Category Archives: Character Review

Clueless Character Review: Josh Lucas

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. In every relationship, whether familial, platonic, or romantic, there has to be an emotional balance. One person can be the dreamer with out there ideas while the other is level headed and realistic.

In Clueless, Josh Lucas, (Paul Rudd) is the former step-brother of Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone). Due to his being in college compared to Cher still being in high school, he tries to enlighten her about the ways of the world. Though Josh tries to get along with her, they tend to but heads. He thinks that she is a superficial ditz who only thinks about clothes and shopping. Her perception of him is that he is not cool, too serious for his own good, and a politically, a little too soft. His career ambition is to be a lawyer and is spending time with Cher and her father, Mel (Dan Hedaya) to gain some real world experience. But as the narrative rolls on, both Josh and Cher begin to see that perhaps they have more in common than they initially thought.

To sum it up: Though Josh can be the annoying older brother type, he is also not as quick to mansplain as his literary counterpart, Mr. Knightley. Like his step sister and future girlfriend, he has a good heart, but he sees the world in a different way. Which makes them compatible and will hopefully lead to long, healthy romantic partnership.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Emma, Jane Austen, Movies

Clueless Character Review: Tai Frasier

I apologize for not posting last week. I moved and writing temporarily went to the back burner.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. I remember being the new kid in school. It is one of the most awkward experiences of my life up to that point. You want to look like you belong, but the reality is that you stick out like a sore thumb.

In Clueless, Tai Frasier (the late Brittany Murphy) has just transferred high schools. Befriended by Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), they decide that Tai needs a makeover. Like her literary predecessor, Harriet Smith, Tai is an outsider who looks up her new pals. When she starts to become friendly with socially inappropriate skater boy Travis (Breckin Meyer), she is steered toward big man on campus Elton (Jeremy Sisto).

But Elton is first rate asshole. He is using Tai to get to Cher. After this revelation and nearly being killed, Tai becomes confident and is no longer the student to Cher’s teacher. This leads to a temporary crush on Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd) and eventually back to Travis and teenage happily ever after (at least for the time being).

To sum it up: Switching schools is an opportunity to start over. But if you were to ask the young person, they would likely say that wished that they were back in their old school. Instead of living in the past, Tai accepts her fate and has the social/love life that the high school experience is made of.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Clueless Character Review: Dionne Davenport

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. We all need a best friend. Someone who gets us completely, who loves us for who we are, and can call us out on our shit when need be. In Clueless, Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash) is the best friend of the film heroine, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone).

Like Cher, Dionne is high on the social pyramid at their local high school. The difference between them is that while Cher is quick to use her popularity for the greater good, Dionne has to be convinced that it is a good idea. She is also known to be the quieter and more intelligent of the two, usually when Cher is starting to question certain things.

But there is one aspect of her life in which Dionne gets on the emotional roller herself: her relationship with boyfriend Murray Duvall (Donald Faison). Though they are in love, they are also known to get into public fights that draw a crowd. When the subject of her virginity comes up, it goes from maybe its there to maybe its not to finally completely gone after the incident on the highway.

To sum it up: What makes Dionne’s relationship with Cher believable is the genuine chemistry between the actors and innate understanding that the characters have of one another. It is just there, removing the logic that what we are watching is fiction and not real life.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Clueless Character Review: Cher Horowitz

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. If you watch enough high school movies, you might get the idea that the popular girls are all versions of Regina George (Rachel McAdams). The surprise comes when we realize that what we see on film does not always match reality.

In the movie, Clueless, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is a modern teenage version of Emma Woodhouse, the heroine of the Jane Austen novel Emma. Living in Beverly Hills with her widower father, Mel (Dan Hedaya), Cher has a good heart, but her head is not always in the right place. She buts heads with her stepbrother Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd) and spends most of her time with her best friend Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash). When new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) arrives at Cher’s school, she sees an opportunity to do some good in the world via a makeover and a potential match with Elton (Jeremy Sisto).

