%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.

!'''Main Cast'''

[[folder:Francine "Fran" Fine]]
[[caption-width-right:345:''"Oh, please! I come from Flushing. There is nothing that these kids can throw at me that I haven't seen before. Except maybe their trust funds."'']]
->'''Played by: '''Creator/FranDrescher

The titular nanny of the Sheffield household, a nasal-voiced woman from Flushing, Queens. Originally arriving at the Sheffields' door to sell cosmetics, she winds up becoming the nanny to Maggie, Brighton, and Gracie after showing some savvy with the kids.


* AlliterativeName: '''F'''ran '''F'''ine
* AnnoyingLaugh: Her laugh is practically the tagline for the show.
* 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: She may be eccentric but also a very competent nanny.
* CatchPhrase: Has a few:
** "Oy..."
** "Good morning, everyone!"
** "Oh, Mistah Sheffield!"
* 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. She's the most energetic and bubbly of the adults.
* GenkiGirl: She gets along with the kids also because she's very energetic and humorous.
* HappilyMarried: To [[spoiler:Maxwell]] in the last season.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: She and Val are best friends, ever since childhood.
* {{Hypocrite}}: Sometimes has shades of this, especially when men are involved. She once tells the Sheffield children that she would never abandon them, despite having been very close to secretly running off to England with Mr. Sheffield's brother in the past (she remained because she missed the boat) - without saying goodbye to anyone, no less. She also claims to have waited five years for Mr. Sheffield to make a move, when they only started getting serious during her second year working in his house, not to mention the fact that she dated dozens of men in this time, and was even engaged ''twice''.
* JewishMother: Acts like this to Maggie, Brighton, and Grace[[spoiler:, before literally becoming one in the last season]].
* LadyInRed: [[ThemeTune When everyone else is wearing tan.]]
* MagicalNanny: She's able to connect with the kids in a way they'd been missing, and she specifically helps neurotic youngest child Grace.
* MamaBear: Even before she [[spoiler:actually became their mother]]. "If ya ever hurt one of my kids again they'll be wiping your blue blood off the walls."
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: She's a lively and exuberant Jewish working class woman, who brings a new spirit to the whole household of her uptight widowed British employer, Maxwell Sheffield. But as she is the protagonist, she's a more well-developed character than the more negative examples of the trope. And even though Maxwell is attracted to her from early on, he has huge commitment issues and needs almost five years to finally propose marriage to her.
* MatzoFever: She is very, very Jewish, and attracts the attention of dozens of men over the years, including many celebrities and (of course) her boss the Broadway producer Mr. Sheffield.
* MsFanservice: She loves those miniskirts.
* 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. In "The Strike" had her adamantly refuse to cross a picket line of striking busboys and had to be forcibly dragged by Maxwell. In "Personal Business", when she dated 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: Fran and her mother trade off on this quality, and then sometimes use it simultaneously.
* OneOfTheKids: Part of the reason she makes such a good nanny.
* ParentalSubstitute: To the Sheffield children, even before she [[spoiler:actually became their mother]].
* 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. Niles was the first to accept Fran into Maxwell Sheffield's household, and as the series went on, became ShipperOnDeck between Fran and Maxwell, seeing her as a better love interest than C.C. Babcock, Maxwell's business partner, about whom they love to snark.
* 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: She has curly black hair, matching her enthusiastic and bubbly personality.
* SavvyGuyEnergeticGirl: The Energetic GenkiGirl to Maxwell's proper Savvy Guy.
* SheCleansUpNicely: Granted, she looks beautiful pretty much all the time, but when she puts real effort into looking good...
* ShesGotLegs: She has long legs. And always those mini-skirts.
* 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
* StacysMom: [[spoiler: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.]]
%%* StreetSmart
* 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 in the early seasons but surprisingly, the show stayed funny even after they got together.

[[folder:Maxwell Sheffield]]
[[caption-width-right:337:''"You're off your bloody rocker, you know that? Thank God you're not operating heavy machinery, just raising my children."'']]
->'''Played by:'''Charles Shaughnessy, 5th Baron Shaughnessy

The esteemed head of the Sheffield household, a somewhat successful Broadway producer and widower with three kids.

