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Lessons I’ve Learned from Rewatching ‘The Nanny’

Although it is so annoying to manage a multitude of streaming service subscriptions to have access to all our favorite shows, streaming services do tend to make a strong argument in their favor. For me, HBO Max has just won with the strongest argument of all--every season of The Nanny. I remember all the times when I was younger that I would try so hard to stay up long enough and catch a few episodes before falling asleep. It was hands down one of my favorite shows then. Now that I’ve been rewatching it, I can easily say it’s still one of my favorites, and it comes with another perk. Through the shenanigans of Fran Fine and the Sheffield family, the show teaches quite a few valuable lessons that we can all hold on to.

Never make yourself smaller to fit in somewhere

One of the lessons that Fran confronted the most throughout the show’s run was to never conform her own personality to fit into the Sheffields’ life. In fact, Fran’s bubbly, outgoing, and over-the-top personality often helped the scenarios that the other characters found themselves in, although there were also many occasions that it got Fran into her own messes. Even when she found herself in sticky situations, she was still true to herself and in the events that she did try to adapt and take on a different persona, those around her always showed how much they love her just the way she is. 

Don’t assume the people you love always see how much you care

Especially present throughout the first season as Fran adjusts to her new role as the nanny is the lesson that she teaches Maxwell about how to be a better father to his children. He throws himself into work and provides extravagant gifts, trips, and activities for his children, thinking that it’s the best way that he can support them. He overestimates how much they care about their lifestyle versus how much they value spending time with him. Throughout the show, Fran continues to show Maxwell how much the children truly want to spend time with him and she helps him reevaluate his priorities to show up for them.

It is never too late to start over

Although Fran often likes to conceal or even lie about her age, the truth is that her failed engagement and lost job leave her faced with a late restart. She finds a new passion, a new circle of loved ones, and eventually a new family with the Sheffields as a result. Maxwell is another example of a character that gets to start again at a late stage, finding love and a strengthened bond with his family after Fran comes into his life. Finally, in the later seasons of the show, C.C. and Niles get a fresh start together, finishing the series with the perfect enemies-to-lovers arc.

Don’t let other people’s negativity get you down

Although there were many times when Fran’s contrasting personality was helpful in situations with the high society friends and associates of the Sheffields, there were also many times that she experienced negativity in this environment. Some of Maxwell’s acquaintances (including his coworker C.C.) would criticize and make fun of Fran’s background, voice, and style. Luckily, Fran often emerged out of those situations with strong confidence in herself and her loved ones again affirmed that being authentically herself is always the best route.

Don’t be afraid to express your style!

It’s no secret that Fran is a fashion icon. Even being surrounded by disdain from high society, Fran does not back down from dressing the way that makes her feel comfortable and confident. It’s also shown multiple times in the show that her fashion style (and her authenticity, again) lead her to some of her greatest successes. Fran’s unwavering sense of fashion gives a lesson that we can all take to heart about being our unapologetic, stylish selves.

Revisiting this old favorite of mine has brought me so much nostalgic joy, as well as giving me very important reminders of the life lessons its storylines included. From authenticity, to relationships, to style, Fran Fine had a lot to teach us over the course of six seasons.

Harlym Pike

Northwestern '22

Harlym Pike is a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina studying psychology, sociology, and theatre at Northwestern. In her free time, she loves to perform with her a cappella group, create content, and spend time with friends.
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