After the overnight success of "Hot In Cleveland" in 2010, TV Land tried to score another hit by putting a proven sitcom favorite into a new vehicle: in this case Fran Drescher. In the ultimate example of art imitating life, they take Fran's real-life experience of having her long-time husband come out as gay and turn it into sitcom fodder. Even though all the writers of "The Nanny" were drafted, it lacks the warmth and heart of Fran's previous series. Even the opening credits reflect this, whereas "The Nanny" featured a colorful montage of animated Fran getting kicked out "on her fanny" etc. here all we have are a couple of stick figures, which is all too telling. In today's sitcom world, where most shows only run 20 minutes if that, there's very little time for character development as all the dialogue is usually scripted to propel the plot. So "Happily Divorced" ends up being a series of jokes and sight gags. That's not to say it's bad--it has a lot of cute moments, but (like "Hot In Cleveland IMO) it's still missing that certain "something".
There are several fun references to "The Nanny" and both Renee Taylor and Charles Shaughnessy guest star (Shaughnessy's episode as a bisexual writer is perhaps the season's best). Lou Diamond Phillips ("La Bamba") shows up looking smoking hot and Jennifer Holliday ("Dreamgirls") has a fun cameo.
Fran is as appealing as ever and for a 54-year-old woman she looks AMAZING in this. Yes, she's gained weight since "The Nanny" but she looks REAL, not plastic or anorexic and botoxed like many of her contemporaries (Demi Moore eat your heart out). I actually think she looks better now with a voluptous Marilyn Monroe figure than she did in the '90s. Fans of Fran will still find her as endearing and entertaining as ever, but for the sad state of current sitcoms, this is as good as it gets I suppose.