The Nanny

The Nanny

1993 - United States

With her trademark sassy laugh and colourful wardrobe, Fran Fine lights up every scene

The Nanny review by Jennifer AJ

Featuring one of the most endearing female characters in TV history, The Nanny is a timeless sitcom whose punchy humour and impeccable sense of fashion stand the test of time. Let’s rewind to 1993 and meet the flashy girl from Flushing: the nanny named Fran!

The Nanny ran from 1993-1999 for 6 seasons. Starring and created by Fran Drescher, the sitcom revolves around Fran Fine (Drescher), a Jewish cosmetic saleswoman who winds up becoming nanny to the three children of wealthy widower Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy). In a setup that harkens back to The Sound of Music, Fran’s exuberance that at first feels out of place in the Maxwells’ stiff household ends up becoming the thing that brings them closer together.

The Nanny tv series

Drescher is an absolute knockout in The Nanny, both on and off screen. She created the show with then-husband Peter Marc Jacobson based on her experience as a Jewish girl growing up in Queens. The many Jewish-specific running jokes explain Drescher’s root, whether it upends stereotypes or elevates them for comedic purposes. She also took inspiration from friends and families to create the cast of characters. That’s why the show is chock full of memorable personalities: however small their roles may be, there’s always a line or two that endears them to audiences. 

But of course, the utmost brilliance of the show is Fran Fine. With her trademark sassy laugh and colourful wardrobe, Fran Fine lights up every scene. Drescher has a way with her facial expressions and comedic timing that just screams “charisma.” You so much as have her present in a scene and it’s already halfway to hilarity. And, oh, where to begin with her outfits? Fran personifies 90’s fashion at its Fine-st: big bouncy hair, cute miniskirts, jackets in all the colours of the rainbow, sequins, leopard prints, polka dot prints, ALL kinds of prints – you just can never guess what Fran’s gonna wear in a scene, but would always know it’s going to slay. When it comes to decade-defining style, this sitcom’s costume design is the only worthy rival to Sex and the City.

The Nanny cast

The show’s writing also deserves kudos for its wit. The running theme of class difference courses through the series - what with Fran being from Flushing and the people she interacts with being from the elite Upper East Side. C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane), Maxwell’s business partner and Fran’s love rival, constantly reminds Fran of her so-called lower position and discussions on privilege are constantly brought up. To the show’s credit, they manage to come up with so many sarcastic yet laugh-out-loud funny dialogues surrounding those situations. Ever so unbothered, Fran’s comebacks to C.C.’s insults are some of the funniest moments in the show. And given today’s audiences’ propensity for skewering the rich and their uppity behaviours, the show has never felt more relevant. 

In an age where traditional sitcoms are dying out, and edgy comedies rise up to take their place, sometimes you can’t help but yearn for simpler times when shows like The Nanny were on. It never fails to offer the comfort of nostalgia, all the while still being so funny and timely. 

Published on July 9th, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.

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