The clever conceit behind “Beverly Hills Nannies” — aside from the sitcom-like title — is the show isn’t really about nannies at all, but rather the “insane requests” they field from wealthy parents in exchange for $40 an hour. As such, the show yields its share of tittering and head-shaking moments, while representing ABC Family’s tilt into territory generally associated with Bravo or TLC. Despite various creative missteps, the premise alone should help the cabler wrangle a viable Nielsen brood.
Of course, “Beverly Hills” is basically a state of mind, so the show (which features one family several zip codes away in Malibu) is really about implying money and celebrity, despite surfing the shallow end of the name-recognition gene pool. In terms of star wattage, the employers probably peak at model Cindy Margolis and … Carrie Fisher’s half-sister, Tricia.
A product of the team behind “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” the premiere is poorly structured and confusingly edited, introducing too many nannies in separate locales, until it’s difficult to become particularly invested in any of them. There’s also a transparent device that involves bringing the nannies together to drink and swap stories, allowing them to relate salacious tales not unearthed elsewhere.
Fortunately, the bosses serve up enough cringe-worthy exchanges to make the series a sort-of wonderful hot mess, following in the footsteps of “Love to hate them” fare like Bravo’s “maternity concierge” series “Pregnant in Heels.”
Among the moms, for example, there’s Marika Tsircou, who whines at her nanny Justin Sylvester, “Can you please rub my feet while I’m nursing?” Or the family that illustrates how being Vegan complicates finding a snack capable of pleasing a four year old. Or Ariane Bellamar, a self-proclaimed “Malibu Barbie” (and likely future Gawker favorite), who asks eventual nanny Amber Valdez to pick up dog poop on her job interview, and — after rating Amber’s appearance in front of her — frets about whether she’s “upscale enough” to represent the house during the second hour.
Amber confesses she wants to be a TV host — sucking up to the odiously rich apparently isn’t every Beverly Hills nanny’s longterm career plan — which is no doubt a goal for many of these participants. (Kristin Lancione, the nanny ring leader, lands a producer credit.)
Despite the shortcomings, many issues and situations ought to resonate with the network’s targeted young-female audience, from pervy dads (discussed, not seen, during the staged gatherings) to the underlying notion of how much crap one must endure to retain one of these jobs.
“I am not a big fan of icky things,” the poop-phobic Ariane deadpans in the second episode, seemingly oblivious to the fact for the purposes of “Beverly Hills Nannies,” she helps provide the “ick” factor for all those reality-TV viewers who are.