She will soon learn that what she sees, the rest of the world does not see. Elton would prefer to be with her than Tai. Tai is crushing on Travis (Breckin Meyer), who is equally into her. Christian, her new boyfriend (Justin Walker) is gay. The only relationship that works is out between her teacher Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Ms. Geist (Twink Caplan). Her pest of stepbrother is not only right about a few things, he is also the right boy for her.

To sum it up: Cher is an interesting character because unlike other similar characters, she is not a b*tch. She is may say and do things to hurt other people, but she does not do that on purpose. She just thinks she knows everything, when she clearly doesn’t. This makes her likable, even if she is completely frustrating to the audience and the people around her.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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The Nanny Character Review: Yetta Rosenberg

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Nanny. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. The general on screen image of a grandmother is that of a loving, openhearted woman whose focus is her family. On The Nanny, Fran Fine‘s (Fran Drescher) grandmother, Yetta Rosenberg (the late Ann Morgan Guilbert) is not one of these women.

As a young girl, Yetta immigrated to the United States, where she was supposed to marry the man chosen for her. Though she fell in love with another man, she decided to marry her husband when the man her heart was set on disappeared. Later in life, she would travel between Europe and America, experiencing quite a few major historical events of the first half of the 20th century.

When we meet Yetta as a woman in her sunset years, her mind has started to slip. She is known to frequently smoke, in spite of her ailing health. Unaware that Fran is working for Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy), she believes that he is her grandson-in-law and that his children are her great-grandchildren. But if the viewer knows nothing else about Yetta, she loves her granddaughter intensely. When Fran eventually marries Max and brings their children into the world, she is there as a only proud grandmother can be. Yetta also re-marries before Fran walks down the aisle, creating a running joke. Her new husband is Sammy, played by the late Ray Charles.

To sum it up: Though Yetta is far from the grandmotherly character type we expect to see, she feels like she could be anyone’s grandmother. Her love of her grandchildren is obvious, her mind is not what it was, and she still has conflicts with her children.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

This will be my last character review post for the The Nanny. Come back next week to find out which group of characters I will be reviewing next.

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The Nanny Character Review: Valerie Toriello

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Nanny. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. Every rom-com heroine needs a best friend to bounce off. On The Nanny, Fran Fine‘s (Fran Drescher) best friend is Valerie Toriello (Rachel Chagall).

The Ethel to Fran’s Lucy, Val is as loyal as a bestie can be, but she is not the brightest bulb in the box. On the occasion that they have a disagreement, Fran knows that the best tool in her toolbox is Val’s lack of intelligence. Both perennially single, they sometime get together with C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane) and make a promise (which never comes to fruition) to stop looking for a man. At the end of the series, Val is the bridesmaid at Fran’s wedding to Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy). She and her boyfriend are also expecting their first child.

To sum it up: The best relationships, whether they are romantic or friends, have yin/yang feel to it. What one person lacks, the other has and visa versa. Fran and Val work are believable as friends because they have this balance and knowledge of each other that is organic and natural. Val is also not just a copy of Fran, allowing her to stand on her two two feet.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

P.S. It takes a smart actor to play a dumb character. Chagall is clearly one smart cookie.

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The Nanny Character Review: Sylvia Fine

*I apologize for not posting last week. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Nanny. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. Our parents hopefully want the best for us. The problem is when their ideas for how our life should turn out conflict with reality.

On The Nanny, Sylvia Fine (Renee Taylor), has one wish for her younger daughter, Fran (Fran Drescher): to get married and give her grandchildren. But neither appears in the be in the cards for Fran’s immediate future, to both of their dismay. She appears to be the stereotype of the overbearing Jewish mother. She clearly loves her children, but does not recognize or understand personal and emotional boundaries. Other than eating and worrying about Fran’s marital status, she spends her time playing Canasta. For a short time, Maxwell’s son, Brighton (Benjamin Salisbury) was her teammate.

