The Nanny Named Fran

The Nanny Named Fran

Written by Cassidy Krygger

Fran Drescher has lived an incredible life. 

Best known to us all as the hilarious and carefree Fran Fine in the hit 90’s sitcom ‘The Nanny’ that she co-created and produced. But Drescher has overcome many traumatic life situations that forced her to, in her own words, “change the negatives into positives.”  From a rape in her 20s to a cancer diagnosis in her 40s,  how did Fran Drescher overcome the odds to become the funny and vivacious woman that we all know and love?

Francine Drescher was born in 1957 in Flushing, Queens, New York. 

She had her first break out role in the iconic Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta in 1977 and continued to play small and bit parts throughout the 1980s.  In January 1985, two armed robbers broke into her and her husband, Peter Marc Jacobson’ house, and raped Drescher while Jacobson was held at gunpoint.  In an essay Drescher later wrote for InStyle Magazine in 2019, she recalled that “Afterward, I didn’t really get into my feelings or my vulnerabilities. I never wanted to come off as “weak,” so I just kind of buried it and got on with life.” It took Drescher many years to recover and even longer to tell the story publicly. Her rapist, who was on parole at the time, was returned to prison and received two life sentences. 

But life was about to change for the better.

A chance meeting on an international flight in the early 1990s with the President of the American television network CBS. In the usual Fran way, Drescher was able to persuade the President to let her and Jacobson pitch a show to CBS. He agreed and a few weeks later Drescher and Jacobson found themselves in sunny Los Angeles, pitching their idea of their own unique spin on The Sound of Music. In Drescher’s own words; “Instead of Julie Andrews, I come to the door.” 

The series was picked up and The Nanny was born. Premiering in 1993.

The Nanny was about a young woman who turns up on the doorstep of a handsome widowed Broadway Producer who hires her as the new nanny to his three children.

Playing to her talents, Drescher created a character much like herself and the chemistry between Fran and Mr Sheffield, played by Charles Shaughnessy, would be the true magic of the 6 seasons of the iconic series.

While her career was going from strength to strength, it was during the last season of The Nanny in 1998, that Drescher’s life began to crumble. 

After nearly two years of symptoms and misdiagnosis, Fran was diagnosed with Uterine Cancer.

She immediately underwent an emergency hysterectomy which successfully treated the disease. In her essay for InStyle, she wrote that

“It was strange — and kind of poetic — that my reproductive organs, of all things, had cancer,” she continued. “But it was also an amazing affirmation that pain finds its way to exactly the right place in the body if you don’t deal with it. Since I hadn’t been paying attention to my own vulnerabilities, my pain from the rape lodged itself in my uterus.”

But as she is known to do, Fran found a way to turn one of the worst hands life could deal her into a positive and in 2007 the ‘Cancer Schmancer Movement’ was created. 

Cancer Schmancer is a non-profit organisation that ensures all women’s cancers are diagnosed in Stage 1, the earliest and most treatable stage. In 2008 she was appointed the Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women’s Health issues by President George W. Bush and has since spent time in Washington rallying politicians on behalf of awareness and funding for healthcare. 

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From Hidden Talents to Global Empires – The Rise of Crafting During the COVID Crisis.

From Hidden Talents to Global Empires – The Rise of Crafting During the COVID Crisis.

By Cassidy Krygger

It wouldn’t come as a  surprise to you when I tell you that 2020 has been one of the craziest years in recent memory. 

But on the brighter side, this year has given us more than a Global Pandemic. It has gifted us the time to explore our more creative side in isolation. From baking sourdough bread to crocheting baby blankets and even making fabric face masks, people seem to be crafting now more than we have ever seen in the 21st century. Our hidden talents that have been buried under the weight of the modern world have been discovered in our solitude. And the benefits of it are plenty. 

Crafting and finding ways to be creative is one of the most beneficial and easiest ways to relax. 

From counting stitches, mixing colours and following patterns, our minds can quickly stop racing and start concentrating. The repetitive process of crafts such as knitting and crochet has been likened to relaxation techniques such as meditation. According to knitting therapist Betsan Corkhill when over 3,000 knitters were surveyed online, more than half responded that they feel ‘very happy’ after knitting and many of those that did it more often report a higher cognitive functioning. And crafting isn’t just good for your mental health, it can also benefit your bank balance as well.

