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  • This show has many, but one of the most notable occurs in "I Don't Remember Mama", when the Sheffields and Fran sit down to watch old home movies with their deceased mother Sara. Earlier in the episode, Gracie was upset that she couldn't remember her mother, so while watching, she sees her infant self playing with her mother, and Gracie exclaims "I remember that!".
  • Likewise in the episode "Sara's Parents," when Fran and Maxwell plan to announce to Sara's parents that Fran will be adopting, they are at first put off by the idea of her raising their grandchildren, and even threaten legal action and a full investigation of Fran's background. After Maggie, Brighton and Grace however make it clear that while they love Fran with all their heart, and already think of her as their mother, Fran herself makes sure that the kids never forget about Sara, as well as assuring their grandparents that they all still love their mother and will always love the two of them, with Maxwell chiming in that the two will always be a part of his family, reminding them that he too still loves Sara just as much as he loves Fran, and no one will ever replace his lost wife in his heart, Sara's parents agree to the adoption.
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  • In the pilot episode, Fran helps Maggie pick out an outfit for a party Maxwell's throwing. The instant Maxwell sees Maggie at the party, he is in complete awe at how grown up his little girl looks, and then says this:
    Maxwell: My God... I had no idea how much she looked like her mother.
  • Early in season one's "Here Comes the Brood", C.C. told Gracie that Fran only pretended to love her because of her job. Fran straightened her right out with one of the best speeches ever, all with a charming smile on her face:
    • Don't forget Fran's conversation, reassuring Gracie that she really does love her:
    Fran: It's true: I do get paid to take care of you. But I don't get paid extra for loving you. And I do.
    Gracie: I love you too.
    Fran: Oh, let's face it, Grace. I'm no Ivana Trump. Of course, neither is she anymore. I got one lousy Christmas club account with maybe 49 cents in it, so I gotta work for a living. Lucky for me, I got the best job in the whole wide world. I love you.
    (they hug)
    Gracie: So you don't just do it for the money?
    Fran: Believe me, by the time they take out state, and federal, and FICA, it's a labor of love.
    • After C.C. makes the comment that upset Gracie and Gracie runs off, Maggie immediately follows to comfort her and Brighton (seemingly in retaliation) smugly tells C.C. that he threw up in her purse.
    • The sight of Maxwell dancing with Gracie standing on his toes is simply adorable, as Sylvia notes.
  • Fran's mother puts adult Fran to bed the night before Fran's wedding. After she says "good night" to her, she sees her as a little girl saying "Good night Ma". The smile on her mother's face is what's most heartwarming.
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  • Maxwell's proposal to Fran.
  • Maxwell saying a small prayer to Sara before planning on proposing to Fran, assuring her that while he has fallen in love with Fran, he still does and will always love Sara, and the belief that the two would have been great friends if they ever had the chance to meet.
    Maxwell: (to Sara's photo) I think you'd like her. In many ways she reminds me of...no one you had ever met.
  • Sara's spirit appearing to Maxwell on the eve of his wedding to tell him it's okay for him to marry Fran, and revealing that she too loves Fran for everything she has done for Max and their children.
    Sara: It's okay to love her Max, I love her too. Look at everything she's done for you, for the children.
    • More than that, she says she was the reason he even met Fran in the first place. Which immediately shifts to a funny moment.
    Maxwell: And you heard her speak?
    Sarah: I thought she had a cold.
  • Grace's poem to Fran when she thought she was leaving to marry her ex-boyfriend Danny.
    Grace: F is for the fun we have together. R is for the rummy that we play. A is for the answers to my questions. N is for the nasal things you say.
    • That same episode hammered how much the Sheffields and Fran were changing each other for the better, and Fran gives up the chance to get back with Danny after realizing he's such a moron and she doesn't need him.
      Fran: Were you always this stupid?!
      Danny: Yeah! It's me baby, nothing's changed!
      Niles (to Fran): Perhaps you've gotten smarter.
      Fran: No I think he was always this stupid.
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  • In "Not Without My Nanny", Maxwell travels halfway around the world to tell Fran he loves her. And this time, he doesn’t take it back.
  • In ''Kindervelt Days", Fran is depressed at the prospect of attending a summer camp reunion, so the Sheffield kids sends in her old "Win a date with Eric Estrada" sweepstakes form to cheer her up. Eric actually responds to the form, and offers to be her date to the reunion. However, he has to leave early, so Maxwell steps in as Fran's date.