When Fran is employed by Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) to be his children’s nanny, her relationship with her charges goes well beyond that of a paid employee. The running joke about Sylvia is that she is rarely without a plate of food in front of her. When Fran and Max married towards the end of the series, she dared guests to object and was thrilled when she finally became a grandmother.

To sum it up: Though Sylvia is a comic character and can be seen as a predictable cliché, her heart is in the right place. The maternal feelings are obvious, even when her actions are a bit over the top.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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The Nanny Character Review: Grace Sheffield

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Nanny. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. Losing a parent at any age is difficult. But the loss is harder when your young and you do not have the language or the emotionally capacity to express your feelings as an adult would.

On the The Nanny, Grace Sheffield (Madeline Zima) is the youngest of widower Maxwell Sheffield‘s (Charles Shaughnessy) three children. Acutely aware that her mother has passed on, Grace has been seeing a therapist to deal with the loss. These weekly sessions have given her an outlook on the world that most children her age don’t have. When her father hires Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) to look after his children, she finds the mother figure that she has been missing. Grace becomes the daughter that Fran has yet to have. They go nearly everywhere together and Grace quickly adopts Fran’s clothing style and way of speaking.

To sum it up: Though the five stages of grief are pretty standard, how we deal with that experience differs from person to person. Grace’s journey is that of a young girl who at first, is unable to process that she is down to a single parent. But when Fran enters her life, she is able to move away from the heartbreak, but still hold onto the memories of her mother.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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The Nanny Character Review: Brighton Sheffield

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Nanny. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. There is no one like your pesky little brother. They have the ability to get under your skin as few can. They can also speak the truth about the family dynamic when others cannot.

On The Nanny, Brighton Sheffield (Benjamin Salisbury) is the middle child and only son of Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy). Bookended by an older sister, Maggie (Nicholle Tom) and a younger sister, Grace (Madeline Zima), he feels lost in the shuffle. Without his late mother to support him and his father working constantly, Brighton feels a little lost in the shuffle. When Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) is hired by Maxwell to be his children’s nanny, he is not sure about the new addition to the household. But he quickly warms up to her, looks up to her, and appreciates her down to earth perspective. He also loves to tease Maggie, as kid brother brother does. But what he gives she gives back ten fold.

Like many young boys, Brighton looks up to his father and is eager to follow is his father’s footsteps. He also has one eye on the girls. While his father approves, Fran does not approve. He also bonds with Fran’s mother and grandmother via a mutual love of Canasta. In later years, he becomes hysterical when anyone mentions his trust fund. At the end of the series Brighton chose to put off college for a year and become a mime in France.

To sum it up: What makes Brighton stand out is that he is the average kid brother. He looks up to his father, teases his older sister relentlessly, and has girls on the brain. He also has a big heart and knows that Fran is the female presence he needs as he grows up.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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The Nanny Character Review: Maggie Sheffield

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Nanny. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Let’s be honest, being a teenager is scary. Our hormones are raging, we are confused about everything, and we are trying to build the bridge from childhood to adulthood. On The Nanny, Maggie Sheffield, the oldest of the three Sheffield children, (Nicholle Tom) is initially introduced as a shy young woman in her early teens. Her first burst of change comes via her first kiss from a waiter who has been hired for an event at the Sheffield home. While her father, Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) is horrified, her new nanny, Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) is thrilled.

As Maggie grows up, Fran becomes more like an older sister/confidant than a paid member of the household staff. While her father does everything he can to keep her from growing up, Fran encourages Maggie to enjoy her teenage years. She also gets quite a bit of brotherly ribbing from her younger brother Brighton (Benjamin Salisbury). When we last see Maggie, she is a newly married to a Jewish underwear novel.

To sum it up: What makes Maggie relatable as a character is that she is a normal teenage girl. She is watched like a hawk by her father, teased by her kid brother and encouraged to enjoy life by the maternal figure in her life.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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