* 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.
* BlueBlood: Especially when the show first started. Also in 2007, Charles Shaughnessy, who played Maxwell, became a real-life baron.
* 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.
* ButtMonkey: Not quite as much C.C., but he has been on the receiving end of Fran's antics more than once and has numerous plays of his flop until finally hitting it big near the end of the show.
* {{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 savvy 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, a GenderBlenderName.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Melancholic. The most straight-laced of the adults.
* HappilyMarried: To [[spoiler:Fran]] in the last season.
* IAmNotMyFather: Values family above all else, as opposed to his aloof, philandering father.
* MyGreatestFailure: It's been mentioned numerous times that he turned down the chance to produce ''Cats'' as he found its premise to be ridiculous; he still insists he made the right call, despite the mockery he's received for it.
* 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: Has the most serious personality compared to the other adults.
* OverprotectiveDad: He is overprotective of Maggie, not wanting her to date.
* 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: Maxwell loathes Creator/AndrewLloydWebber.
* SkunkStripe: It's been lampshaded a couple times that the gray streak came in around the same time as Fran.
* StiffUpperLip: He manages to keep on keeping on despite his numerous setbacks.
* TallDarkAndHandsome: He's quite tall (5' 11.5"), dark-haired, and a good-looking man.
* UpperClassTwit: Averted. He comes from a wealthy family, but has plenty of common sense, especially compared to his siblings.
* UptownGirl: Gender flipped example with rich Broadway producer Maxwell falling for working-class Fran.
* WillTheyOrWontThey: With Fran in the early seasons but surprisingly, the show stayed funny even after they got together.

[[caption-width-right:333:''"Ms. Fine, you spend so much time up this creek, I should think by now you'd have bought a paddle."'']]
->'''Played by:''' Daniel Davis

The snarky butler of the Sheffield household. He becomes fast friends with Fran, and is always quick to drop a creative insult against C.C.

* BelligerentSexualTension: With C.C. [[spoiler:They eventually do get married in Fran's DELIVERY ROOM]]!
* DeadpanSnarker: As big as can be.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Phlegmatic. The witty one of the adults.
* TheGadfly: Towards C.C.
* GentlemanSnarker: Niles' snarks are usually directed at people who deserve it, such as C.C.
* GossipyHens: Niles is often mentioned to gossip with the butlers of other people in Maxwell's social circle and his favorite activity other than tormenting C.C. is eavesdropping.
* IconicItem: His signature feather duster.
* 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: He mostly fits the Trope. He's British, polite, sophisticated, and loyal to his employer... For the most part. Eventually, however, he becomes somewhat of a DeadpanSnarker thinking Maxwell somewhat stubborn for his reluctance to admit his true feelings to Fran. Eventually, in a late season, he gains enough backbone to finally tell his boss off and speak his true mind about it, and this finally convinces Maxwell to propose to Fran, and it sticks.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: He can be a pretty harsh DeadpanSnarker at times, he is particularly rude to C.C Babcock, but he has always stayed true to the Sheffield's and Fran the Nanny. He deeply cares for them and will always defend or protect them when they are abused, mocked, or whatever else.
* LegacyOfService: His father was the Sheffield butler before he was.
* LovingBully: To C.C. In season 6 it's revealed that Niles loved C.C. all along and all the insults and pranks were flirting.
* {{Manchild}}: Often enjoys pulling pranks on C.C., as well as being playful with Fran.
* 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.".
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: Lampshaded by C.C. when he's recovering from a heart attack and she tells Fran and Maxwell about it--she figured out something was wrong with him when he failed to respond to her taunting with a witty remark.
-->'''CC:''' And then the scariest thing happened!\\
'''Fran:''' He had the heart attack?\\
'''CC:''' No, worse! There I was, waiting for a zinger...and ''nothing!''
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Especially in later seasons as his delivery becomes faster and louder.
* PayEvilUntoEvil: Considering C.C's JerkAss attitude, most of his insults towards her tend to fall under this category.
* PlatonicLifePartners: With Fran. Niles was the first to accept Fran into Maxwell Sheffield's household, and as the series went on, became ShipperOnDeck between Fran and Maxwell, seeing her as a better love interest than C.C. Babcock, Maxwell's business partner, about whom they love to snark.
* ThePrankster: Again, towards C.C.
* 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: Played with. He rarely insult Maxwell or the Sheffield Family, and mainly shows his snarky side around C.C. Babcock. He only does make a few snarky remarks at family members though when he [[spoiler: has to put up with C.C. not coming over anymore as she is in an asylum]]. He also has a few moments where he mocks Fran as she gets away with a lot as Maxwell's wife, interestingly causing Niles to join C.C.
* ScrewySquirrel: He's at his happiest tormenting C.C. with tricks and pranks. Lampshaded by C.C. herself:
-->'''C.C.:''' You set me up, didn't you? The run, the chase, getting stuck in the door, ''everything!'' My mental health is just a ''sick game'' to you, isn't it!?\\
'''Niles:''' Rack 'em up, let's play again!
* ServileSnarker: Like [[Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir Geoffrey]], he's pretty much a classic example of the witty, sarcastic butler.
* SexGod: [[spoiler: According to C.C.]]
--> [[spoiler:'''C.C.''']]: I found my man and I am completely and totally...and multiply satisfied.
--> '''Fran''': Reeeeeeallyyyyyy?
--> [[spoiler:'''C.C.''']]: That is the joy of being with a man who lives to serve others, baby. (''They giggle perversely'')
* ShipperOnDeck: For Fran and Maxwell. He could be downright Anvilicious about it, to the point where, when Maxwell tells him he's going to propose, Niles' expressions of happiness sound more like he was getting proposed to.
* TheSouthpaw: He dusts with his left hand.
* WhatTheHellHero: He pulls off a very big one after finally getting tired of Maxwell's indecisiveness with Fran.
-->I am so bloody sick of hearing this year after year: "Niles, what am I to do? [[spoiler: I told her I love her, I took it back,]] I'm afraid of commitment, I'm worried about the children!" ''(*Grabs Max*)'' FOR GOD'S SAKE! MAKE A MOVE! DO ''SOMETHING!'' [[NeverLiveItDown You passed on]] ''Theatre/{{Cats}}''! '''DO YOU WANT TO REGRET ''THIS'' FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, TOO!?'''