  • In "The Butler, the Husband, the Wife and Her Mother", Maxwell and Niles have to swap roles thanks to Sylvia lying to her in-laws by saying that Fran was Maxwell's husband. Halfway through the charade, the Butlers' Association drops by to make a surprise appraisal of how Niles is doing as a butler. Maxwell and the rest of the household keep up the charade, but of course things eventually fall apart. The Association representatives are getting ready to give Niles a horrible appraisal, when Maxwell points out that if a family is willing put on that kind of performance for their butler, he must be a truly spectacular butler indeed and that Niles is, basically, family.
  • In the finale, when Fran's father sings "Time After Time" to Fran and Maxwell at their anniversary.
  • In the episode where Maxwell's brother, Nigel, proposed to Fran and she was leaving the house for what she thought was the last time. She finds Niles sleeping on the couch and she gives him a kiss on the cheek. Considering that he is one of her best friends, One could only imagine how sad them saying goodbye would've been had he been awake.
    • Luckily, she comes back.
    Maxwell: Don't you worry, Miss Fine, I've got you.
    Fran: Boy, do you ever.
  • C.C. promises to pay Niles if he escorts her to an event her ex-boyfriend was going to take her to. After their not-date, they dance together, laughing and, for once, legitimately, though still gloriously snarkily, enjoying one another's company. She gives him the check, and he casually rips it up, declaring, "This one's on me," before continuing to dance with her.
    • It's particularly sweet when they snark at the ex-boyfriend together.
    Niles: He was beneath you.
  • The "The Way We Were" montage in the finale. It's fittingly hilarious and heartwarming in equal measure.
  • In the final season, Brighton calls Fran "mom" and gets defensive when a bunch of his friends talk about how hot she is. Compare that to his Establishing Character Moment where he had hated her on sight and tried to prank her by pretending to have been horribly stabbed.
    • Similarly, when Fran is hospitalized and believes she might be pregnant and Sylvia and Maxwell are in the waiting room, Sylvia wonders when they're going to let them in to see her. Max calls her "mom" while reassuring her that Fran's going to be alright.
    Sylvia: "That's the first time you called me 'Mom'."
    Max: "Well, you've been more of a mother to me than my own mother ever was."
    Sylvia: "You've certainly seen more of me."
  • Another one for CC and Niles—when Niles has a heart attack, CC is the one who is most concerned for him.
    • C.C. even reveals that she knew something was the matter when Niles stopped insulting her, and mentioned that she even lobbed him an easy one ("Don't make me get ugly!") just to get a snarky comment. They may snipe at each other constantly, but that's real love.
  • When Maxwell's father dies, he leaves all his fortune to his 4th, hitherto unknown child, Concepción. Since Maxwell had been building upon that inheritance, the wedding plannings and the whole lifestyle of the family is in danger, so Fran goes to talk to Concepción, but she cannot bring up the money problems as they are so alike, instead welcoming her into the family and inviting her to the wedding. At the end of the episode, right when everyone is resigned to their fates with Maxwell assuring Fran that he wants to marry her and they will get by, the lawyer comes in and says that Concepción decided to share her inheritance with her siblings... because Fran welcomed her into the family.
  • After C.C. returns after her nervous breakdown caused by Maxwell and Fran’s marriage, she has a conversation with Niles, where she proceeds to discover a rather heartwarming tidbit about her time at the hospital.
    C.C.: You know, Niles, when I away at the... place... it was really scary, because when I was all doped up, I kept hearing these voices; “Maxwell loves Fran”, “You’re alone and old”...
    Niles: “You have to wear a straightjacket to feel a man’s arms around you”...
    C.C.: That was you?!
    Niles: (smirks and nods)
    C.C.: ...You did come and visit me, you old softie!
  • In "Where's the Pearls?," Fran smacks her head in a taxicab and gets a case of Easy Amnesia. When she's in the hospital, everyone comes rushing to visit her, which is sweet in and of itself—but there's another surprisingly kind moment when Yetta, who's normally portrayed as barely aware of her surroundings, is left alone in the room with Fran. She patiently and kindly says "I'm your grandma!" when Fran asks who she is, comforts her since she feels hurt, and genuinely offers advice about who the children are (she gets it wrong—"the two big ones are from a previous marriage"—but it's the thought that counts!).
