At the start of the series, Harry’s oldest daughter Carol is a lonely, neurotic divorcee who, tired of living alone, moves back home. Still bitter over her mockery of a marriage to cheating husband Gary, she starts out as a somewhat stern mother hen-type character who takes care of the house and drives her sister and father crazy not only with her emotional problems but also her bran, fiber and other health foods. She’s a bit more loosened up by season three, when the neurotic side of Carol becomes the focal point of the character.
Almost every episode finds Carol with some new off-the-wall problem to annoy her sister and father. She tends to crave attention and acceptance, often trying to be the center of Harry’s attention. Years of therapy (she’s seen every psychiatrist in Miami) have only made Carol more needy and neurotic. Barbara, a constant source of irritation for Carol, views her sister as a “big nut,” as do many of the people who come in contact with her, including Charley, who loves to drop in and insult her. Having a tendency to wildly overreact in the smallest situation, Carol spends a lot of her time off the deep end, so to speak. However, as needy, whiney, dependent and just plain crazy as she is, Carol is also strong-willed and self-confident when need be.
Carol is very intelligent, with interests in such things as literature and psychology. She even mentions having a master’s degree in philosophy. She has trouble settling on a career, though. She quits a series of jobs for trivial reasons, but finally finds a job in a university library during season two, where she works throughout that season and the next. At the start of season four, she buys her own catering company, called the Elegant Epicure. She does that for a few years and, in the final season, embarks on a promising journalism career as a reporter at the Dade County Crier.
Romance is where Carol strikes out most. On the rare occasion that she gets a date, the man ends up being crazier than she is (like the guy who claims to make contact with aliens) or they dump her, which happens very often. “Stanely is the third man in a row to dump me,” she says. “And I mean DUMP. There’s a stiff fine now for leaving me by the roadside.” Over the years she does manage to have a couple worthwhile relationships. She almost finds true love during season five, when sprinkler man/artist Patrick Arcola becomes her live-in boyfriend, converting the Westons’ garage into an apartment and art studio. The relationship lasts about a year, but Carol realizes that Patrick is never going to grow up and accept some responsibility so she throws him out, only to discover that she is pregnant with his child. Their final stab at a relationship falters, and Carol decides to raise the baby on her own. During season six, Carol gives birth to her son Scotty (actually F. Scotty, after Fitzgerald) while at the opera.
In the end Carol does find her Mr. Right. She meets airline pilot Kevin Millen in an art gallery during the final season. They hit it off and, after overcoming a few obstacles, become engaged. The couple wed in the series finale, and Carol finally leaves the nest.