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Old 07-13-2019, 10:00 PM   #1
JL82
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Join Date: Aug 14, 2009
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Default Fran and CC...not what you'd expect

I know there are a few "Fran vs CC" threads - most of them from a long time ago, so maybe this has been covered.

Does anyone else think the show didn't end up making them look very different / opposite, in the way they intended:
I don't think they were really different in their approaches to sexuality. I know CC made fun of the way Fran dressed, and I know CC being unsuccessful in her personal life was a running joke - but I don't think CC ever acted disgusted by or afraid of sex, or had the "I can't have / enjoy sex because I'm "proper"" attitude. She complained about - and Niles teased her about - not getting any. Even he never implied she didn't want any. And, when she was seeing someone, she was fairly open about the fact that she slept with the person. She was pretty obvious with some of her come-ons to Max, too. In fact, she got more sex than Fran did for a few seasons - we knew Fran had had sex with guys in her past, but she didn't do it with guys who were interested in her during the series - whereas CC did. In fact, Fran's luck with guys isn't great. She gets dumped a lot, and guys she likes turn out to be sleezy, and I think she even says at one point that she and Val went to the prom together. I don't see anything wrong with going to the prom with friends, but the implication was, they couldn't get dates with guys.

She sometimes brags about how sexy and wild she can be - both to Niles and to Max.


Someone commented to me on another board that CC is "repressed" and "would like to be as comfortable with her own sexuality as Fran is" but I don't see that.

After CC and Niles get together, it seems like they're more "adventurous" than Fran and Max (in terms of where they do it and how often) and Fran seems a little grossed out by them. And, it is very strongly implied that Fran and Max don't do it prior to marriage, whereas Niles and CC certainly do.

I am aware that my perception about this is colored by fanfic that takes place during Niles' and CC's relationship, but most of that fanfic is based on 1) CC walking in the house a mess after a limo ride in Maggie's Wedding, and 2) CC's line in Maggie's Wedding, "Kitchen? Closet? Stairway? Limo? Walmart?" in response to Yetta reporting that CC and Niles had been seen "together." Meaning, those are places she and Niles had "escapades" and she is asking where it was they were seen. And that is followed up by Yetta's suggestion that they try Home Depot...which CC immediately runs to pass on to Niles. And other fanfic is based on The Baby Shower, where CC gushes about her satisfaction with the...physical relationship.

And the way CC behaves after sleeping with Niles for the first time in Yetta's Letters, and the way she sighs about the relationship in The Baby Shower, and talks about being "multiply satisfied," it's like, an intense physical relationship is what she always needed / wanted, and Niles is the first/only ever to provide as much sex / sexual satisfaction as she needs. And Niles seems very satisfied too, both physically and otherwise.
I don't think CC pretended she had no emotions or that her life was perfect. She did a lot of complaining and breaking down in front of the other characters, and was open about going to mental health treatment (something I suspect a lot of people of that background would have tried to cover up.) In fanfic, her mother is often portrayed as being obsessed with appearances, but I think we're told on the show the older Babcocks are divorced? That doesn't seem like they would have brought her up to hide her problems and pretend her life was perfect...because people who do that often don't get divorced.

Editing to add: even before Niles and CC get together, for all the jokes made at both their expenses about their lack of social lives, it sometimes seems to me that what they have with each other, twisted as it is, has a depth and a sincerity to it that many of the supposedly-popular, supposedly socially-successful characters - including and perhaps especially Max - lack in their relationships. Max doesn't seem to have a truly close or deep relationship with anyone, even the kids, at least in between Sara and Fran - and there's some reason to question how close he and Sara really were.

