The Nanny, Can't Hurry Love, Murphy Brown and High Society

Can't Hurry Love (1995-1996)
High Society (1995-1996)
Murphy Brown (1988-1998)
The Nanny (1993-1999)
Type: Crossover
Group 2

   Oh how I fought this one. I've had several people write in about it saying, "Hey, Liz Taylor did a thing where she was on 4 CBS sitcoms in the same night so that's a big crossover!" And I'd sit back and laugh and dismiss it. Why? Well because Liz Taylor is a real person and just because she did a stunt where she popped up on 4 shows in the same night that doesn't mean it's a crossover. It just means a celebrity did 4 guest appearances. Of course I hadn't seen the shows...

   And then I get an e-mail from someone who had seen the shows that made me eat my own laughter. It turns out it was a crossover. Seems not only did Liz Taylor appear (which isn't enough to count), as she moved from show to show she also had a continuing storyline that followed her (which is enough, dang it). In point of fact it turns out while the plot connected all the shows Liz herself didn't actually appear on all the shows!

   The Nanny starred Fran Drescher as Fran Fine. Fran Fine was a Jewish New York girl who, having lost her job as a beautician, ended up working as a Nanny for British theatrical producer Max Sheffield's children. Fran and Max also had a"will they or won't they get together" almost romantic relationship which eventually led to them getting married.

   The crossover started on The Nanny with Max trying to get Elizabeth Taylor to appear in one of his plays. Liz stops by the house and gets Fran to agree to deliver Liz's black pearls to a photo shoot she will be doing. Fran readily agrees. Taking a taxi to deliver the pearls, Fran ends up showing off the pearls to the taxi's down in the dumps driver played by comedienne Rosie O'Donnell. The cab driver makes a sudden stop with the cab causing Fran to bonk her head, get knocked unconscious and, in standard sitcom tradition, get TOTAL amnesia. When she comes around the pearls are gone and not only does Fran not know where they went, she doesn't know who she is. At this point in the series Fran and Max were not a couple. But amnesiac Fran assumes they are, that they are in fact married and that the kid's are hers and wackiness ensues as she acts on those beliefs. In the end Fran regains her memory and, way too late, realizes she must have left the pearls in the cab.

   Next up was Can't Hurry Love. Starring former Facts Of Life star Nancy McKeon, Can't Hurry Love was another "bunch of friends living in the city" show in the mode of... well, Friends. Only instead of the six main characters that Friends had, Can't Hurry Love had four - two girls, two guys. The show wasn't exactly a runaway hit and the Liz Taylor crossover episode was actually it's last.

   The gang gets involved in the plot when a couple of the friends get into the same cab Fran had been in earlier. Only now Rosie isn't driving (it is a taxi - not like Rosie would be the only person driving it 24/7). Coming up short on cab fair at the end of their ride Nancy McKeon and friend (don't ask me which... I'll guess and say it's one of the non-Nancy McKeon characters) start rooting around for any cash that might be found between the seat cushions of the cab. Lo and behold... Liz Taylor's pearls!

   So Liz will get her pearls back right? Hell no. That would stop this madness two shows too soon. Nancy McKeon's character Annie can't resist and wears the pearls out for the evening where, while dancing she loses them. The pearls end up getting stolen away by a thief who will pop up again...

   ... but not until after CBS's mega hit Murphy Brown. Very quick, Murphy Brown was a sitcom about the behind the scenes goings on of a 60 Minutes style network news magazine called FYI. The show obviously focused on Candice Bergen's title character Murphy Brown. In this episode Murphy was supposed to have an interview with Liz Taylor. Liz is trying to spread the word about her missing pearls. Liz calls off the interview when a lead on the pearls comes in. As you can guess Liz's lead doesn't pan out because, hey, we've got another show to go...

   Remember that thief I mentioned earlier? Well he pops up on the last show: High Society. And remember how Can't Hurry Love was sort of a friends clone? Well High Society was sort of a clone of the British hit sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. Both shows were about boozing and drugging rich female pals living alongside straight-laced and disapproving family members. In this case the leading lushes were played by Designing Women's Jean Smart (who in that show played the entire opposite sort of character) and Dances With Wolves' Mary McDonnell (who in that movie played, uh, a white Indian chick... who did not do peyote AT ALL).

   Well the thief from Can't Hurry Love shows up in High Society to rob the home of it's stars. This results in the main characters Ellie and Dott and Dott's straight laced son Brendan getting tied up together, again in typical sitcom fashion. In this horrible situation Jean Smart's character Ellie gets to see how much Dott and her son Brendan care for and love each other and decides she wants to have a baby. Most of the rest of the show follows her efforts to clean up her act, find somebody to donate some, ahem, needed genetic material (nudge nudge saynomore saynomore) and her dreaming of the possible future. In the end they get their stuff back and, accidentally, Liz's black pearls. Getting short changed in the guest star department, Liz Taylor shows up to retrieve her jewels but only in the form of a voice over with an arm double for Liz reaching in and grabbing her pearls. No offense to such a legend but, hey Liz, if you sign up for a four episode stunt like this it's tacky to "phone in" the big finish. Geesh. And seeing as, just like Can't Hurry Love, this was High Society's final episode it would have been a nice touch to be there.

   Here is the really weird part. There's more. All four shows done but it ain't over yet. For this one time event viewers then got one final scene featuring The Nanny. Max is relieved that Liz has gotten her jewels back, that she will work with him and that all is right with the world. Only Fran floats the idea that maybe the pearls Liz got back might be fakes. What? How could that be? Mr. Sheffield starts freaking out. Fran calms him down pointing out its impossible since there is no one who could have pulled a switcheroo. The thief didn't and who else possibly could have had the opportunity? Cut to cabby Rosie with the real pearls hollering a thanks to Liz. Okay, there are hole in this Rosie could drive a cab through (Nancy McKeon coulda switched 'em, why would Rosie bother to make fakes and plant them in the cab?) but who cares. The final scene can be seen online at The Really Unofficial Nanny Home Page web site of which you can find a link to below. Click here to go directly to the page which features that clip (the link to the main page of the site is at the bottom of the page).

   Now there is one thing that really bugs me about this whole thing. See I, clearly, think crossovers are cool. Its fun when networks do stuff like this usually. But in this case Elizabeth Taylor was doing this as a stunt to help promote her perfume Black Pearls. See that wrecks it for me. It means I'm less watching a fun crossover event and more watching a two hour ad. And I wouldn't even mind that so much if it wasn't so half assed in execution. Liz can't bother to be in the finale episode? That's WEAK! That just screams "I am bothering to do this for P.R. purposes but I'm only going to do the least I can get away with". I could be reading it all wrong. Maybe circumstances beyond her control prevented her from being on High Society (even though she made time for the big name shows The Nanny and Murphy Brown) and if that is true I apologize. But it looked bad to me.

    Please note The Nanny and Murphy Brown had another separate crossover which is detailed on the Murphy Brown/Nanny page linked to below..

Other Murphy Brown Crossover Links
Murphy Brown and The Bob Newhart Show
Murphy Brown and The Famous Teddy Z
Murphy Brown and Ink
Murphy Brown and Love And War
Murphy Brown and The Nanny Page 1

Other The Nanny Crossover Links
The Nanny and Everybody Loves Raymond
The Nanny and Murphy Brown Page 1

Links To The Nanny Web Sites
The Really Unofficial Nanny Home Page

Click here to return to main Crossover List

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