Judge Patrick Naugle is fully aware that this review will probably incite a flood of hostile e-mails from livid Fran Drescher fans. He doesn't give a damn.
Our review of The Nanny: The Complete Third Season, published April 30th, 2009, is also available.
"She's the lady in red when everybody else is wearing tan.
Welcome to DVD Verdict's TV Math 101! Please review the following word problem:
Flashy, Whiny Girl From New "Yawk" plus Needy, Disgustingly Wealthy Single Parent Family With Three Kids, A Handsome Father, and Wacky Butler plus Goofy, Cloying, and Obvious Comedy Involving Working Class Folks Interacting With Upper Class Snobs plus Pulls At Your Heartstrings minus Insightful, Humorous Comedy equals The Nanny: The Complete First Season
In what may be considered a sign of the impending apocalypse—in fact, I think Fran Drescher may be one of the four horsemen—The Nanny: The Complete First Season has come to DVD. I want everyone to know this upfront: The Nanny ran from 1993 to 1999. In my book, that means it ran for six—I reiterate—six long years. Who, exactly, was the audience for this show, aside from nasally big-haired women from the Bronx?
I would like to tell you that, after revisiting The Nanny, I was happy to find it a cute nostalgic delight. It is no such thing. The Nanny is a show of obvious humor, wit as sharp as a butter knife, punctuated by Fran Drescher's annoying laugh (I hear some scientists have found her giggles capable of killing small marsupials). The jokes are broad, and none are even remotely funny. For instance, when Fran tells a young Nicholle Tom a way to woo men with perfume she notes, "A few drops strategically placed on the pulse points…here, here and [about to point to her breasts]…between the eyes." Ha ha! Get it!? She didn't want to point to her boobs, so she pointed to her eyes! Oh my, I think I'll go slit my wrists now.
The cast is filled with forgettable actors saying forgettable lines. Charles Shaughnessy plays Fran's love interest, an upper-class theater producer who is "batty" in the ways of the common man. Daniel Davis is the stuffy British butler who is supposed to be as handy with a comeback as he is with a feather duster, except that his comebacks consist of snide remakes that make Mama's Family look like The Importance of Being Earnest. The rest of the cast includes a bunch of rather annoying child actors and the stodgy Lauren Lane as C.C. Babcock, who is, ah, who the hell cares at this point?
Of course, the show revolves around Fran Drescher as Fran Fine, a woman I wouldn't let clean out my garage much less raise my three impressionable young children. Remember how funny Fran Drescher was in This Is Spinal Tap? You'll find none of that here. Instead you'll find Fran (Lord, even typing her name drives me bonkers) crying a lot—often wailing at the top of her lungs, nose pointed toward the ceiling—and partaking in a lot of aw-shucks did I do thats? in a cutesy way that makes you want to vomit out your spleen.
The show often revolves around Fran's I Love Lucy-esque pratfalls and goof-ups. Yet for all her follies she's still loved by her wealthy TV family, because in TV land no one ever stays mad at the help for more than 23 minutes. Sadly, it can't be said that the series ever gained momentum during its over half decade run—from start to finish this was a flaccid show. Those nostalgic for TV of the '90s will eat this up—hey, I know how hard it is to sit through a full episode of Saved By The Bell unless you watched it as a kid. For the rest of you, this is one nanny you can kick to the curb.
Each of these 22 episodes is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. And thank the good Lord that we get such clear transfers! Yes, now you can see every one of Fran's obnoxious wardrobes in vivid color. While this show will never be confused with quality shows like Six Feet Under, the transfers are all representative of the original broadcast versions.
The soundtracks for each of the episodes are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. You may have to listen to Fran's high-pitched squeal in 2.0 Stereo, but at least it ain't in DTS 5.1. Phew. There isn't much to say about these mixes—they're all clearly heard and well recorded, and that's about it. Also included on this set are French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles.
There is good news and bad news on the supplemental front. The good news is that fans of The Nanny will be thrilled to see commentaries and a making-of retrospective included on this disc. The bad news is that there are commentaries and a making-of retrospective on this disc. Three episodes include commentary by Fran Drescher, though it's not what I'd call a riveting listen. The brief "Making Of The Nanny" retrospective includes interviews with a few of the cast and crew members, including Nicholle Tom, Fran Drescher, and others.
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• "The Making Of The Nanny" Retrospective
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