Things Only Adults Notice In The Nanny
Whether you were a kid or an adult in the ’90s, chances are you’ve seen at least a few episodes of “The Nanny.” The classic sitcom centers on Fran Fine, the stylish 30-something cosmetics saleswoman from Flushing, Queens, New York, who is hired by a desperate Broadway producer, Maxwell Sheffield, to look after his three children, Maggie, Brighton, and Gracie.
Fran moves into their Manhattan home where she quickly becomes part of the family — much to the chagrin of Maxwell’s business partner, C.C. Babcock, who has long been in love with Maxwell. Rounding out the cast of characters are Niles, the butler; Fran’s mom, Sylvia; and Fran’s best friend, Valerie Toriello — it’s a cast that is largely unrecognizable today.
“The Nanny” is just as iconic today as it was during its original run from 1993 to 1999. Fran’s incredible wardrobe and her Yiddish catchphrases still slay, and the romantic tension between her and Maxwell is still must-view television. Other things, however, are eyebrow-raising — but only if you’re an adult. Here are some of the things you may not have noticed as a kid watching “The Nanny.”
Did Fran in The Nanny really take a taxi from Queens to Manhattan?
In the first episode of “The Nanny,” we see Fran fired from her job in Queens by her boyfriend/boss, Danny. Danny wants her out so he can give her job to his new girlfriend. Heartbroken, Fran takes up a job as a door-to-door cosmetics salesperson, which is how she finds herself at the Sheffield home.
The opening credits show her hopping into a cab, going “over the bridge from Flushing to the Sheffields’ door.” Anyone who has traveled between NYC’s boroughs knows they’re so large they may as well be cities unto themselves. It’s hard to believe that someone who just lost their job would be forking over the money it would cost to take a taxi from Queens to Manhattan.
These days, NYC taxi fare starts at $2.50 plus $2.50 each mile or $0.50 for each minute stuck in traffic, and it still would have likely been expensive in the ’90s. In heavy traffic, the trip can take up to 40 minutes, so it seems more likely that Fran would have traveled the 16.4 miles from Queens to Manhattan by subway.
How was Fran hired as The Nanny without a background check?!
The entire premise of “The Nanny” hinges on Maxwell Sheffield being so desperate to find someone to take care of his kids that he hires the door-to-door cosmetics saleswoman, Fran Fine – in spite of the fact that she has no prior experience as a nanny. We can certainly understand Maxwell needing to hire someone in a jiffy, and we can even understand why he’d permanently hire her after seeing how good she is with his kids.
What doesn’t make sense, though, is that he does all of this without so much as a background check. He doesn’t even attempt to speak to any of Fran’s references. For all he knows, Fran could have a criminal record or a history of endangering children. “The Nanny” takes place before Google, of course, but background checks were definitely a thing back in the ’90s, and we’ve got to question Maxwell’s lack of caution here.
Gracie isn't the only Sheffield who should be in therapy on The Nanny
In the first episode of “The Nanny,” we’re introduced to Gracie, the youngest of the Sheffield children. Gracie is returning from a therapy appointment in her introductory scene, which is treated as a punchline and used to demonstrate that Gracie is in need of a loving nanny. We later learn that she attends therapy multiple times a week — something that’s presented as abnormal — and that she has an imaginary friend.
It would be nice if “The Nanny” showed therapy as a useful tool that anyone can benefit from, instead of stigmatizing it as something that only “troubled” people need. In fact, it’s clear that the whole family could benefit from therapy. Maxwell is clearly still grieving the death of his wife, and all of his kids miss their mom. Therapy could help them heal and also bring them closer together as a family.
The whole family has suffered a loss, and all the kids are struggling. Bottom line: Looking after your mental health is important, and there’s no shame in going to therapy.
Maxwell giving C.C. a dog on The Nanny was incredibly irresponsible
Giving someone a pet without seeing if they want a pet or are ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet is incredibly irresponsible, but that’s what Maxwell does on “The Nanny.” It’s clear right off the bat that C.C., the recipient of his so-called generosity, is not a dog person, but she accepts the Pomeranian Maxwell gives her because she is so happy to receive a gift from the man she loves.
C.C. is not the best of dog owners and often passes him off to Fran or Niles to look after. The dog, Chester, doesn’t even seem to particularly like her. She’s not exactly neglectful, but it’s evident that C.C. would not have adopted on her own.
