Francine Peters marries Brad, and stays with him for awhile, while secretly pining for her estranged best friend Katchoo. She finds out that he's been cheating on her, tells him off (but does not mention Katchoo), leaves him and goes running off to find Katchoo. She finds Katchoo, and they make up and buy a house together. While they are still closing on the house (and long before a divorce from Brad could possibly be finalized), Francine finds out that she's pregnant with Brad's child. She tells Katchoo, and when Katchoo asks Francine if Brad knows Francine says she told Katchoo first because its going to be their child, and they're going to raise it together. They proceed to do this, apparently without any opposition from Brad. Brad is a wealthy doctor, and strikes me as the type of person to (a) be really pissed off when he finds out that his wife gave him a seriously sanctimonious telling off for cheating on him, then left him for a woman who she'd been holding a torch for all along and (b) care that he has a child. Between (a) and (b), it seems likely to me that he would sue for sole custody, and depending on the judge, just might get it. At the least, he'd get joint custody. And it's not like Tambi can just give him a Baker Refund (kill him), he's the father of their child. Eventually she's going to get curious about him.
I would assume that Moore ignored that in order to get his "happy ending", even though (like myself) most fans had already abandoned Francine/Katchoo and were more interested in Katchoo and Casey as a couple. I could handwave that Katchoo or Tambi will threaten Brad into signing away his parental rights and Francine poisoning the kid's mind by reminding the kid constantly about how Brad cheated on mommy.
I didn't think about it at the time (There are times when I really can succumb to Suspension of Disbelief and just let things slide) but it's clear now that there are problems with that ending. I doubt Brad could get sole custody (Regardless of Francine's feelings for Katchoo he did cheat, and most courts of law don't take "Well, she was thinking about a friend the whole time!" as evidence of infidelity), but shared custody would almost be guaranteed if he decided to fight for it. I assume that they either did share custody (Most shared custodies in fiction boil down to Mommy essentially getting full custody and Daddy visiting once a month) or that Katchoo and Tambi finagled the legal system to get full custody (Even without a Baker Refund the two of them have more power than Brad ever will. They have more money than him for one, and they also have the criminal and legal contacts that he could never match). It certainly raises some moral questions (Even if you lay all the blame for the failed marriage on Brad, which isn't the case, just being a bad husband doesn't mean you lose the rights to your child), but I think the practical obstacles to Katchoo & Francine w/ child are easily overcome.
Katchoo/Francine got back together and had a happy ending??? I never expected that. Their break-up was so final and it was at the same time as Gabrielle, Tara, Naomi etc. being written out that I stopped buying it. I assumed that Moore had jumped onto the Band-Wagon with all the other Moral Guardians.
There was an episode set 20 years later, Francine had an age 8 daughter and met old Francine again. What happened to that daughter, was she Retcon-ned?
I think that entire "20 years in the future" thing was just an exploration of what could have happened, since far too many details don't fit with how the comic developed; the entire thing is pretty strongly hinted to be an extended "vision" of Francine's — in the penultimate issue, this dialogue takes place:
Francine: I've seen the future without you... and it's horrible! Katchoo: You've seen the future. What are you, psychic? Francine: Sort of, yes. Katchoo: You are so full of it.
I don't think Francine ""hates"" Brad. Her choice to end their marriage was probably as much about her pining for Katchoo as Brad's infidelity. She finally had what she thought she wanted, and of course it couldn't live up to the fantasy, which makes her FINALLY decide what she really wants and where her heart lives. Besides that, she feels her problems with men were because her father never paid enough attention to her (missing countless plays, recitals, etc., he even leaves her birthday party early to "go to the office" on a Sunday night) so Brad would have had to do something horrible (like assault her or the child) for her to not let him have contact/ visitation.
Why is every man in this story but David a cheating sleaze?
David's a Purity Sue (or is that Purity Stu) and a born again Christian, meaning that he can do no wrong.
There's also Chuck... and Joe (where did he get to?)
Francine fancies Jerk Ass Freddy. All of Katchoo's other "friends" are whores. Whores meet a lot of cheating sleazes.
So, the Parker Girl MO is to infiltrate your life by getting involved with someone three steps removed from you? I mean, Veronica gets close to Katchoo by...dating her roommate's ex-boyfriend from several years ago? Huh? And then of course we later learn that Veronica is Darcy's cousin who once slept with Katchoo, so I guess that means that to spy on Katchoo Darcy sent one of a handful of people that Katchoo would recognize on sight. And then the whole thing with Casey? What on earth?