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Francine Smith

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Francine Smith (née Ling, previously Dawson) is a fictional character on the animated television series American Dad!. She is the wife of Stan Smith and the mother of Steve and Hayley. Francine is voiced by Wendy Schaal.

Fictional character biographyEdit

Francine was born to a wealthy couple, Nicholas and Cassandra Dawson. She was abandoned by her birth parents because they were not allowed to bring a baby into first class with them, and so casually left her at the airport.

She spent her early childhood in a Christian orphanage. She is naturally left-handed but this was literally beaten out of her, with a piece of fish, by the nuns working there who saw lefties as "the devil's minions." As a result she took to using her right hand and was conditioned to hate left-handed people. This was made evident in later life when she forcibly asked Steve's science partner to leave the house. (The family thought it was because Steve's science partner was black and accused her of being racist.)(Episode 3.14 "Office Spaceman").

She was adopted at age 7 by Bàba and Māma Ling, Chinese Americans, who first saw her at 5 years old, but she was too expensive at that point so they waited for the market to fall. She speaks fluent Chinese, and often speaks in it to her parents to disguise their conversations in front of Stan. Her parents have their own biological daughter, Gwen, who they are ashamed of for being supposedly very attractive but quite stupid (as her parents put it, "imagine a Chinese girl [who] can't do math!")

When Francine was about 14 years old in high school, she had an obsessive crush on her algebra teacher, Mr. Feeny. She became so obsessed with him, she was discovered by his wife in his closet, "cutting herself and sniffing his T-shirts." Francine lied to them and said that she and Mr. Feeny were lovers. Mr. Feeny was sent to jail and committed suicide there.[1] During the rest of high school, she was said to have been "very depressed," until she found the "miracle of marijuana," although she is in denial about Hayley's use of marijuana.

While in college Francine stabbed her roommate to death - a fact that she casually admits to her family over dinner. Even though she was a party girl during her college years, she keeps her opinions mostly to herself in order to keep with Stan's conservative views. However, she does not keep her extremely intense hatred of George Clooney to herself.[2] She hates him because he stole her spotlight in her only television appearance on an episode Scarecrow and Mrs. King, which would have guaranteed her a movie career. Since then, Francine's dream has been to, at the very least, make George Clooney cry, which Stan has helped her do.[3]

Francine, then a groupie, first met Stan when he had just graduated from the CIA academy and offered a post as an operative. She was trying to hitchhike home, and Stan pulled over and gave her a ride. During the trip, Stan veered to avoid hitting a car and accidentally ran over a raccoon, which he then shot to put it out of its misery. This act of compassion attracted Francine so much she started dating Stan and married him soon after they had met.[4] When Stan was still oblivious to the fact that Greg Corbin and Terry Bates, their next door neighbours, were gay, he suggested that he and Francine fix them up with her sister Gwen. While Francine knows they're gay, Stan thinks her reluctance is because Gwen is "too hot" and then reminisces about her appearance at their wedding (though Stan does eventually discover the truth).[5]

PersonalityEdit

Although she enjoys being a housewife (once criticizing Stan for locking her up without shirts to fold, as she "hates down time"), as well as becoming aroused during spring cleaning, Francine occasionally yearns for something in her life more fulfilling. Sometimes this is in the form of a job - for a short while she was a successful realtor and even sold local newsreaders, Greg and Terry, the house next door to the Smiths own,[6] achieved her dream of owning a muffin kiosk (she has tried sleeping with Adam Ant, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, and Dexys Midnight Runners to get an investment for one when she was younger) at the mall,[7] and even becoming a surgeon for an organized crime syndicate made up of handicapped people.[8] One time, she joined a group of ultra-chic local ladies by faking an affair with a valet.[9] Stan often neglects Francine, ignores what she says, and has forgotten their wedding anniversary at least twice. Despite this, Francine loves him and seems to be unable to cheat on him; even when her life was threatened she still would not sleep with another man. However, Francine has offered Stan to cheat on her twice.[10][11] When Klaus, whose long-time attraction to Francine we are made well aware of, is put into the body of a handsome black man who was once in an Earth, Wind and Fire tribute band, he temporarily manages to win Francine over; however, she does resist him, noticing something familiar about him. It is only until Stan reveals Klaus's identity that she is turned off completely.

