|The Nanny Cast, Public Domain|
I admit one of my guiltiest pleasures is watching Fran Drescher in The Nanny, 90s sitcom that took the usual theme of Jane Eyre marrying Mr. Rochester to a new, hip dimension. It takes her 5 years, but Fran Fine marries Mr. Sheffield, her prince charming, and in an interesting twist, Ms. C.C. Babcock, theater exec and accomplished in everyway but having a personality, marries the butler, Niles.
These are unsuitable attachments that work across class, annoying, nasally voices, and snotty upbringing. Pym would be in her heyday, and Ms. Fine is certainly not like Jane Eyre. Nor would Mr. Rochester be grabbing at Jane, screaming "Miss Eyre!" as the often petulant Mr. Sheffield shouts "Ms. Fine!" when the going gets tough. Yet, the writing is witty, the chemistry among all the actors fantastic, and the irony keeps it all fast paced. The rest of the cast does its part, too, with additional guest stars, some incredibly famous, adding their own voice to the Peanuts Gallery.
Other shows that have attempted this male boss and female subordinate-servant romance include Gun Smoke, what is going on with Miss Kitty and Marshall Matt? Then, there's I Married Dora, Perry Mason and Della Street [look up an article called "The Emotional Labor of Paralegals"], Castle and The Mentalist [maybe the woman didn't work for the man, but as coworkers, they ended up as love interests], Hunter, to a certain extent, The Courtship of Eddy's Father, and Ugly Betty.
There was even some upstairs-downstairs action going on in Dark Shadows between Beth and Quentin. Of course, literature is full of tragic, compromised women who yearned for and received an unsuitable attachment above their class. Think Tess, if not all of Thomas Hardy [who, by the way, was happily married as far as we know], Madame Bovary, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, The Age of Innocence, All of Jane Austen, and of course, Pym's classic, An Unsuitable Attachment.
In one episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary Richards and Mr. Grant attempt to date, and in another, they appeared as a married couple in a shot of the casts' future. There is an ION Christmas film based on a Cinderella theme; it seems never to have gone out of fashion.
After a lot of struggle and misunderstanding, these excellent women rule the roost behind the scenes in the case of Hazel and Alice of The Brady Bunch, or they somehow marry the lord of the manor and live happily ever after.
Do unsuitable attachments work? Not always, not if you're Princess Diana. Even suitable ones don't work in some cases, no, in a lot of cases.
Whatever happened to "grow old with me; the best is yet to be." It isn't bad to have things in common, to marry the familiar. No, I don't believe in impediments to true love, but I'm not sure I believe in fairy tales, either.