly let them know what the boundaries are.

Edited by whywatch, Apr 13, 2012 @ 1:23 AM.


#21

rogaine2233

rogaine2233

    Fanatic

Posted Apr 13, 2012 @ 11:14 AM

To Sally, being slapped on the hand was nothing after being slapped across the face by Betty.

And I hate to say it, but this was the 60s, and hitting a child's hand was a next to nothing event. I was impressed she apologized.

#22

WaltzinSpringTm

WaltzinSpringTm

    Fanatic

Posted Apr 13, 2012 @ 12:12 PM

I likes how she talks to Sally - save perhaps the OTT story about the Peck murders. Sally's a kid, Pauline knows she's a kid, but she's direct. I liked her delivery on her answer about her father "my father - oh - my father." It was so honest but also not inappropriate. Sally seemed to respect her. I was also impressed she apologized about the hand slap.

#23

HollyTime

HollyTime

    Loyal Viewer

  • Location:IL

Posted Apr 25, 2012 @ 8:26 PM

I like Grandma Pauline except for the creepy part about the nurses uniforms "stirring his desires".

#24

Jenn

Jenn

    Fanatic

Posted Apr 28, 2012 @ 9:30 AM

I like Grandma Pauline except for the creepy part about the nurses uniforms "stirring his desires".



I think it tied into some of the other rape culture stuff in the episode: Ginsburg's super creepy pitch, for example.