DVR Review: The Nanny (The Complete Series)

Fran Drescher would be a star in my heart for her roles on Saturday Night Fever, This Is Spinal Tap and UHF. But that doesn’t exactly make you a household name. Few people would imagine Fran would be a major star with a voice and laugh that have the ability to split a crowded room. But she was able to parlay tones that should have kept her off television into a character could play it up to win an audience. If Fran had been a usual sitcom character of struggling actress looking for her big break, she would have been canceled at pilot season. Instead she found a role that made her a comic star at the end of the 20th century. She’d be the outsider meant to irritate a staid society in The Nanny. The first three of the six seasons came out on DVD. But after six years of waiting The Nanny: The Complete Series completes Fran’s first major break through.

Fran Fine (Drescher) isn’t having a great life. Her job at a bridal shop has vanished when her boyfriend dumps her for a new salesgal. She doesn’t pout too much. She gets a job selling cosmetics door to door and rings the bell to a Broadway producer’s home. Turns out the butler Niles (Daniel Davis) mistakes her for an applicant to be a nanny to the producer Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy), the Broadway producer, after the butler Niles (Daniel Davis) thinks that she is there to apply for the job as the nanny. Even without any real experience, she sticks the audition. She gets to take care of Margaret (Nicholle Tom), Brighton (Benjamin Salisbury) and Grace (Californication‘s Madeline Zima). Fran’s a bit over her head when the eldest daughter gets caught in a delicate situation. Even though she seems poised to join the long list of fired Sheffield nannies, Fran gets saved by her Queens logic. Thus began her employment that lasted 146 episodes.

The show seems to be one of the last TV shows to have an opening theme song that recaps the pilot episode and sets the tone for the episodes. “Smoke Gets in Your Lies” makes one of the kids think that the secret to being popular in school is to smoke and drink. It’s up to Fran to establish what truly makes you cook in school. Of course nowadays its your iPhone apps. The Nanny wisely doesn’t turn into I Love Lucy with Fran constantly meddling to get cast in his latest show. But she does like rubbing shoulders with certain famous folks. She thinks Cher is rehabbing from plastic surgery at her house. Later she gets to meet Erik Estrada. He’s her dream date. The coolest episode is “The Bobbie Fleckman Story.” Why is it so cool? Because Fran brings back her character from This Is Spinal Tap.

The last part of the series allows things to heat up between Fran and her boss. This being a primetime sitcom, there’s a bit of formality as their romance blossoms and freaks out all those around them. They’re both catches in their own social circles. After nearly five seasons, it makes sense to make them become a couple. Unlike other sitcoms, turning sexual tension into a married couple didn’t ruin the dynamic between the characters. The relationship is still awkward. The couple are never too comfortable. The tension is always around when Fran unleashes her laugh. She’s still a gal from Queens who accepted the challenge of being The Nanny.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers allow Fran’s sparking outfits to shimmer on the screen. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo. The levels are find for a shot live before a studio audience series. The episodes are Closed Captioned.

Making of the Nanny (20:56) allows Fran and her ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson to tell how they caught a CBS executive on a plane flight and worked him into a meeting. The rest of the cast also talk about their time on the sitcom. Th

The Unique Vision of the Nanny (29:57) deals with Fran stepping up from being second banana. Peter asks the questions.

The Nanny Finds a Home (28:46) presents a master class from Fran of how you get people to watch a sitcom. What did she do to make her character attractive. She made her Fran a lover of fashion.

The Nanny Reunion – A Nosh to Remember (41:47) brings together the cast for a meal at Fran’s house. While the cast has grown up, Fran looks eternally youthful.

The Nanny: The Complete Series allowed Fran Drescher to become a star in her proper environment. She didn’t have to tone down her personality to get people to enjoy her sense of humor. The Nanny is a fun sitcom about what happens when Queens logic gets applied to the upper crust.

Shout! Factory presents The Nanny: The Complete Series. Starring: Fran Drescher, Charles Shaughnessy, Daniel Davis, Benjamin Salisbury & Renée Taylor. Boxset contents: 146 episodes on 19 DVDs. Released: May 26, 2015.