Tag Archives: The Nanny

The Nanny Character Review: C.C. Babcock

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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

When we fall in love, we hope and expect that the person we love will love us back. But, that is not always the case. On The Nanny, C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane) has been romantically chasing her widower business partner, Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) since the death of his wife. To her chagrin and the delight of Niles (Daniel Davis), Maxwell falls for and marries Fran Fine (Fran Drescher), his children’s nanny.

A socialite and the daughter of divorced parents, C.C. took every opportunity she had as a child to be spoiled. When she enters the Sheffield house, she is greeted by her less than favorite sparring partner, Niles. He takes pleasure in mocking her about her age, her lack of a romantic partner, and most importantly, her numerous failures to turn her business partner into her life partner.

Things change between C.C. and Niles when their game of “top that” insults turn into lust. That lust turns into love, a marriage proposal, and a baby. When we last see C.C., she and Niles follow Max and Fran to California and his new television producing job.

To sum it up: When the one we love rejects us, we have two choices. Choice #1 is to do fight to get them back. Choice #2 is to accept what has happened and move on. Though C.C. eventually accepts that she will never be Maxwell’s other half, it takes her a while to get there.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City

The Nanny Character Review: Niles

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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

In the old days, the household staff in the homes of the wealthy were background players. They were expected to do their jobs quietly and efficiently, while remaining away from the spotlight. On The Nanny, Niles (Danny Davis) is the opposite of the traditional servant. Snarky, outspoken, a snoop, and a smartass, he is not above making a comment that others in his position would keep to themselves.

Having worked for Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) as his butler for decades, Niles feels protective of the family he serves. His best friend is Fran Fine (Fran Drescher), who works for Mr. Sheffield as his children’s nanny. He also takes pleasure is mocking C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane), Mr. Sheffield’s business partner whose many attempts to romance Maxwell have backfired.

Towards the end of the series, Niles comes to realize that the insults he has been flinging at C.C. are really flirting. When the insults turn into a kiss, it is a realization that is both hilarious and completely out of left field. When it comes to his boss and Fran, he has been rooting for them for years while undermining C.C. in claiming Maxwell for herself. Niles is also known for having a snack handy when Fran’s mother, Sylvia, (Renee Taylor) comes to visit.

To sum it up: We’ve all seen the compliant and complementary butler whose vocabulary ends with “yes sir” or “no ma’am”. While these characters are fine to watch, they’re boring. Niles shakes up the servant character, showing that there can be much more than the stock perception that many of us have of this role.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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The Nanny Character Review: Maxwell 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 loved one is hard enough. But losing your spouse or partner when your children are young is another level of grief. While dealing with the fact that the person you loved most in the world is gone, you also have the responsibility of being the sole parent.

On The Nanny, Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) is a Broadway producer and a widower with three kids. Though it is never clearly stated why his wife passed, it is obvious that her loss is still palpable. Due to a very busy work schedule, he is unable to spend as much time with his kids as he would like. Which is why he hires Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) as the nanny.

In the beginning, their relationship is strictly that of employer/employee. But over the course of five years, the mutual attraction as well as a Ricky/Lucy relationship begins to emerge. In contrast to Maxwell’s gentrified, sometimes emotionally distant upper class world, Fran comes from a lower class family who does not have access to the things he has, but has the love of a close family. When they are on a return flight back from Paris turbulence hits the plane, Maxwell blurts out that he is in love with her. After they get home, he takes it back giving his butler Niles (Daniel Davis) comic meat to hold over his boss’s head.

When he finally gathers the courage to be open about his feelings and propose, his business partner C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane) has a breakdown after years of romantically chasing him. The last time we see Maxwell, he and Fran are parents to infant twins and they are moving to Los Angeles where he is going to produce a television series.

To sum it up: It takes courage to find new love after the death of one’s spouse/partner. Live in the past is easy, opening your heart to someone new is harder. In eventually revealing his feelings for Fran and marrying her, he proves that it is possible to love again while still remembering the one you lost.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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The Nanny Character Review: Fran Fine

I apologize for the delay in the publication of the new character review posts. Life, as it does, got in the way last week.

*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. When it comes to ethnic or racial stereotypes, there is line that can be easily crossed into a gross misrepresentation of the culture that person represents. However, it can also be subverted to reveal the human being who exceeds the image they represent.

At first glance, Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) is your typical Jewish woman from New York City. She has a thick Queens accent, is obsessed with finding a husband and adores Barbra Streisand. When her fiancé dumps her, she has no choice but to go back to selling cosmetics door to door. One of the doors she knocks on is Maxwell Sheffield’s (Charles Shaughnessy). Maxwell is a Broadway producer and a widower with three growing children. Though she is a square peg in a round hole, Maxwell hires Fran to be his children’s nanny. Over the years, Fran becomes much more than the hired help. She is a mother figure to her charges and encourages them to see beyond the limited reaches of their Park Avenue mansion.

