!Main Cast (in order of billing):

!! Francine "Fran" Fine (Fran Drescher)

* AlliterativeName
* AnnoyingLaugh
* BewareTheSillyOnes: She may come off as nasal, big-haired, and desperate, but, people tend to forget she is also a hypermanipulative master of the CoolAndUnusualPunishment, most often in the form of forced proximity with her overbearing mother. She's also skilled with Jewish guilt, and can reduce feelings of triumph to bitter sadness with a snap of her fingers.
* BigEater: Though not to the same degree as her mother.
* BigSisterMentor: To the Sheffield children, especially Maggie. This was established in the season 1 episode "The Nuchshlep", when Fran tells Maggie she's too old for a nanny. Though this raises many problems [[spoiler:once Fran and Maxwell are married]], as Fran is expected to side with Maxwell on issues about the children.
* BookDumb: Not very educated but extremely street smart.
* BunnyEarsLawyer
* CuteButCacophonic: A doctor once mentioned that if Fran's adenoids were removed her head would cave in.
* DeadpanSnarker: Though of the kinder variety.
* FormerTeenRebel: One of the reasons she's so good at taking care of the children is that she's probably already pulled almost every stunt the Sheffield kids could ever think of. She once mentioned skipping school so often, "my homeroom was [=McDonalds=]" and caused her mother so much grief, she once said "when I started puberty, my mother was a size six, when I hit eighteen... so did she."
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Sanguine.
* GenkiGirl
* HappilyMarried: To [[spoiler:Maxwell]] in the last season.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: With Val.
* JewishMother: Acts like this to Maggie, Brighton, and Grace.
* LadyInRed: [[ThemeTune When everyone else is wearing tan.]]
* MagicalNanny
* MamaBear: Even before she [[spoiler:actually became their mother]].
* MatzoFever
* MsFanservice
* [[UsefulNotes/AmericanAccents New Yawk Accent]]
* NiceToTheWaiter: It's to be expected, considering her upbringing, but it deserves special mention since it's frequently contrasted with the snooty blue-bloods she usually deals with. One episode had her adamantly refuse to cross a picket line of striking busboys and had to be forcibly dragged by Maxwell. In another, when on a date with an obnoxious soap star, she addressed the driver by name whereas her date only called him "Driver." In fact, the first person from the Sheffield household to accept Fran was Niles, the butler.
* NoIndoorVoice
* OneOfTheKids: Part of the reason she makes such a good nanny.
* PhraseCatcher: ''"MISS FINE!"''.
* ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything: In the later seasons, she's rarely shown doing any work as a nanny. Although this is {{justified|Trope}} since two of the three children she was hired to take care of are practically adults by this point, and keeps her job because of her UnresolvedSexualTension with Maxwell (he also mentions how he keeps her around at least partly as an act of sympathy as she's not really qualified to do much of anything else, but his primary reason is mostly the former.) It gets {{lampshaded}} frequently, such as in an episode of the last season where Fran[[spoiler:, now Maxwell's wife,]] hires a new nanny who quickly realizes that she's not needed.
* PlatonicLifePartners: With Niles.
* PopCulturedBadass: Fran is very much this trope. She has an extremely detailed knowledge of pop culture, has the TV Guide memorized, and in at least one case even used her knowledge of pop culture to successfully track down the guy who kidnapped CC's dog (ItMakesSenseInContext). Arguably, Fran's ability to personify this trope was one of the reasons she was able to reinvigorate the dry Sheffield household when she moved in.
* QuirkyCurls
* SavvyGuyEnergeticGirl: With Maxwell.
* SheCleansUpNicely
* ShesGotLegs
* SignatureLaugh: Oh, that nasal, snorty laugh...
* SleepingWithTheBoss: after four seasons' worth of UnresolvedSexualTension between her and Maxwell, they almost wind up sleeping together while in Paris, during the Season 4 finale...but Maxwell [[SubvertedTrope backs out of it at the last moment]], offending Fran.
* TheSouthpaw
* [[spoiler:StacysMom: After she and Maxwell get married. There's actually an episode that centers around Brighton getting in a fight at school because some boys were ogling her.]]
* UnlimitedWardrobe: In "Fashion Show", it's explained that she gets her clothes from fashion designer Todd Oldham, who's her cousin, at discounted prices (well, alongside frequenting outlet malls and having '''astronomical''' credit card bills.)
* VerbalTic: She often starts sentences with "Meanwhile...".
* WillTheyOrWontThey: With Maxwell.