[[folder:C.C. Babcock]]
[[caption-width-right:327:''"I want to be alone with Maxwell tonight. What's it gonna cost me to make you disappear?"'']]
->'''Played by:''' Lauren Lane

A haughty, frigid socialite and Maxwell's longtime business partner. She is smitten with him and constantly schemes to find a way to end up with him, only to be debunked at every turn, mostly due to Niles' manipulations.


%%* {{Adorkable}}: Believe it or not, she sometimes has moments like these.
* 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. [[spoiler:They eventually do get married in Fran's DELIVERY ROOM]]
* BettyAndVeronica: {{Subverted}}. [[WrongGenreSavvy She thinks she's Betty and Fran is Veronica to Maxwell's Archie]], but she's not even in the equation.
* BigBadWannabe: Tried to be the main force driving a wedge between Fran and Maxwell, but failed every attempt.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Around Maxwell at least. It's pretty obvious to everyone else that she is not exactly a nice person.
* BitchAlert: Her first interaction with Fran was a frostbitten sarcasm about her appearance.
* BlueBlood: Born into money.
* BreakTheHaughty: Done throughout the series to CC. This led to a hilarious bit after C.C. fell for another of Niles's schemes.
-->'''C.C.'''(screaming): My mental health is just a ''sick game'' to you, isn't it?
-->'''Niles'''(perfectly calm): Rack 'em up, let's play again.
* ButtMonkey: By far the most abused character on the show, especially when she is around Niles who always loves making fun of her.
* 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: Most notably when trapped in Sylvia's house during a snowstorm.
* DeadpanSnarker: Towards Fran, and in her SnarkToSnarkCombat with Niles especially as the seasons went on.
* DefrostingIceQueen: She mellows out towards the end, especially in season 6.
* EmbarrassingFirstName: [[spoiler:Chastity Claire]], revealed in the finale. [[spoiler:Niles]], on the other hand, thinks it's a beautiful name.
* 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: TheUnfettered Choleric.
* HopelessSuitor: To Maxwell throughout the series. She just doesn't want to accept that he only sees her as a business partner.
* 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.)
* IronicName: Her full name [[spoiler:Chastity-Claire]] sounds like 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.
* 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}}: Far and away the biggest one in the series.
* 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.
* LastNameBasis: Maxwell calls her C.C., but everyone else usually refers to her as Miss Babcock.
* MeaningfulName: Her full name [[spoiler:Chastity-Claire]], considering how unlucky she is with men, especially Maxwell.
* 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
-->'''Fran:''' Can that woman suck up, Niles.
-->'''Niles:''' If she came with attachments, we could throw out the Hoover.
* RichBitch: She's a rich businesswoman who is also mean, obnoxious, snobby, and egocentric.
* TheRival: She thinks she is this to Fran, but she never gets the better of her.
* 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: She is a narcissist with a big ego who looks down on nearly everyone.
* SmugSnake: With a couple exceptions, her attempts to undermine both Niles and Fran were always met with failure. Didn't stop her from trying...
* StalkerWithACrush: Towards Maxwell, with borderline {{Yandere}} tendencies.
* StepfordSnarker: She's very scornful and sardonic, but as the series goes on, she's shown to be a very depressed and lonely woman.
* 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: In the season 1 episode "Ode To Barbra Joan" when her father comes to visit.
* WrongGenreSavvy: Is convinced she and Maxwell are in love and she's vying for his affections with Fran. Even after the two are ''married'', CC still somehow thinks she and Maxwell will end up together.

[[folder:Margaret "Maggie" Sheffield]]
->'''Played by:''' Creator/NicholleTom

The oldest of Maxwell's children.