Francine enjoys drinking alcohol (she has one bottle of wine for each special occasion, such as "Told Klaus to shut up"), occasionally smokes cigarettes (particularly when under stress), and has a history of using marijuana. Francine has an unhealthy obsession with keeping Steve as 'her baby' which has led her to pursue emotionally and physically abusive behavior towards him in an effort to keep him from becoming an independent man. She seems to go on obsessive jaunts and can resort to violence when the need demands. However, she maintains a warmth for animals and an unstoppable maternal instinct regarding her family, including a nonchalant acceptance of Stan's murderous overreactions. She also has an extreme hatred of George Clooney. Stan has to occasionally arrest her due to having known information about crimes.

Francine has a curious & perplexing intellect: while frequently displaying extreme ditziness through her social interactions with other characters, such as through failures to reason properly, inappropriate or misguided behavior, and laughing prematurely during jokes, Francine has also shown herself to possess incredible intellectual capacity: she is fluent in French, Spanish and Mandarin, and, in "Stan Time", manages to gain expert-level knowledge of marine biology through self-study in only a few weeks, to such an extent that she manages to get an article on the habitat of the colossal squid published in a scientific journal, gaining her instant international recognition.

Previous to her marriage Francine had a history of sexual promiscuity, most notably as a groupie who slept with numerous rock stars and pop singers and planting a rose bush for every person she has slept with, creating "the worlds largest sex garden" which is so big it has a tour group and rumored to have a civilization that have never seen a white man. In the second season episode "Finances With Wolves" it is established that the Dexy's Midnight Runners' hit song "Come On Eileen" was written about Francine after the band had an orgy with her but couldn't remember her name (the obvious joke being that the band literally came on her.)

There are times when Francine has demonstrated that she might be mentally unstable, including her vendetta against George Clooney and her extreme Empty Nest Syndrome. In "Family Affair" she nonchalantly admits she stabbed her college roommate to death and expresses surprise that no one in the family knew before. In "Live and Let Fry" she tells Hayley that she can't handle much, and when someone rings the doorbell she screams "It's too much!". She also becomes violent and angry at rare, random intervals, at one point sweeping Klaus' bowl onto the floor screaming 'People are talking!' because he interrupted her. In "Every Which Way But Lose", Francine also admitted that she doesn't know how to vote as it confuses her too much. She just enters a booth, waits ten seconds, then comes out and yells "Democracy!"

Francine has also apparently spent time in prison before, and has recounted her experiences - with varying degrees of horror - on at least two occasions. She also seems to be very experienced with weapons, though whether or not this is because she is married to Stan is never established. She is shown to carry machete's with her in the pilot and has pulled a gun on Stan on more than one occasion. She was also able to make a weapon out of a shoe Roger was wearing that he claimed was designed by the government to be unable to make into a weapon.

Despite being somewhat an animal lover, Francine has shown a cruelty to small birds, especially when it comes to cooking. In Live and Let Fry, she throws a baby chick at a window after becoming frustrated about not getting trans fat. During In Country...Club she drowns a rare species of bird to cook in a French delicacy for Roger.

HealthEdit

Francine has suffered great brain damage, and as such, she frequently plays a role similar to Diane Szalinski in that her brain suffers at the foolish hands of her husband. Stan once ran over her (twice) causing her brain to temporarily detach from her central nervous system; though Roger restored the damage, she was left with severely reduced mental functions.[12] Stan also accidentally erased the last near 20 years of her memory (making Francine act like a teenager), which he managed to restore.[4] Francine has told Steve that she used to stalk her old school teacher and she also willfully cut her own hand off when it was handcuffed to a pole so she could kill George Clooney (the hand was later reattached).[3] Francine has two birth scars, a caesarian scar from Hayley's birth (although in "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" Hayley's birth is show to be natural, albeit delivered by a baboon),[13] and a scar on her perineum ("tore from [her] V to [her] A") from Steve's birth. Despite this, she claims in "Surro-Gate" that both of her own children's births were "a breeze" for her, and therefore becomes the natural choice to carry Greg and Terry's daughter for them. She also seems to have a case of empty nest syndrome, as she had problems coping with Steve's girlfriend, Debbie, and was more than willing to comfort Steve when Debbie broke up with him.[14] This has recently begun to take obsessive levels, including Francine using a CIA anti-aging formula to turn Steve into a toddler that she could coddle and baby, and sabotaging his surprisingly successful attempts at popularity to keep him home (and also to keep him from possibly going into any potentially violent mood swings). Notes


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  11. Template:Cite episodeIn fact, she once temporarily divorced him so that he can relive the life of being a bachelor.
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