Tag Archives: Madeline Zima

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*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Mental Health, New York City

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*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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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Filed under Character Review, New York City, Television