In honor of Mother’s Day, I decided to rotate this post originally published a few years ago. Donovan and myself ranked our favorite all-time television moms. Let’s face it: at one point growing up, we’ve watched a few sitcoms and thought it’d be cool to have one of those TV moms as our own, especially when we were fighting with our real ones ;)
10. Sandy Hogan (Sandy Duncan) The Hogan Family (1986-1991)
Played by Sandy Duncan, she was the aunt that came in to effectively become the surrogate mom of the family after their mother, Valerie Harper, was killed off in the second season. She had a lot to deal with playing the role of the “mother” and it was a very interesting concept for that time, since it was not the conventional perfect family. Oh, do you remember that Jason Bateman was in this show? Here’s a link to the show’s intro to refresh your memory.
10. Elyse Keaton (Meredith Baxter) Family Ties (1982-1989)
There are three different reasons why Elyse Keaton made the list.
9. Maggie Malone Seaver (Joanna Kerns) Growing Pains (1985-1992)
Played by Joanna Kerns, she was a journalist and mom that was able to juggle career and family- even her problem child Michael Seaver. It seems like this show was so long ago- which it was- but even longer because you don’t see re-runs on TV. Nevertheless, I liked her. Again, here’s the intro to refresh your memory.
9. Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones) The Addams Family (1964-1966)
We’ve all gone through a goth, emo, heavy metal or whatever you want to call it phase. I remember being fifteen and wanting to paint my room black. Obviously my parents denied my request, but I’m sure if Morticia was my mom, she would’ve loved my idea and probably rolled up her sleeves to help me out. Black is the new black, ya’ll.
8. Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) The Golden Girls (1985-1992)
Played by the late Estelle Getty, her character was born in the early 1900s in Sicily, often referring back to it: “Picture it, Sicily, 1945…” She lived with her daughter, and was never afraid to give her a hard time. I mean after all, her daughter was divorced, had grey hair, and was living with her mother and two other roommates. Sophia was very witty, but very loyal to her family. If she acted up, her daughter Dorothy would threaten to send her back to Shady Pines- the dreaded retirement home.
8. Maggie Malone Seaver (Joanna Kerns) Growing Pains (1985-1992)
She almost didn’t make the cut due to Kirk Cameron’s views on homosexuality. It’s not her fault he grew up to be such a fool. In the end, I put her on this list because she obviously has a huge heart. Other mothers would have never put up with Carol and all her issues, Mike and all his antics, and Ben for just being Ben.
7. Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) Desperate Housewives (2004-2012)
Played by Felicity Huffman, Lynette’s a wonderful, dedicated mother & wife. She was once a career-women, but gave it up for her family- although sometimes torn at times to turn back. Her kids are brats and she finds herself doing a lot of juggling, as most mothers do. She also battled cancer on the show, and to see her come through it and be so brave for her family in the process was very inspirational I would imagine, for other mothers going through the same circumstances in real life.
7. Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) Roseanne (1988-1997)
At first watch, I couldn’t stand this show nor Roseanne Barr herself. But, through the magic of syndication and TBS, I grew to love Roseanne and her parenting methods. No matter how tough she was with her kids, you knew she loved them and would do anything to protect them. She does however lose some brownie points for not recognizing that her eldest daughter, Becky, was portrayed by two different actresses. I’m bugging. Seriously though, who wouldn’t want to have Roseanne as their mom especially after winning the lottery. A total jump the shark moment.
6. Vivian Banks (Janet Hubert-Whitten) Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996)
Played by Jane Hubert-Whitten, she was living the life in a beautiful home with a very happy family, and was very grounded all things considered. She was rarely angry, kept her cool, and always looked fabulous.
6. Marge Simpson (Julie Kavner) The Simpsons (1989-Present)
I’m yellow: she’s yellow. Enough said. D’oh!
5. Jill Taylor (Patricia Richardson) Home Improvement (1991-1999)
Played by Patricia Richardson, Jill Taylor is the wife of “Tim the Tool Man” Taylor. She’s great with her kids, has a great sense of humour, and a lot of patience to be able to deal with a husband who constantly destroys things around the house in an attempt to renovate & boost things up with power. I remember the episode where Tim made her this elaborate shoe closet, conveyor belt and all. So sweet, but tacky.
5. Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) The Nanny (1993-1999)
So, technically, she didn’t give birth to the kids she took care of but this woman was fierce and cared for the kids like they were her own. She worked in a bridal shop in Flushing Queens ’til her boyfriend kicked her out in one of those crushing scenes ;) If you recognized that bit, then you’re obviously a fan of this big-haired, nasally nanny. Just like most homos, she loved Barbra Streisand. Actually, the more I think about it, she was more like a drag queen rather than a nanny. Regardless, she’s one of my faves.
4. Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) Weeds (2005-2012)
Played by Mary-Louise Parker, Nancy Botwin is a sexy, widowed mother that does whatever it takes for her and her kids to survive. She doesn’t go about it the right way to start off with, but stuck on this adventure she embarks on, she does whatever it takes when it comes to her boys. Just when you think things are bad, they get worse. A must-watch show. She deserved her Emmy for this character.
4. Angela Bower (Judith Light) Who’s The Boss (1984-1992)
Before she was Claire Meade on Ugly Betty, Judith Light was the ultimate 80s single mother working hard for her money to support her son. We’ve heard Hilary Clinton say: “It takes a village,” but in this case all you need is a hot, Italian, ex-baseball player to raise your child. Not only did Angela have good taste in housekeepers, but you knew she’d be the type of mom who would stand proudly by her gay son. Let’s face it, we all knew Jonathan Bower would be batting for our team when he grew up.
3. Bree Van De Kamp-Hodge (Marcia Cross) Desperate Housewives (2004-2012)
Played by Marcia Cross, she’s the Martha Stewart of Wisteria Lane. She tries so hard to be perfect and wants nothing but the the best for her family and friends at whatever the cost. It’s interesting- I’m sure a lot of our moms put on a brave face for us growing up and may have broken down from time to time behind the scenes, just as Bree has. She is absolutely hilarious to watch, and my favourite character on the show.
3. Claire Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad)- The Cosby Show (1984-1992).
Oh Claire Huxtable. Not the funniest mom on the list but there was something so elegantly captivating about her. At one point, I’m sure we all wanted to be a Cosby kid just to take part in those show intros they did every year. Just think if you were in this family you’d have unlimited Jell-o due to Bill Cosby’s endorsement. You’d be the most popular kid on the block courtesy of your “Jell-o shots”.
2. Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) Roseanne (1988-1997)
Played by Roseanne Barr, I liked the show and her character because their situation wasn’t so perfect. They didn’t have a lot of money, they didn’t always have the best manners or etiquette, but when it came to family and her kids, Roseanne did whatever she could for them. Although very humorous, she was also a very vulnerable character and a lot of very important and controversial issues were brought to light on this show.
2. Peggy Bundy (Katey Sagal) Married With Children (1987-1997)
Oh Al!!! Spandex and cheap hooker high heels never looked so good. Every time she did her signature walk, she cracked me up. Peggy was so trailer park trashy she even made Roseanne look classy. I loved this show and watch the DVDs whenever I want to get nostalgic.
1. Claire Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad) The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
Played by Phylicia Rashad, She tops my list. For one, it was one of my favorite shows growing up and I would actually watch it with my family. And, two – she was a strong, successful women with a great sense of humor and managed to keep everyone in line. I always LOVED their intros.
1. Carol Brady (Florence Henderson) The Brady Brunch (1969-1974)
This lovely lady was bringing up three very lovely girls long before single mothers were the norm. She was smart enough to talk her gay husband into hiring a housekeeper to do all the work. Didn’t you ever wonder what Carol did throughout the day? Alice cooked, cleaned, did laundry and even did the “meat man”. In all seriousness though, Carol Brady with her short blond hairstyle will be one of those iconic TV mothers that will stand the test of time.
To all the real and fictitious mothers out there, we wish you a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Who’s your favorite TV mom?