Millions of people have lost their jobs throughout the world during the COVID-19 crisis, and many creatives are finding ways to put their hidden talents to good use. 

Traditional physical markets may be closed for the foreseeable future but online shops such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Etsy have become the perfect place to sell. And online business is booming. According to Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, Etsy sales grew by 100% in April 2020 and sellers from around the world sold over 12 million handmade face masks with sales from the masks alone totalling over USD $133 million. 

Etsy is  a female-dominated world with 86% of sellers on Etsy are women. Silverman told marketplace.org that on Etsy “One woman with a sewing machine from her home can create a global empire.”

So with millions of people around the world feeling the mental and monetary benefits of becoming professional crafters, will this trend continue once the pandemic ends? 

Or will the lure of modern busy-ness overtake us yet again? Only time will tell, but I for one hope it continues. Power to the woman who can take her imagination and turn it into an empire. 

References: 

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.4276/030802213×13603244419077

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/esty-ceo-on-coronavirus-shutdowns-everyone-just-wanted-one-thing-face-masks-115325541.html

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/esty-ceo-on-coronavirus-shutdowns-everyone-just-wanted-one-thing-face-masks-115325541.html

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Look at Moi, Look at Moi, Look at Moi

Look at Moi, Look at Moi, Look at Moi

Words by Cassidy Krygger

 

“Now I’ve got one word to say to you… ” 

 

There is a bit of Kath and Kim in all of us, and the iconic Aussie comedy series has fans all over the world even though it is uniquely Australian. 

 

Watching it is like putting on your favourite pair of ugg boots that are comfortable and familiar. And nearly 20 years after it was first released, the foxy morons from Fountain Lakes are still as popular as ever. So what is the secret behind the lasting success of Kath and Kim?

 

Kath and Kim follow the life of the always well presented and accessorised Kath, her only daughter, the slovenly Kim, their husbands Kel (Glenn Robbins) and Brett (Peter Rowsthorn) and Kim’s second-best friend Sharon (Magda Szubanski).

 

Created by Gina Riley and Jane Turner; the characters of Kath and Kim blossomed from the mid-90s in the comedy series Big Girls’ Blouse. 

 

The Head of Drama at the ABC in the early 2000s championed the idea of a full series, giving the show the unique distinction of being a comedy produced by the drama department. It lasted four seasons, with a telemovie and a feature film before being rested by Riley and Turner in 2012. 

 

Kath and Kim, along with Kel, Brett and Sharon have the unique capability of being loved by the people they are parodying. There is somebody in all of our lives who is just like them, or perhaps we can see a bit of the characters in ourselves. It’s unique Australian humour with references to the day to day life that we are all familiar with. But Kath and Kim also have International appeal with some big names making guest appearances including Kylie Minogue, Matt Lucas, Barry Humphries, Geoffrey Rush and Michael Buble. It also produced a short-lived American spinoff starring Selma Blair and Molly Shannon in 2008; cancelled after only one season. 

So, just how does Kath and Kim stand the test of time?

 

 I asked the question to over 60,000 members of the Facebook group ‘Da Kath and Kim Appreciation Society’ and received many interesting answers. 

 

The common theme? 

 

The show is familiar, funny and comfortable. 

 

It feels like you are visiting old friends every time you watch it. 

 

For me, whenever I watch it, I am instantly transported back to my childhood in the 2000s. 

 

And of course, the hilarious phrases and words that they use. 

 

Kath and Kim have inspired many quotes that have become a part of everyday Aussie vocabulary.

 

My top 5 favourite quotes:

 

“Does it make me a crim to keep myself trim?” – Kath

 

“I’m not criticizing you mum. I’m just saying you look bad.” – Kim

 

“No kiss. No coach.” – Brain (played by Tony Rickards)

 

“Things to see, people to do.” – Gary Poole (played by Mick Molloy)

 

“It’s noice. It’s different. It’s unusual.” – Kath and Kim

 

Kath and Kim is currently streaming on Netflix. If you are a BIG FAN and want to test your knowledge; check out the quiz from their website- https://kathandkim.com/kath-kim-quiz/

 

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/jan/18/how-kath-kim-became-style-icons-wed-end-up-in-tears-on-the-floor

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2205140465

 

https://www.nine.com.au/entertainment/latest/kath-and-kim-great-australian-comedy-reasons-nine-watch/95c2ab3b-c5c6-46c9-887d-1226bbc92f10

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

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The Darling World of Mr Darcy

The Darling World of Mr Darcy

Written by Cassidy Krygger

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that everybody swoons over Mr Darcy. 