Fran brings much more than herself into the WASP-y Sheffield household. She brings her entire family. Her mother Sylvia (Renee Taylor) is preoccupied with the fact that her younger daughter is both single and childless. She is also known to nosh wherever and whenever she can. Fran’s best friend Val Toriello (Rachel Chagall) is not the brightest bulb in the box. Sylvia’s mother and Fran’s grandmother Yetta Rosenberg (Ann Morgan Guilbert) is sometimes senile and sometimes not senile.

The relationship between Fran and Maxwell is not exactly the most professional relationship between employer an employee. There is a palpable chemistry between them, resulting in a will they or won’t they question that hangs over the characters for five years. When they finally get together, it is to the delight of Maxwell’s children (whose relationship with Fran is of a pseudo-parental/child nature) and the butler Niles (Daniel Davis). It is only C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane), who looks upon the relationship with disdain. Her numerous attempts to create romantic sparks with Maxwell, her business partner have never succeeded.

To sum it up: Though Fran checks all of the boxes when it comes the stereotype of a Jewish woman, she is more than a list of expected traits and interests. She is warm, adventurous and when she loves, she loves completely.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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The Nanny and Home Alone Reboots are Unnecessary

Every twenty years or so, Hollywood looks to the past for inspiration. Much of this inspiration turns into reboots of beloved movies or television programs.

The most recent reboots to be announced are a Broadway adaptation of the 1990’s television program The Nanny and the early 90’s Christmas classic Home Alone.

As I see it, both are unnecessary. As much as I dislike the overuse of stereotypes, The Nanny is a charming and funny program about a fish out of water with a Sound of Music narrative. Home Alone and it’s first sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York are outright classics. After all of these years, not only do I not only know these movies by heart, but I always have a few belly laughs while watching the films.

While I understand the reason for wanting to reboot both The Nanny and Home Alone, neither reboot is necessary. Its as if there are no new ideas in Hollywood or producers are unwilling to consider new writers with new narratives.

I have an idea. Instead of rebooting older ideas, how about giving new writers with new voices and new stories a chance? I have a few stories that I would love to see transferred from page to screen.

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Thoughts On the Potential Buffy and Nanny Reboots

Success in the entertainment industry in general and on television is sometimes like catching lightning in a bottle. You may get lucky once, but getting lucky twice is an opportunity that very few experience.

Nostalgia, especially in Hollywood is often the impetus for the creation of certain television shows and movies. These days, nostalgia for the 1990’s opened the door for both Will and Grace and Roseanne (that is, before the show was cancelled due to the Roseanne Barr’s Twitter foot in mouth disease) to be successfully rebooted. But that doesn’t mean that every rebooted movie or television show based on a classic will be a hit.

Back in the day, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Nanny were two of the most popular shows on television. So naturally the question came about from the studios about rebooting both Buffy and The Nanny.

As much as I would be interested in a reboot of both shows, the reality is that not every television show that was rebooted was successful. The modern reboots of Charlie’s Angels and Bionic Woman failed miserably.

Only time will tell if both shows are rebooted and how successful the reboots may be. But sometimes, it’s best to let the past remain in the past and that includes television shows.

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Early Flashback Friday-Happily Divorced (2011-2013)

There is nothing like translating real world experiences into art.

In the short-lived television series, Happily Divorced (2011-2013), Fran Lovett (Fran Drescher) has just learned that her husband of nearly two decades, Peter Lovett (John Michael Higgins) is gay. Instead of going their separate ways, Fran and Peter decide to make their new relationship work.

Based on Drescher’s real life (her IRL ex husband Peter Marc Jacobson also came out of the closet during their marriage, they divorced after 21 years of marriage), the show tries to re-interpret the family sitcom for the modern era that we live in.

The problem with the show is that while it was moderately entertaining and funny, it did not have the lasting power of Drescher’s other show, The Nanny.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

 

 

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Throwback Thursday-TV Edition-The Nanny (1993)

Life can be very interesting sometimes. We think we are down for the count, but then an opportunity appears and we take it, not knowing what will happen.

In The Nanny (1993), Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) has been dumped by her boyfriend and has lost her job. In an effort to earn a living, she sells makeup door to door. She knocks on the door of Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy), a British widowed Broadway producer with three growing children. Believed to be on of the applicants who is looking to work for Mr. Sheffield as his children’s nanny, she takes on the position of raising her charges in a world that is not her own.

Fran is crass, outspoken, likes her hair big, her skirts small and raised in a Jewish family from Flushing. Maxwell is from the upper classes of Britain who is proper, controlled and respectable. While the basis of the story can be found in The Sound Of Music, there are also elements of I Love Lucy. But Fran also has a big heart and loves her charges as if they were her own.

Do I recommend it?  It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s nice way to unwind at the end of the day.

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