!!Maxwell Sheffield (Baron Charles Shaughnessy)

* AlwaysSomeoneBetter: He deals with this twice over. In the present day, he's always playing second fiddle to Andrew Lloyd Webber; during his school days, he always seemed to be coming in second place to Jeremy Irons.
* AmbiguouslyGay: This was occasionally joked at, mostly since he had a woman as gorgeous as Fran, who was blatantly head over heels for him, trotting around under his nose in short skirts and high heels for years and never made a move. In one episode, when he found himself ''still'' attracted to Fran while she was disguised as a man named "Wilbur" he made the joke a lot of others had made, wondering in spending years producing musical theater had finally affected him.
* BlueBlood
* BritishStuffiness: Both he and his entire family, with the exception of his brother Nigel, although he was considered the black sheep of the family and sort of the exception to the rule.
* {{Catchphrase}}: Maxwell's enraged bellow of ''"MISS FINE!"''
* CelebrityResemblance: It's a RunningGag that he is mistaken for Pierce Brosnan.
* DeadpanSnarker: When aggravated.
* DependingOnTheWriter: Maxwell will go back and forth between being GenreSavvy and a hapless buffoon in Fran's antics.
** In the early seasons, Maxwell will either be aware about his feelings for Fran or comically oblivious about it.
* EmbarrassingMiddleName: Beverly.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Melancholic.
* HappilyMarried: To [[spoiler:Fran]] in the last season.
* ObliviousToLove: PlayedForLaughs, though it's more like Oblivious To Lust, as Maxwell constantly misinterprets or overlooks C.C.'s attempts at winning his heart.
* OnlySaneMan
* OverprotectiveDad: Towards Maggie.
* PhraseCatcher: "Oh, Mistah Sheffield..." by Fran.
* SavvyGuyEnergeticGirl: Savvy Guy to Fran's Energetic Girl.
* SheIsNotMyGirlfriend: Shares this relationship with Fran for most of the series.
* SitcomArchNemesis: AndrewLloydWebber.
* SkunkStripe / LockedIntoStrangeness: It's been lampshaded a couple times that the gray streak came in around the same time as Fran.
* StiffUpperLip
* TallDarkAndHandsome
* UptownGirl: Gender flipped example with rich Broadway producer Maxwell falling for working-class Fran.
* WillTheyOrWontThey: With Fran.

!!Niles (Daniel Davis)

* BelligerentSexualTension: With C.C.
* DeadpanSnarker: As big as can be.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Phlegmatic.
* GentlemanSnarker: Niles' snarks are usually directed at people who deserve it, such as C.C.
* IWasQuiteALooker: In one episode, when Max wrote a thinly veiled story based on his life, Niles is moping that he wasn't invited to the premiere since he was the inspiration for the character of the houseboy. Fran snarks, "He was twenty-five with a blond pompadour and an impish grin." Niles bites back, "Well, so was I six hundred thousand Brillo pads ago."
* TheJeeves
* LegacyOfService: His father was the Sheffield butler before he was.
* LovingBully: To C.C.
* OlderThanTheyLook: Niles was a teenager when Max was still young enough to have a nanny himself, but he looks roughly the same age as him and Fran.
* OnlyOneName: "It's just Niles. Like Cher.".
* PayEvilUntoEvil: Considering C.C's JerkAss attitude, most of his insults towards her tend to fall under this category.
* PlatonicLifePartners: With Fran.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: He delivers one to C.C. after she begins mocking him for thinking he had a chance with her. Niles lays into her that at least he is trying to move on from his rejection, whereas she's spent a good chunk of her life chasing after a man (Maxwell) who has no interest in her and never will, and is still chasing after him even though he's now married and is having a child with his new wife. The thing is, rather than give a snappy comeback, this really hits C.C. where it hurts and she decides to resign from being Maxwell's partner. [[spoiler:She doesn't, and C.C. and Niles really do get together.]]
* SarcasticDevotee
* ScrewySquirrel: He's at his happiest tormenting C.C. with tricks and pranks.
* ServileSnarker
* ShipperOnDeck: For Fran and Maxwell.
* TheSouthpaw
* WhatTheHellHero: He pulls off a very big one after finally getting tired of Maxwell's indecisiveness with Fran.

