I’m not quite sure why the Counterpunch article “Why Won’t TV Show Jewish Couples” (Calendar, May 2) incorporated a vitriolic attack on “The Nanny.” Since Judith Peiss felt the need to describe our writers as portraying Fran Fine “in the most negative ways,” replete with “offensive stereotypes,” however, I felt obligated to respond, if not for myself, then for those who have worked long and hard to ensure that Fran be a warm, caring, and wise character who clearly transcends any stereotypes, Jewish or otherwise.
Why waste time putting down a fellow “sister” such as Fran Fine--someone who displays such a great capacity for love and wisdom and has such wholesome values and good instincts as a Jew, a woman and, above all, as a human being--over something so petty and superficial as plastic slipcovers and the sound of her voice?
The truth of the matter is I created Fran Fine based very closely upon my mother, myself and all the wonderful and rich characters I grew up around in Flushing, Queens. I am sorry andsad if the way we really are (yes, plastic covers and all) offends Peiss, mainly because all her article accomplished was to reveal her own insecurities as a Jewish woman living in a WASP culture.
Perhaps Peiss finds Fran Fine too blatantly Jewish for her taste. But Fran is openly proud of her heritage, and often incorporates Yiddish expressions in her dialogue. I find it infuriating to deal with negativity regarding a character who is clearly carving inroads for other Jewish characters--particularly women--who will not have to apologize for who or what they are. Maybe Peiss has been brainwashed--by the very media she puts down--into believing that the only good portrayal of a Jew is an assimilated one!
P.S. If Peiss has a Nielsen box, please disregard the above.