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In "So I Married an Axe Murderer", Harriet (Nancy Travis) cries out for "Ralph!" in her sleep, which Charlie (Mike Myers) correctly attributes to one of her "missing" fiancés.

In trying to cover for herself, Harriet later introduces Charlie to a female friend named Ralph (Jessie Nelson) to ease his mind and convince him that this woman was the subject of her dream.

I'm never sure whether:

  • Her name really was Ralph (doesn't seem likely)
  • This Ralph character knew of Harriet's prior troubles and was helping her establish a cover story
  • The Ralph character simply thought she was playing into some kind of joke (culminated by Charlie dropping the towel)

Can we infer anything about this character's role based on her motivation or intentions?

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It's important to bear in mind that although Mike Myers' character is under the mistaken belief that his fiancee/wife, Harriet, is hiding the fact that she is an axe-murderer, what Harriet is really trying to hide is her shame that, as she believes, she has been dumped by all of her many previous fiancees (who, in fact, have actually been murdered - they didn't dump her at all).

But she has come to believe she is so unattractive that any man who gets to know her intimately will dump her, so she beomes pathologically terrified of Myers finding out she's had so many previous engagements.

She therefore persuades her girl friends to conspire with her to hide that from Myers. This is a comedy, and the joke is that Ralph is an unlikely name for a girl; but, nonetheless, at one point Harriet does try to pass off her unintentional mention of 'Ralph' as a reference to a girl she knows. To convince Myers, she then has to get one of her female friends to pretend to be Ralph.

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Based on the fact that she's named thusly in the credits, I'm inclined to believe that Jessie Nelson's character is indeed called Ralph. It seemed more likely to me that Harriet knows two Ralphs, one her former fiancé and one an old friend whom she sees infrequently.

When she's quizzed by Charlie, she pretends that she was dreaming about her friend when she was in fact dreaming about the fiancé. Some considerable time later, the female Ralph turns up for a short visit.

enter image description here

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Today I learned that the female form of Ralph is Ralphina and that the name Ralph was the 950th most popular girl's name in the US in 1929. – user7812 Feb 13 at 15:59
    
Your learning is paramount here :) Thanks for the additional info. – jonsca Feb 13 at 22:10

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