Show: Mama’s Family
Title: Fran’s Dress
Original Air Date: March 26, 1983
Rue McClanahan: Aunt Fran Crowley
Betty White: Ellen Harper Jackson
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* Thelma: That woman is an exposed nerve.
* Ellen: I do believe you scorched it.
Thelma: Scorched it? I burned the damn thing up!
* Thelma: This dress doesn’t have a tuck in sight and this dress has them coming out it’s ears.
* Ellen: Oh, Mama, he’ll calm down…after he grows up.
Synopsis: Fran goes a little nutty about the caffeine and if it’s decaf. Vint has his bowling league that night. He says he’s calm, but nearly drinks a cup of creamer. Vint asks her for the fourth time to make sure his bowling shirt is clean and supper is ready. Fran rushes in the kitchen begging for a favor, she wants Thelma to press her dress. Thelma scolds her for not properly storing it. Fran then proceeds to start complaining about Sonja and all her clothes. Buzz joins them in the kitchen and agrees. Thelma asks her why she doesn’t wear something else. Fran goes into full melt down. Later that evening Thelma prepares to begin the ironing, but the phones rings. Then Ellen shows up. Ellen tells her to hurry up and Thelma doesn’t know why. Ellen informs her she has a hair appointment. They have a discussion and Thelma got the days mixed up. Thelma tells her she has to iron Fran’s dress first. Ellen gets upset. Thelma slams the iron down…and burns an iron sized hole in the dress. The dress is ruined. Thelma blames Ellen for the dress being burned because she rushed her. Thelma insists that Ellen take her back to the shop Fran got it from to replace it. Ellen doesn’t want to cooperate and Mama guilts her into it. They return back from the store with a new dress. Thelma was upset over the cost. Ellen points out some tucks in the dress, but Fran’s dress did not have any. They just hope she won’t notice. Fran returns home earlier than expected. She wants to try it on and Thelma tries to stop her, but she insists. Vint comes home demanding his bowling shirt. When she tells him it’s not ready he has a melt down. Ellen prepares to leave as Fran comes down the stairs wearing the dress. Ellen is clearly horrified. She’s not happy with the dress. But everything starts to unravel. The truth comes out. Fran has a melt down. But during her melt down she calls Thelma a liar and also admits her resentment about having to take care of their mother. Thelma fights back and then retreats to the kitchen. Fran follows Thelma into the kitchen. They continue to talk and Thelma shares her fears about getting old and forgetting her hair appointment. They make up. Thelma tells her some more truths. They start fighting again.