I don't see a lot of her being fakely nice or proper. She seems to wear her "harder" and perhaps nastier side on her sleeve - although I like a lot of it because I think of it as her being a tough businesswoman. Now, when we see her she is more often interacting with other main characters vs business contacts, so maybe she acts differently around other society people or potential investors, but I think we do see examples of her being out in public and not acting nice. Like when she and Niles go to an awards ceremony and then joke that she kept her speech short by not thanking anyone. That was a public occasion when you might think she'd want to suck up. In the very first couple of episodes, they implied that Fran was a role model for "being yourself" whereas CC was doing the socialite thing...but CC is taking on a business role that traditionally was for the men...that means she is ok with "breaking rules" in a way. She doesn't seem to mind if people don't think she's nice or proper. In business, at least, she stands up for what she wants, including with Max. And her behavior toward Niles is actually very familiar, considering their positions. It's not "friendly" (on the surface) but it's not the way someone in her position is supposed to treat "the help." She actually treats him like a person, just a person she doesn't like. And she takes him as her escort to the awards ceremony in season 4. She's still denying there's anything between them, of course, but that is a date out in a public where people will be able to see she's with "the butler." And she asks him, practically demands that he be her date, whereas Fran is really reluctant to ask Max on a real date.
  • CC being "pathetic" is always brought up as a joke, but I think, overall, Fran comes across as the more needy and desperate of the two, and CC is the female character on the show with the most life and identity not revolving around men or getting married. Fran several times prepares to marry men she has just met, just to be married. Sometimes CC implies she doesn't want to get married and/or have kids. Fran ends up in therapy because of her personal life (and treatment by her parents) as well. CC has other interests and goals in life, namely, the business.

    Fran is constantly whiny and insecure in the last few seasons - particularly about how old she is - and CC doesn't seem as hung up on age.

    Has anyone else noticed that CC will seem to be totally melting down about Max preferring Fran, and then Niles turns up and kicks off a new "game" and she immediately cheers up...sometimes seguing right from whining about Max to insulting Niles? Almost making it look like she's pretending to want Max just as a way to torment Niles.
Fran screws up anything money or business-related she touches, and Max is forever rescuing her - from both financial scrapes and physically dangerous situations. CC seems to be good with money and business. Despite the few early episodes about high society people loving Fran's natural personality, they quickly got into a pattern:

CC scores some big business opportunity - gets an investor or other important person interested in working with Max and her - or gets Max publicity - and Fran does something to ruin or jeopardize it - something to upset or offend the important person. That seems like a "legitimate" or at least, non-snobby, reason for CC to be opposed to Fran as a partner for Max. CC was set up to be the butt of jokes but it seems to me she's pretty decent at business (she gets a business / producer award in The Nose Knows while Fran is preoccupied with Max).

And CC takes charge in a few other kind of situations as well, such as organizing the search in "The Honeymoon's Overboard" (ridiculous as that episode is in many ways.) And seems to manage her own money and the business' money well.
Fran has some very nasty, catty moments (especially toward CC, sometimes toward Niles) and does some very dishonest things. And, although Fran calls CC out for rejecting Niles for not being rich, it seems to me Fran herself is impressed when men are rich, and Max's position and lifestyle seem to be a big part of the appeal for her. CC, in fact, still wants to marry Max in an episode where they think he's going to lose his money. In fact, she goes "Great! He needs a rich wife." And Fran offers to let him go to marry said rich wife...she doesn't necessarily "not want him" but it's like she can more easily let him go if he's not rich. And, of course, CC does end up with the non-rich guy. (I like that the woman has the money and the man does the housework.)

Edited to say: jokes are made about both CC and Niles lacking dates and social lives, but their interaction with each other - even when hostile on the surface - seems like it has a depth and a sincerity that none of the allegedly popular or socially-successful characters - including and perhaps especially Max - have in their relationships. He doesn't seem to be close to anyone in between Sara and Fran - and we start to wonder if things were really that warm even between him and Sara.

Obviously, both Fran and CC are flawed, and have things they're dealing with - and I'm not saying I'd "want to be" either one, but on the whole, I like CC's life circumstances and set of strengths and weaknesses better.

Last edited by JL82; 08-16-2019 at 05:58 PM.
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