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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Nanny: The Complete First Season (review)

The jokes are awful: “That’s not the Queen Mother, that’s my mother from Queens!” The clichés are dreadful: Rich people are fake and repressed, blue-collar types are fresh and honest, and kids are precociously mean little buggers. And that voice! Fran Drescher’s Flushing-inflected diction could strip paint, and that seems to be the overarching goal of this most intolerable of sitcoms. Drescher’s relentless screeching is the biggest, unfunniest running joke of these 22 episodes from the premiere 1993-1994 season of what, shockingly, would become an Emmy-winning series. You’d think she’d puncture eardrums and drive people batty, but her new boss, a snobby Broadway producer (Charles Shaughnessy), and his kids appear to actually like her, even though she’s loud, obnoxious, and does all the things they should have expected a lowbrow sitcom nanny to do: lies to people about why she’s suddenly living in a Park Avenue mansion, indulges in wildly inappropriate sexual innuendo, colludes with the children to defy their father, and so much more. Oh, but I forgot: her working-class wisdom is keepin’ it real. Extras, if you can stand to listen, include commentaries by Drescher and a retrospective featurette.


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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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