Fran Fine, a whiny, nasal-voiced Jewish woman from Flushing, New York, has just been fired from her job and abandoned by her boyfriend. She ends up selling cosmetics in Manhattan. This takes her to the home of Maxwell Sheffield, a rich, widowed English Broadway producer. She is mistaken to be applying for the job of nanny to Maxwell's three children and is hired for that purpose. She becomes quite attached to the children, Maggie, Brighton, and Grace, and becomes great friends with the butler, Niles. There is sexual tension between her and Mr. Sheffield, which is complicated by the fact that his partner, C.C. Babcock, likes him.