If you’ve been on Gay Twitter™️ at any point over the past few weeks, you probably noticed that everyone is watching The Nanny. The classic ’90s sitcom starring Fran Drescher was only available on DVD until last month, when it finally hit HBO Max. Now people are re-discovering the zany antics of Fran Fine and the Sheffield family.
The Nanny has long been beloved by queer viewers for its sarcastic humor and I Love Lucy-inspired plots, but how are gay people treated on the show? The ’90s were a tricky time for LGBTQ acceptance on network television, with some of the most popular series of that time — we’re looking at you, Friends — featuring homophobic jokes and storylines.
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Thankfully, The Nanny was pretty ahead of the curve, according to queer pop culture connoisseur and YouTuber Matt Baume. In his latest video, Baume explores how the show handles gay characters.
For a series that ran from 1993–1999, the sitcom passes his test, with queer people almost never being the butt of the joke. Their sexual orientation is treated with little drama or concern (Mr. Sheffield does work in the theater, after all), which makes sense since Drescher co-created The Nanny with her ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, who eventually came out as gay. Their post-marriage friendship was the basis for Drescher’s TV Land sitcom, Happily Divorced.
Baume describes The Nanny as “The Sound of Music meets Mame,” so we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s so popular with the gays. Watch his breakdown of the sitcom in the video below.