* AesopAmnesia: In one episode where Fran suspects her of having started her sex life, Maggie is quick to assure her that she would never take such an important step without talking to her first, leading to a beautiful highlight of the close bond she and Fran have. Cue to the sixth season, where Maggie casually comments about sleeping with her boyfriend, which completely shocks Fran - who nevertheless seems to have forgotten about Maggie's words as well.
* CatchPhrase: A very giggly "Yeah", almost always a reaction to a cute boy talking to her.
* CoolLoser: In early seasons, despite that fact that, in Fran's words, she's a "thin blonde heiress with legs up to ''here''," her crippling shyness has left her a complete and total outcast. Under Fran's tutelage, her self-esteem improves by leaps and bounds and her popularity skyrockets.
* 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: Sara Sheffield, how she died has never been revealed.
* NaiveEverygirl: Initially she was awkward and insecure, and despaired that no boy would ever fall for her.
* SheCleansUpNicely: When she is all dolled up, in the Pilot episode.
* SheIsAllGrownUp: As the show progresses, she grew up into a beautiful young woman.
* ShiksaGoddess: Fran always refers to her as one, and this becomes true by the end of the series, when she marries her Jewish boyfriend.
* ShrinkingViolet: In the beginning she was very shy, but Fran helped her grow out of this.
* 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.

[[folder:Brighton Sheffield]]
[[caption-width-right:347:''"Thank you, thank you, I am a crook!"'']]
->'''Played by:''' Benjamin Salisbury

The only son of Maxwell and the middle of the three Sheffield children.


* AccidentalMisnaming: Due to Grandma Yetta's senility, she calls him "Schmooey".
* AnnoyingYoungerSibling: Mostly towards the beginning.
* DeadpanSnarker: Mainly to his older sister, Maggie, acting as the snarky AnnoyingYoungerSibling.
* 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: Sara Sheffield, how she died has never been revealed.

[[folder:Grace "Gracie" Sheffield]]
[[caption-width-right:339:''"Oh, you have no idea how complicated I am."'']]
->'''Played by:''' Creator/MadelineZima

The youngest of the Sheffield children.


* AdorablyPrecociousChild: Despite being only a little girl, Gracie has a habit of naming medical conditions and complicated words.
* BrainyBrunette: Has brown hair and she is smart and WiseBeyondTheirYears.
* 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: She seems to be the closest with father Maxwell.
* MissingMom: Sara Sheffield, how she died has never been revealed.
* 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: Madeline Zima certainly grew up towards the end of the series.
* ShipperOnDeck: Like everyone else, she is one for Fran and Maxwell because she sees Fran as a mother.
* WiseBeyondTheirYears: She even confuses the grown-ups.

!Recurring Characters

[[folder:Sylvia Rosenberg-Fine]]
->'''Played by:''' Renee Taylor

Fran's mother.


* AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents: Sylvia has a bad habit of eating all the food in sight, constantly nagging Fran about not being married, and telling wildly inappropriate stories to anyone around to hear.
* BigEater: She is known for her constant and voracious eating.
* 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: As snarky as she is loud and eats a lot.
* DeathGlare: During Maxell and Fran's wedding.
* 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.
* FormerlyFit: She was once as slim as Fran in her youth, only to get larger with age and with the stress of raising Fran as a teenager.
* 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: Fran hears this ''constantly'' from her mother.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Sylvia looked like a blonde Fran in the flashbacks.
* JewishMother: She and Sylvia's mother Yetta both act as Jewish Mother/Grandmother to Fran and the Sheffield children.
* MyBelovedSmother: An example of the mother-daughter relationship, with the running joke of her badgering Fran to get married and have kids.
* NoIndoorVoice: Fran and Sylvia trade off on this quality, and then sometimes use it simultaneously.
-->'''Sylvia''': ''(to Yetta, who is senile)'' Ma, these are not Fran's children. SHE'S NOT MARRIED, SHE'S ALL ALONE!
-->'''Fran''': Louder, Ma. I don't think they heard you '''IN URUGUAY!'''
* ShipperOnDeck: For Fran and Maxwell. 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: In later episodes. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in one episode:
-->'''Maggie''': Fran, you can't control what your mother eats. She doesn't live here.
-->'''Gracie''': When did she move out?
* 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.

[[folder:Grandma Yetta Rosenberg]]
->'''Played by:''' Ann Morgan Guilbert

Fran's grandmother and Sylvia's mother.


* BreakoutCharacter: From a single appearance in the first season to regular character.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: As a result of her senility.
* {{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: She and Sylvia both act as Jewish Mother/Grandmother to Fran and the Sheffield children.
* MustHaveNicotine: She is an avid cigarette-smoker.
* 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 Music/RayCharles.

[[folder:Val Toriello]]
->'''Played by:''' Rachel Chagall

Fran's best friend.


* DumbBlonde: As Fran puts it, "Val wasn't short for 'valedictorian'.".
* HeterosexualLifePartners: With Fran. They are best friends, ever since childhood.
* 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.