The Nanny (real name Linda) is the deuteragonist of Netflix's 2020 computer-animated film The Willoughbys. She is a fun-loving babysitter who is hired by the neglectful parents Walter "Father" and Helga "Mother" Willoughby to look after their children Tim, Jane, Barnaby A and Barnaby B. Over the course of the movie, she develops a maternal relationship with the siblings and at the end of the movie becomes their adoptive mother. She is also an orphan.
She was voiced by Maya Rudolph, who also voiced Rapunzel in Shrek the Third, Burn in Turbo, Precious the Pug in The Nut Job films, Aunt Cass in Big Hero 6, Griselda in Strange Magic, Matilda in The Angry Birds Movie films, Smiler in The Emoji Movie, Linda Mitchell in The Mitchells vs. the Machines, and Daniela Paguro in Luca.
Linda the Nanny was once an orphan wanted by the Department of Orphan Services. They would frequently take her to different homes to which no one would want her to be part of their family. Eventually, Linda would grow up to become a nanny and get hired by the Willoughby children Tim, Jane, Barnaby A and Barnaby B's parents Walter "Father" and Helga "Mother" Willoughby, to which she would then develop a maternal relationship with the four siblings over the course of her time with them.
Linda is a plump tan-skinned woman with bushy brown hair. She wears a green one-piece outfit with pink overalls, white shoes, glasses, and multi-colored bracelets over both arms. She also wears lipstick on her face and has freckles beneath her eyes.
Linda first appears in the movie after the Willoughby children Tim, Jane, and the Barnaby twins A and B's parents Walter and Helga Willoughby leave them for a deadly romantic vacation. She enters the house with an umbrella at the very moment where Tim and Jane argue about how being an orphan works. She claims to have "no qualifications but a cheery disposition". She manages to win Jane over because of their shared love of singing, but Tim and the Barnabys don't trust her, and head up to the library, to which the Barnabys show Tim their "Nana-pult", which is a catapult that launches unwanted nannies out the window. Tim, although impressed, does not like the idea, only for Linda and Jane to come up to the library, to which the former sits down in the Nana-pult's "Nanny cup" after mistaking it for a bouncy chair. Impressed with the invention, she decides to name the Barnabys Barnaby A and Barnaby B Willoughby, causing them to feel trusted by her, leaving Tim, who is then launched out the window by accident, the only one still distrusting of Linda the Nanny's care. Linda then feeds Jane and Barnaby A and B oatmeal in the dining room, which Tim refuses to partake in, causing Linda to feel disrespected. She decides to put Tim in a time-out, but Tim mistakes it for going into the coal bin again. Linda then realizes how bad the Willoughby children's parents are, and eventually finds out that they gave an orphaned baby named Ruth to a joyous candymaker named Commander Melanoff, and they all go to his factory together to get her back.
After arriving at the factory, Linda manages to save Ruth from a candy crusher, and exposes the Willoughbys' doing of giving Ruth to Commander Melanoff to the latter's face, to which she also claims they are not "angels" in doing so either. They all then go into the factory kitchen, where Commander Melanoff feeds Ruth oatmeal. Seeing him actually care for Ruth like a father, Linda allows the baby to stay with him, and she takes a picture of the Willoughby siblings all embracing the love that Commander Melanoff is giving them. During the bus ride home, she and Tim share the chocolate bar Commander Melanoff gives him, to which she then says she is glad Tim enjoyed the time at the factory, which gives an indication that Tim is beginning to trust Linda more. However, after overhearing his father's voice over her phone, he quickly begins to lose his trust again. Later that evening, after learning that his parents are planning to sell the house to continue their vacation, Tim locks Linda up in their parents' bedroom, with the rest of the siblings booby trapping the house for the sale, and Tim calling the Department of Orphan Services to have Linda removed from their care.
Linda later appears the next day after the siblings successfully sabotage the sale, which is held by real estate agent Irene Holmes, as a monster that scared away potential "perfect family" buyers named the "Willoughby Beast". She admits that she cares about the children more than the job she was hired to do, and finally Tim trusts her after learning the truth. But before he can fully embrace this newfound love, the Department of Orphan Services show up to take her away. Lead agent Alice Vernakov recognizes her as an orphan they tried and failed to give to a family, and exposes Tim's phone call to their headquarters, prompting Linda to leave the Willoughbys' house with a broken heart. The siblings are then separated following her absence and a fight between Tim and Jane, with the house sold for construction and destroyed to pieces.
As she prepares to leave town, Linda feels guilt for leaving the children, even after Tim broke her heart by calling the Department of Orphan Services to get rid of her despite her doing a good job as a nanny. Suddenly, the bus she is in stops abruptly, and she sees Tim's hat on the road. Inspired, she decides to get the whole family back together, to which she then heads to the Department of Orphan Services' correctional facility to bust Tim out. The plan works, at the cost of the agents chasing after her, accompanied by a guard named Phil that she posed as. Linda and Tim then gather up Barnaby A and B and Jane, the latter of whom Tim makes up with.
Now on the run from orphan services agents, Linda and the Willoughbys agree the only thing they can do is get the parents back, which will allow them to stay together as a family. They all head to Commander Melanoff's factory to build a giant dirigible airship made of candy to fly it to Sveetzerlünd. Linda and Commander Melanoff go into the factory's kitchen to make oatmeal that they then bag up, but notice the Willoughbys stealing the dirigible and using it to head to Sveetzerlünd themselves. The siblings then head off to Sveetzerlünd and up the Unclimbable Alps, where they nearly die in the snowy cold after failing to get their parents back.
Linda and Commander Melanoff then show up just in time to save them from freezing to death, but learn that their parents stole the dirigible and are presumed dead, making their children orphans for real. Tim manages to convince Linda and Commander Melanoff to adopt him and his siblings, and they all head back home using Commander Melanoff's candy suit as a means of flying above the mountains.
Back at the candy factory, the siblings all eat oatmeal and "Melanoff Meatloaf" for dinner, the latter of which gets scarfed down by Ruth, who gains a meat mustache. They all laugh at her amusing appearance and then put up a family portrait on the wall, finally believing that they are living like a normal family.
Unbeknownst to them all, Walter and Helga Willoughby have, in fact, survived the dirigible crash, and are now eating the candy from its remains. They are then, however, presumably eaten alive by a shark.
The Nanny went unnamed in the original book. In the movie, she is named Linda.
Linda (The Nanny) shares the same first name and similar appearance as Linda Mitchell from Sony Pictures Animation's 2021 film The Mitchells vs. the Machines. Coincidentally, both are voiced by Maya Rudolph and play the role of being maternal figures to the main protagonist(s) (Tim, Jane, and the Barnabys for Linda (The Nanny) and Katie and Aaron Mitchell for Linda Mitchell).
Although Linda (The Nanny) adopted her children whilst Linda Mitchell is the biological mother of her children.
Both Linda (The Nanny)'s voice actress Maya Rudolph and Commander Melanoff's actor Terry Crews have appeared in animated movies by Sony Pictures Animation starring Anna Faris: Rudolph was in The Emoji Movie where she voiced Smiler and Faris voiced Jailbreak, whilst Crews was in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, where he voiced Earl Devereaux and Faris voiced Sam Sparks.
Both Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and The Willoughbys were also directed by Kris Pearn, featured the voice of Will Forte, and were scored by Mark Mothersbaugh.
Linda (The Nanny) is the first human character to be played by Maya Rudolph in a family film since the unnamed mother of Finn and Bianca in The Lego Movie's 2019 sequel The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.
Coincidentally, both movies had Mark Mothersbaugh as composer.