  • In "The Nunschlep," Fran attends Maggie's first date with Eddie, a young man she meets in the pilot, as a chaperone (or, to use the Yiddish, "nunschelp," explaining the title). It seems as though Eddie likes Fran better, which breaks Maggie's heart. That's when Fran realizes that Maggie doesn't need a nanny, but a friend, and decides to teach her about the "Girlfriends' Code." It's especially sweet because Maggie is well-established as not having any social groups at school—Fran's probably the first true friend she ever had.
    • Later in the episode, it turns out that Eddie was only acting nice to Fran because he hoped she would pass along his headshot and resume to Maxwell, as he wants to be an actor. He didn't want Maggie to do it...because he really likes her, and doesn't want her to think he was using her for his own gain.
    • Maxwell allowing Maggie to go on an unsupervised date with Eddie.
    • Similarly, when Maggie and Eddie head out for their second date, the whole family gathers in the dining room closet to eavesdrop, hoping it will go well. They may bicker, but they really do love one another.
  • "Imaginary Friend," a first-season episode, is full of this. As the title suggests, little Grace has an imaginary friend named Imogene who plays with her all the time. Fran goes along with the game, insisting it's a natural part of childhood...that is, until she inadvertently "kills" Imogene by eating a cookie that Grace says she was sitting on. The heartwarming comes in when Grace goes to her therapist, who asks why the little girl decided to stop playing with Imogene. Grace replies that she hasn't had anyone to play with her and make her feel special for a long time, but now she does...Fran.
  • "The Hanukah Story" when Fran hears that both her husband and daughter, and C.C.'s, car was lost in the blizzard, she trying to keep Maggie and Brigthton's spirits up, puts on a happy face, but when alone, breaks down praying to God...
    Fran: Please God, this is the first night of Hanukah, can't we have just one more miracle.
    (A Nun appears on her Doorstep)
    Fran: Oh He must have gotten confused due to my new last name!
    • The nun then proceeds to lift Fran's hope back up, urging her to keep positive thoughts on Maxwell and Grace, and offers to pray with her. Fran, while grateful, is also skeptical that a Catholic nun's prayers would be able to benefit a Jewish woman, the Nun assures her that God hears all prayers, no matter who they are from.
    • Immediately followed by Maxwell and Maggie showing up in an emergency transport vehicle running into her arms, as she gives a grateful look towards the Nun, while also joking "What do you have a direct line to Him?"
    • Later Maxwell explains the extraordinary circumstance of the car's gas meter showing less than a quarter tank, and yet that amount of gas lasting hours to keep the heat running long enough for emergency responders to find them.
    Fran: See, didn't I tell you! This is a night of Miracles.
  • In "Material Fran," C.C. and Maxwell host a backers' party at the mansion, and Fran recognizes one of the socialites as Catherine O'Malley, a high school classmate of hers. When Val drops by, she and Fran engage in some catty gossip about Catherine while in the kitchen. Catherine herself then enters—and immediately drops her posh act to show her true Queens colors ("Excuse me, could somebody please point me to the powder room?...'cause I busted out of gym class, and I'm dyin' for a smoke!"). Fran rushes to hug her, and, after a bit of Hypocritical Heartwarming (Fran claims that she was just telling Val how amazing Catherine looks), the three women sit around the table, nosh on some leftovers, and catch up. It genuinely feels like the trio really were good friends in school, and that the years have not changed their bond.
    • In a smaller moment, Catherine seems genuinely upset to hear that Fran has become a nanny, explaining that everyone in their high school thought the world of her and were sure that she was headed for a bright future. Catherine even offers to set Fran up with her husband's uber-wealthy business partner as a favor for her old friend (he's incredibly old, but it's the thought that counts!).
  • Fran fuming after having an argument with Maxwell about her signing a prenup before their wedding, until she gets a call about Brighton in the hospital, having been in an accident, and while it is slightly heartbreaking that the orderlies won't let a distressed Fran into his room, due to her not being his legal family, the lengths she goes too, dressing up as a Nun and sneaking into his room is both heartwarming and funny.
    • Gets even sweeter when Maxwell, instead of going immediately into Brighton's hospital room, stops to listen as Fran admits how much he and Grace and Maggie mean to her, and that she loves them just as much as if she were their actual mother. Cue the end of the episode, and Fran, realizing that Maxwell intended that the prenup was to protect the children and their assets, agrees to sign it only for Maxwell to hand her adoption papers instead, to start the process of making Fran the legal mother to the kids.
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