 

He is the dashing romantic hero of Jane Austen’s most famous novel Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1813. The story has stood the test of time and has had a seemingly even more successful transition into the modern world of film and television. Handsome and arrogant Fitzwilliam Darcy, his leading lady Elizabeth Bennet and their slow-burning romance have inspired countless stories and romantic heroes since they were introduced to the world over 200 years ago.

There have been 12 film and television adaptations of Pride and Prejudice since it’s 1940 cinematic debut when Sir Laurence Olivier brought Mr Darcy to life. 

Each has a different view on Jane Austen’s world, responding to popular culture at the time of release and also the latest filming trends. But who donned Mr Darcy’s breeches best? I have narrowed the list down to the three most famous (and perhaps my three favourites). 

Laurence Olivier: Legendary British actor Laurence Olivier, who had brought another famous literary hero Heathcliff to life in the first-ever adaptation of Wuthering Heights the previous year, signed on to bring Mr Darcy into the moving picture world in 1940. 

The film is perhaps the loosest of all the adaptations with the hope of capitalizing on the success of Gone With The Wind which had swept the world the year before, by changing the period of the story from the 1810s to the 1830s. 

 

The chemistry between this Darcy and Elizabeth, played by Hollywood legend Greer Garson, can leave you wanting. 

 

Even Olivier agreed, “It was difficult to make Darcy into anything more than an unattractive-looking prig, and darling Greer seemed all wrong as Elizabeth.” The film came at a $241,000 loss to the studios, but Olivier’s portrayal of Darcy has seemingly influenced every other Darcy portrayal that has come after it. And perhaps this is its enduring legacy.

Colin Firth: When Colin Firth emerged from the lake as Mr Darcy in his wet shirt in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice mini-series, hearts raced all over the world, and British critics called the moment “the most memorable moment in British television history.” He and the series became a phenomenon, with over 10 million UK viewers glued to the weekly 6 part series. 

 

The legacy Firth and Jennifer Ehle as his Elizabeth Bennet left behind is best described by Professor Deborah Cartmell of DeMontford University “It’s almost usurped the original novel in the minds of the public.” Firth and his wet shirt changed the way the viewing public related to Jane Austen and her novels, inspiring most period dramas that have emerged out of England since. 

 

Matthew MacFadyen: Only ten years after the 1995 mini-series, a young and relatively unknown actor by the name of Matthew Macfadyen filled the big shoes left by Colin Firth when he was cast in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie. 

 

This is a significant declaration for me to make, but Macfadyen’s portrayal of Mr Darcy is my favourite. He nails the aloofness of the character but injects a vulnerability that seems to have been missing from earlier performances (sorry!). The chemistry between this Darcy and his Miss Bennet played by Keira Knightley is electric. The film was a smash hit with Knightley earning her first Academy Award nomination. 

 

Austen scholars also approved with Professor Carol M. Dole of Ursinus College praising the filmmakers for the use of “youth-orientated filming techniques.” and consequently, opening up Mr Darcy and the world of Austen to a new and younger generation. 

 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Every version of Darcy mentioned in this article is different. 

 

A symbol of the time mixed in with the hero Jane Austen wrote over 200 years ago. Do you have a favourite Mr Darcy? Is it the originality of Olivier? The smouldering aloofness of Firth? Or the heart-pounding romanticism of Macfadyen? Or perhaps your heart lies with another actor not mentioned in this article. I’d love to know your thoughts! 

 

Also, side note for the diehard Pride and Prejudice fan, other Austen based worlds I love and recommend are; Lost in Austen, Death Comes to Pemberley and Austenland. 

 

Happy Swooning!

 

http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/465921/index.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2004/sep/29/books.gender 

 

http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol27no2/dole.htm

 

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