There once was a flashy girl from Flushing, Queens who schlepped all the way to the Upper East Side to spice up the lives of one incredibly milquetoast family. The rest is television history. In 1993, Fran Drescher’s The Nanny premiered on CBS and for six seasons brought the warmth, laughter, and chutzpah of a young Jewish American woman into the living rooms of millions. Decades later the series is still sitcom gold and a love letter to Drescher’s culture as well as a masterclass on owning outrageous fashion.
During its initial run, The Nanny was up against stiff competition in the sitcom genre which included shows like The Fresh Prince, Boy Meets World, and Full House. But none of those shows had the unique perspective of Drescher’s character, Fran Fine, a lower-middle-class Jewish woman from Queens living with a wealthy family headed by Maxwell Sheffield, the British theater producer who lived in the shadow of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Nanny Fine introduced the Sheffield children and viewing audiences to a completely different way of life, one that included Shabbat dinners and coats made from muppets.
After six seasons, The Nanny came to a close and found new life on Nick at Nite, the block of programming Nickelodeon that dealt exclusively in reruns. Now, The Nanny is back once again with all six seasons available to stream on HBO Max. Revisiting Fran and the Sheffields is like visiting your grandma’s house, there’s plastic on all the furniture and some of the jokes just don’t work anymore, but overall it’s a nice time to be had. One thing that remains unchanged: even after multiple rewatches, the eventual relationship between Niles and Cece makes absolutely no sense.