Having a pet is a huge commitment, and it’s not one that someone should have unexpectedly thrust upon them. As PETA put it, “It is unfair to give a living, feeling being to anyone unless you’re absolutely certain that the recipient wants that particular animal as a companion and is willing and able to provide a lifetime of proper care.”
Exactly how rich is Maxwell Sheffield on The Nanny?!
It’s obvious that Maxwell on “The Nanny” is rich, but exactly how rich? Manhattan real estate is not cheap — even in the ’90s, his massive home would have cost a pretty penny. We know there are at least six bedrooms (one for each of the kids, along with Maxwell, Fran, and Niles), an office, a huge living room, a foyer, a kitchen, a dining room, and even a wine cellar.
According to Comparably, the average Broadway producer these days is only bringing in $150,000 a year, so he was likely making less than that in the ’90s — small beans when you consider the high cost of living in Manhattan and the fact that Maxwell employs two full-time domestics and sends his kids to private school. Sure, successful producers make more, but we know that Maxwell isn’t exactly at the top of his game considering how often he’s compared to the far more successful Andrew Lloyd Weber.
Maxwell is a millionaire, but he’s not self-made. His family has a lot of money, and we know that most of his family is titled, so it seems likely that his trust fund is footing a lot of his bills. The Sheffield fortune must be vast, indeed.
Why is Billy Ray Cyrus kissing teenage girls on The Nanny?!
One episode of “The Nanny” features Billy Ray Cyrus holding a kissing contest to find a girl to appear on the cover of his next album. Maggie eagerly enters the contest, even though she’s underage, and Cyrus was in his 30s when the episode was filmed. The kiss isn’t actually shown on screen, and Maggie doesn’t win (Fran does), but it’s still pretty creepy that no one comments on how inappropriate it is that a grown man is going around kissing girls half his age.
Another episode of “The Nanny” has a 17-year-old Maggie dating a 25-year-old. While Fran and Maxwell are both opposed to the relationship based on the grounds that the guy is too old for Maggie, again, no one says that it’s actually inappropriate that a man of his age would be dating an underage girl in the first place. Fran, herself, casually alludes to having had a relationship with her math teacher in high school and doesn’t seem to be bothered by the power imbalance in the relationship.
C.C. is actually a tragic character on The Nanny
C.C. Babcock is the primary antagonist of “The Nanny.” For most of the series, she’s portrayed as a woman hopelessly in love with her boss, Maxwell, who will do anything to get his attention. Her feelings for Maxwell mean that she resents Fran, especially after it becomes clear that there’s some major chemistry between Fran and Maxwell. C.C. is often seen making fun of Fran — whom she calls “Nanny Fine” — and often conspires to get her out of the Sheffield home.
C.C. is the punchline of many of the show’s jokes and is frequently the subject of Niles’ witty barbs. Her insecurity and her perpetually single state are often used as punchlines. She’s not really a sympathetic character, but it’s still hard not to feel sorry for C.C.
Here’s a beautiful, successful woman from a privileged background, but she can’t seem to catch a break in her personal life. The man she loves doesn’t love her, she seems to have few friends, and even her dog doesn’t like her very much, obviously preferring Fran. She may not be a nice person, but it’s also easy to see why she’s so jaded.
The relationship between C.C. and Niles on The Nanny makes absolutely no sense
Fran’s relationship with Maxwell on “The Nanny” is an unlikely one, but at least it doesn’t strain credulity like the relationship between C.C. and Niles does. The two are pretty much at each other’s throats for most of the series, before getting together towards the end of the show’s run.
While enemies falling in love isn’t an unheard trope in romantic comedies, C.C. and Niles seem to truly loathe each other for most of the show. Niles’ quips about C.C. are incredibly cruel, and throughout the show he calls her many names, refers to her as an animal, and even seemingly encourages her to harm herself.
It’s not exactly a solid basis for a relationship, and Daniel Davis, who played Niles, didn’t think much of the relationship either. “C.C. and I had been so oil and water — I didn’t buy that we would end up married,” he told news.com.au. Davis added, “I guess they were just wanting to tie up the loose ends.”
Maxwell is rather violent on The Nanny
Maxwell Sheffield is an attractive, successful, and wealthy man, but is he really the total package that “The Nanny” would have us think he is? His will-they, won’t-they romance with Fran is at the center of the show, but, all in all, we think Fran could do better. Take Maxwell’s brother, Nigel, for instance, whom Fran is briefly involved with and nearly marries.
