I grew up watching “The Nanny.” No one else in my family liked it while it ran on CBS in the ‘90s, but I insisted on watching every episode. I rewatched the entire series in my teen years when it played after “The Golden Girls” on Lifetime. Don’t lie – you did too. And I know you know the theme song.
The story of the flashy girl from Flushing, our own Fran Fine, is a timeless classic. It’s a Cinderella story of sorts. After being dumped and fired, plucky Fran finds work with the uptight Sheffield family and shakes up their world in a good way. She ends up married to the father and painting their boring kitchen a bright tangerine. It’s a triumph for girls who sometimes get chastised for being a little “too much.”
I learned a lot from “The Nanny.” It even taught child me what gay was. (I’m serious. I told my classmates the next day.) Even though it’s been off the air for years and does seem a bit dated, there are lots of lessons to learn from Fran and company.
- It’s good to be a little flashy. Sure, some folks give you the onceover when you enter a room, but they’re just jealous of your style and charm. Every day deserves a little extra flash.
- Don’t make yourself small to fit in. Fran never changes herself to fit in in the Sheffield’s world. If you were in her situation, wouldn’t you have felt the pressure to change yourself? Fran doesn’t. She makes them change to suit her, and it works out perfectly for all of them. They’re all much happier learning to have a little fun and be themselves.
- Leopard print is a neutral. It pairs perfectly with any color, no matter how bright. It can be worn year-round – try a leopard print coat in the winter or a two-piece suit for a formal occasion. I feel like Nicki Minaj and Fran would get along.
- If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Fran’s the nanny, but she never, ever slops around in sweatpants or bad jeans. She plays up her hot body in tight little outfits and wears a full face of makeup and a big hairdo no matter how small the occasion is.
- Love your mother. Fran and her pushy mother Sylvia fight and bicker, but they love each other dearly. Fran knows just which Mama Lessons to listen to and which ones to forget about. (Say that in a Queens accent, please.)
- Believe in your dreams. Fran falls madly in love with Maxwell and never strays from her ultimate goal – to be his wife. They end up married and the parents of twins! (Of course, this isn’t all that plausible, but hey – it’s TV.)
- Embrace your imperfections. Fran has the most nasal voice in the world, but does she try to change it? Nope. It’s part of her and she rolls with it. Can you imagine the show without that cackle? I think it was part of her allure, honestly.
- Be understanding and supportive to your people. The Sheffield kids love Fran instantly because she’s open, giving and loving. She doesn’t talk down to them and she listens to their problems and concerns, then tries to help them find a solution. She might not always go about it in the right way, but her heart is in the right place.
- Be positive. Though Fran gets dealt a rough hand more than a few times, she gets right back up and tries again. (Of course, for her her biggest challenge is being 30 and single, which we know is totally OK. She wins out in the end.)
- If you place a slice of pizza on top of another, your body is fooled into thinking it’s only one slice. I think that’s the biggest lesson we can learn from Fran.