!![[spoiler:Chastity Claire]] "C.C." Babcock (Lauren Lane)

* AntagonistInMourning: Happens twice to C.C.. Once when Fran leaves to become a soap opera star, C.C. is ecstatic until she finds out that Maxwell has hired [[Creator/PamelaAnderson Heather Biblow]] to take over as nanny. When Fran returns, C.C. hugs her, exclaiming "Don't you ever leave me again!" to a perplexed Fran. The second time was after Niles suffers a heart attack during a verbal spar with him.
* BelligerentSexualTension: With Niles.
* BettyAndVeronica: {{Subverted}}. [[WrongGenreSavvy She thinks she's Betty and Fran is Veronica to Maxwell's Archie]], but she's not even in the equation.
* BitchInSheepsClothing
* BlondesAreEvil
* BlueBlood
* BitchAlert: Her first interaction with Fran was a frostbitten sarcasm about her appearance.
* BreakTheHaughty
* ButtMonkey
* CatchPhrase: Often enters with "Hello, hello!"
* ChildHater: She can't even remember the names of Maxwell's children, or even the number, despite knowing them all their lives, and ''working from their home.'' Also, one time, when she was entertaining a group of ladies she mentioned how they were deciding between donating to their show or a Children's Milk Fund, saying how she didn't want any thirsty little brats getting in her way.
* CityMouse
* DeadpanSnarker
* DefrostingIceQueen: Towards the end.
* EmbarrassingFirstName: [[spoiler:Chastity Claire]], revealed in the finale.
* EnemyToAllLivingThings: So much so that [[DidYouJustHaveSex after having sex with]] [[spoiler:Niles]], she's shown singing and dancing with animals like Disney/{{Snow White|and the Seven Dwarfs}}, much to the surprise of everyone.
** In another episode, she was able to tell, over the car phone, that Fran had hit a rabbit while driving by recognizing the noise. [[FridgeHorror To repeat:]] She was able, over the phone, to identify what Fran hit, '''down to the species,''' merely by the sound it made when it was hit by a car.
* EvilLaugh: More of a mocking one.
* FirstGirlWins: Averted. She was the first girl, though arguably subverted since she ends up with [[spoiler:Niles]] in the end.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Choleric.
* HideYourPregnancy: Lauren Lane became pregnant during season 5, so it was written that C.C. got institutionalized after learning that [[spoiler:Fran and Maxwell got engaged]]. In one episode, she lampshades ''{{Seinfeld}}'''s use of this trope on Elaine Benes, later entering the room with a large sign that said "BABY" over her body.
* HopelessSuitor
* InformedDeformity: A quite jarring case: throughout the series Niles insinuates that C.C. is unattractive, despite the fact that she actually looks quite beautiful (it was her personality that was unattractive!). Justified later on in the series when it turns out that Niles has just been saying this to cover up the fact that [[spoiler:]he's actually madly in love with C.C.]] (For the most part, in the early episodes, it would appear that Niles simply hates her so much he's coming up with every insult he can to throw at her. He also calls her a cow, a hooker, and a witch.)
* ItsAllAboutMe: Even though [[DefrostingIceQueen she mellows out]] in the end, she still goes on and on about herself, even going as far as [[spoiler:having a priest marry her and Niles ''while Fran's in labor''.]]
** Although, that was Fran's idea. She bad been violently ill ever since [[spoiler:Niles proposed,]] and Fran said that as soon as she [[spoiler:said "I Do",]] her jitters would go away.
*** It turns out though, that she was feeling ill because [[spoiler:she's pregnant with Niles' child.]] Although C.C. did say she was feeling better afterwards.
-->'''C.C.:''' Nanny Fine, you're right! I don't feel like I'm gonna throw up anymore!
-->'''Fran:''' [[spoiler:(''Mid-contraction'')]] '''[[DeadpanSnarker I'm so friggin' happy for you!]]'''
* {{Jerkass}}:
** JerkWithAHeartOfJerk: Just when you think C.C.'s about to show an ounce of decency, she'll do a 180.
** JerkWithAHeartOfGold: She eventually becomes one by the end of the series.
* LackOfEmpathy: This exchange says it all:
-->'''Fran:''' Question: When they shot Disney/{{Bambi}}'s mother, did you find that a sad moment?... At all?
-->'''C.C.:''' I'm sure she's mounted on a nice wall in a fine home somewhere.
* LadyDrunk: She frequently suffers from alcoholism, implied to be due to her romantic troubles.
* LargeHam: Especially in the first seasons, her two expressions were either icy indifference or full-throated rage.
* LaserGuidedKarma: Often, usually delivered swiftly by the machinations of Fran and/or Niles. In fact, most of Niles' barbs and pranks are done in direct response to a moment of JerkAss or callousness on C.C.'s part.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor
* MeaningfulName: Her full name [[spoiler:Chastity-Claire]], considering how unlucky she is with men, especially Maxwell.
** Probably also an IronicName, since it's such a sweet, feminine name and C.C.'s so... not. It should be noted that when this is announced, the entire room (including Fran who's [[spoiler:in labor]]) stop and look at her rather surprised.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Until the finale, revealed to be [[spoiler:Chastity-Claire Babcock.]]
* PlayingGertrude: C.C. is several years older than Fran, but Lauren Lane is actually 4 years younger than Fran Drescher.
* ProfessionalButtKisser
* RichBitch
* SanitySlippage: She became more and more unstable after [[spoiler: Maxwell proposed to Fran]] until finally she had a nervous breakdown and required several months in a mental hospital to recover.
* SitcomArchEnemy: With Niles. As the series went on, the two went from hating each other to ''loving'' that they hate each other. After C.C. was hospitalized after suffering a nervous breakdown, she tells Niles that she began hearing voices while she was there. It turned out Niles had actually been visiting her and making her ''think'' she was hearing voices. C.C. is touched that he visited.
* SlapstickKnowsNoGender: A unique example in that most of her slapstick is caused by a male character (Niles).
* SmallNameBigEgo
* StalkerWithACrush: Towards Maxwell, with borderline {{Yandere}} tendencies.
* TwitchyEye: Whenever she sees and/or hears about Fran and Maxwell getting along.
* UptownGirl: She falls for [[spoiler:Niles the butler]] at the end.
* [[WellDoneSonGuy Well Done Daughter Girl]]