Maxwell, for all his charms, has serious anger management issues. When he’s upset — which is often — he screams at and berates Fran, and many episodes end with him chasing her up the stairs after becoming angry with her. This is all played off as domestic comedy, but it could just as easily be a prelude to domestic abuse.
Maxwell never actually physically harms Fran, but emotional abuse is still abuse. There’s also a lot of manipulation going on, such as when he proposes to Fran to get back at his mother but doesn’t tell her that the proposal isn’t a genuine one. Fran deserves better.
Could Maxwell and Fran's relationship on The Nanny really go the distance?
After several years of keeping their feelings for each other suppressed, Maxwell and Fran finally stop calling each other Miss Fine and Mr. Sheffield and get married on “The Nanny,” eventually having twins. We’ve got to wonder about the longevity of their relationship, though. Sure, they care about each other, but is that enough? The two are from very different backgrounds, and Maxwell has expressed his annoyance with Fran on more than one occasion — not to mention how grating he finds her voice.
There’s also the politics of it all. Fran seems to be pretty liberal-leaning, while Maxwell is an avowed Republican. That might have been a reconcilable difference in the less-turbulent ’90s, but could they survive a more divisive political climate? It makes one wonder how their marriage fares in a more polarizing time such as the Trump administration. Can Maxwell and Fran really go the distance?
Fran's feet HAVE got to be killing her on The Nanny
There’s no denying that Fran Fine has some seriously good fashion sense on “The Nanny.” Her outfits on “The Nanny” are iconic, even decades after the show wrapped. Her massive wardrobe consists of lots of sequins, form-fitting garments, short skirts, and tons of high heels.
Fran is almost always seen strutting around in high heels. Her kicks are stylish, to be sure, but, as an adult, you can’t help but wince thinking about all the pressure she’s putting on her feet all the time. How does she manage to stay on her feet all day? Doesn’t she ever get the urge to trade in the heels for a cozy pair of slippers? She’s not just wearing her heels when running errands or picking up the kids, after all, but also when she’s at home, so her feet have got to be killing her. Someone get this woman a pair of loafers!
Niles is overworked on The Nanny
Niles is technically the butler of the Sheffield home in “The Nanny,” but his workload is out of control. Not only does he answer the door and oversee the household — things that you would typically expect a butler to do — but he also seems to do all the cooking, all the cleaning, and all the laundry for the household in addition to acting as an assistant and confidante to his boss, Maxwell.
Where does he find the time in the day to do all of these things? And why doesn’t Maxwell at least hire a cleaning service to take on some of the cleaning duties around the house? Let’s also not forget that the Sheffield home is huge, which makes keeping it clean an even bigger chore. It also makes you wonder why Niles puts up with it. Surely, there are other places he could get a job where he wouldn’t be so overworked. Poor Niles.
The Manhattan we see in The Nanny is remarkably quiet
“The Nanny” is obviously fictional, but the quiet streets of the Manhattan portrayed on the show seem to come from a parallel universe. We can understand why you don’t hear a lot of traffic sounds inside the Sheffield mansion — no doubt the home was built with sturdy materials, and, besides, Maxwell could spring for soundproofing if needed — but even when characters are outside the house, things are pretty quiet. Even during scenes that take place in cars we only hear the occasional car horn, and the parks Fran brings Gracie to are eerily quiet.
Where’s the hustle and bustle of Manhattan? There’s a reason NYC is called the city that never sleeps, and anyone who has ever been to the Big Apple knows that the streets are always filled with traffic and noise. So how is it so quiet all the time on “The Nanny”?
Body shaming is prevalent in The Nanny
There’s a lot to love about “The Nanny,” but one thing we could really do without is all the show’s body-shaming jokes. Characters frequently make snide comments about other people’s weight. The slim Fran often expresses her fear of turning into her mother, Sylvia, whose size and eating habits are a running gag on the series.
At one point, Sylvia considers undergoing plastic surgery to remove fat from her upper arms. It’s clear that being thin is considered to be the ideal by people on the show, and we don’t see much love for curvier bodies. Even C.C.’s appearance is mocked and, while she’s not as svelte as Fran, she’s still on the slim side.
Let’s hope that if “The Nanny” gets a reboot, the new iteration of this beloved show will be a lot more body positive and inclusive this time around.
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