The few friends that I have and know me well make fun of me often for liking terrible shows and sitcoms. I was thinking about it a bit today, as I was catching up on Fran Drescher’s tweets, and I kind of realized one reason why I get so drawn into shows like Reba and The Nanny.
I enjoy themes of family led by kind women.
It’s by no means a definitive thing about me, nor is it particularly grand in my discovery of it, but I just thought it was interesting to realize that little bit about myself.
In the case of Reba, I always joke that I love the show because she’s just a good Christian woman. She loves her kids, no matter how stupid they are. And they really are stupid. The jokes and the writing are simple enough, but I think there is a warmth to the show that I really enjoy. My favourite part about it is Reba’s relationship with Barbra Jean because it’s one of the biggest examples of kindness. It’s not done in a preachy way at all, but Reba’s reluctance to make peace with her ex-husband’s wife carries themes of forgiveness and tolerance. And what I appreciate is that while Barbra Jean technically should have been the evil “other woman,” the show made her out to be so awesome and lovely. Dudes, I love Barbra Jean.
With The Nanny, there is something about Fran Drescher that gives me a similar impression. There’s weird mother-ness to Fran that I really like. Even with the show revolving around an inappropriate Fraulein Maria, it was never really a question of whether or not Fran could take care of the children. It was almost a given that she was that way. It was just Mr. Sheffield’s weird commitment issues. And while I kind of think the last season really went to hell in a handbasket, there were parts of it that make me imagine what Fran Drescher was like while the show was still going.
Perhaps it’s a reflection of how I feel about my own unconventional mother, who was our family’s breadwinner and also covered up her kindness with some kind of non-standard veil. She would never say dumb, lovey, wishy-washy shit, but she was always clear in her actions that she loved us. When it came to her children, there were very few limits. And I like to think that it was a great lesson to pass on to us.
Apart from how to make ghetto midnight snacks like boiled Spam and Vienna sausages in our pajamas, that is.
The other thing is that I get the impression that these women are genuinely kind. They don’t seem pretentious, nor do they try to be more than they are. I really like that. The aspiration for me then becomes about achieving the same genuine quality, rather than more materialistic endeavours. (Although I do still get that feeling when I see shows like The Good Wife or Damages. Now that’s another breed of women I also aspire to be. In a balanced way, of course. Fuckin’ love Christine Baranski.)