!!Margaret "Maggie" Sheffield (Nicholle Tom)

* DaddysGirl: Much to her frustration.
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: Beautiful and blond, generally kind.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: It was a plot point at a few times that, even though Fran was at least a generation older than her and hired to be a caregiver, Maggie was frankly too old to have a nanny anymore (she started the show in her early-to-mid teens,) and they acted more like sisters or girlfriends than anything else (it became a problem later when [[spoiler:Fran really did become her mother.]])
* MissingMom
* NaiveEverygirl
* SheCleansUpNicely
* SheIsAllGrownUp: As the show progresses.
* ShrinkingViolet: In the beginning.
* TookALevelInBadass: As part of her CharacterDevelopment. In early episodes, her only response to Brighton's barbs was to scream out "Shut up, Brighton!" and storm out of the room angry and/or hurt. By the end, thanks to Fran working on her self-esteem and teaching her how to stand up to him, by the end, she was able to give as good as she got and would get the better of him frequently.

!!Brighton Sheffield (Benjamin Salisbury)

* AccidentalMisnaming: Due to Grandma Yetta's senility, she calls him "Schmooey".
* AnnoyingYoungerSibling: Mostly towards the beginning.
* DeadpanSnarker
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: Generally was a good natured kid.
* HighSchoolHustler: He shows shades of this once he reaches high school.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: A rather endearing one grows between him and Yetta. [[spoiler: Before she becomes his great-grandmother, that is]].
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Used to be due to his mother's death.
* MiddleChildSyndrome: Actually lampshaded in the pilot episode.
* MissingMom

!!Grace "Gracie" Sheffield (MadelineZima)

* AdorablyPrecociousChild
* BrainyBrunette
* CreepyChild: Especially in earlier seasons, her therapy and subsequent extensive knowledge of psychology made her come across as a little twisted. In the pilot, after Fran snarked about Grace saying her therapist took her back through her childhood (She was about 7 at the time,) Grace turned to her and said, "Oh, you have no idea how complicated I am."
* DaddysGirl
* MissingMom
* MoodWhiplash: Part of Grace's charm was the fact that she would pinball back and forth between a WiseBeyondTheirYears pseudo-adult and a very typical little girl, once saying her ideal man was a combination of Barney... and Ted Koppel.
* MouthyKid
* OutOfFocus: Seasons 3-6, probably to make room for Fran's growing romance with Maxwell, and more story lines involving Val, Sylvia, and Yetta (and possibly due to the fact that Madeline Zima was the only one still under age and subject to child labor laws.)
* SheIsAllGrownUp: Towards the end of the series.
* ShipperOnDeck: For Fran and Maxwell.
* WiseBeyondTheirYears: She even confuses the grown-ups.

!Recurring Characters:

!!Sylvia Rosenberg-Fine (Renee Taylor)
* AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents
* BigEater
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: In an early episode, she actually took in the entire main cast during a blizzard and kept all of them well-fed. Later on, she was quick to snatch up any food someone else was about to sink their teeth into.
** Potentially justified since it was a major crisis (worst blizzard in 30 years) and the family was stranded in her house. The rest of the time, since the Sheffield household was much better off than she was, all food was fair game (she did seem willing to offer food any time they were in her home.)
* DeadpanSnarker
* ExtremeOmnivore: There were a few times when her love of food went UpToEleven. Fran mentioned she ate half a plastic cookie before realizing it was a refrigerator magnet, ate a chunk off a ''plaster'' cake Fran had made, and was complaining about how a rice cake tasted like cork before Fran noticed she was eating a coaster. Fran inherited this, snaking on a bowl of trail mix that was actually potpourri. Sylvia likely got it from Yetta, who didn't notice the grapes she was eating were actually part of a wax fruit display.
* InformedDeformity: While Sylvia was a Big Eater and definitely a bigger woman, in show, they portrayed her as a whale. During one of her many elaborate freakouts, she threatened to throw herself in the Hudson River, to which Fran responded "Ma, ''flooding New Jersey'' is not gonna solve anything!"
* IWantGrandkids
* JewishMother
* MyBelovedSmother
* NoIndoorVoice
* ShipperOnDeck: For Fran and Maxwell.
** To be fair though, playing a stereotypical JewishMother whose daughter is over 30, Sylvia would ship Fran with just about ''anyone''. Fran even commented once that her mother would have been thrilled with her hooking up with a successful, professional ''woman'' if not for the fact said lesbian wasn't Jewish.
* TheThingThatWouldNotLeave
* VerbalTic: [[ItRunsInTheFamily Like her daughter]], she often starts sentences with "Meanwhile...".
* WellIntentionedExtremist: A typical trait of the MyBelovedSmother on sitcoms of the time, she always genuinely seemed concerned with Fran's happiness (she just had trouble understanding that happy =/= married.) She would pair up Fran with any available male she saw. Also, when it was revealed that Fran was a FormerTeenRebel, it was mentioned how Fran had no privacy as a child. Sylvia's acrylic nails could open any door she needed through ("Doors, diaries, my ex-boyfriend Chevy," according to Fran,) and casually mentioned reading her diary like it was a cookbook.

!!Grandma Yetta Rosenberg (Ann Morgan Guilbert)
* BreakoutCharacter: From a single appearance in the first season to regular character.
* CloudCuckoolander
* {{Flanderization}}: Was crankier and more "there" in her early appearances, with shades of DirtyOldWoman. Later jokes about her senility overtook all other aspects of her character.
* JewishMother
* MustHaveNicotine
* PlayingGertrude: Ann Morgan Guilbert is just five years older than her onscreen daughter Renee Taylor.
* ReallyGetsAround: The most sexually successful character in the show, by far. She even eventually gets to marry RayCharles.

!!Val Toriello (Rachel Chagall)
* DumbBlonde: As Fran puts it, "Val wasn't short for 'valedictorian'.".
* HeterosexualLifePartners: With Fran.
* HideYourPregnancy: ''TWICE!'' But since Rachel Chagall didn't have top billing it was much easier to hide her pregnancies and have her disappear for a while during maternity leave.
* HiddenDepths: Is shown to have an intricate understanding of the mafia.
* StrawLoser: Fran looks like a genius and total success in life compared to her. Fran outright admits she likes being around Val because it makes her feel smarter.