Homer Simpson said it best when he cooed to his TV, “Television: Teacher, mother, secret lover.”
Even though the family sitcoms we watch on TV aren’t real, it doesn’t mean we can’t identify with or learn a thing or two from them. The mother is the key figure in the majority of family shows, a crucial lynchpin to the family functioning. There are always lessons to impart, stories to tell, punishments to be doled out — and who better than a TV mom to mete out justice for all?
Here, in no particular order and in honour of Mother’s Day, are some of the best TV moms and what they taught us.
Tami Taylor, Friday Night Lights
C’mon y’all, has there ever been a more loving, doting, amazing TV mom? You could go to Tami with anything (even if she wasn’t your mom), and she’d sit down, glass of wine in hand, to counsel you. To Tami, family was everything, and by the end of the series she was the frikkin’ dean of a college. We like to think Tami is somewhere in the fictional TV universe counselling and leading thousands of young adults to better futures.
Marge Simpson, The Simpsons
Of all the TV moms, Marge has the most patience. She’s married to an insufferable buffoon and one of her kids is a nightmare, but despite it all, she still manages to keep her cool and be an amazing parent. She may be wound a little tight, but can you blame her?
Kitty Forman, That ’70s Show
Kitty laughed. A lot. While she did use it to get out of uncomfortable situations and to cope with stress, it also made her more approachable. Even kids that weren’t hers would come to her for advice. We miss those couch talks with Kitty.
Vivian Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Even though the moms cycled on this show, we’re referring to the original Vivian, who laid the smack down when necessary and didn’t take s**t from anyone, including her husband, Phil. All of Aunt Viv’s vivaciousness is on display in this clip from the show.
Carol Brady, The Brady Bunch
Oh, Carol. So loving, so doting, so attentive to all six of her children. Mrs. Brady made everything look simple, packing all her kids’ lunches and making them dinner and breakfast. Alice the housekeeper was an essential part of the daily schedule, but Carol was the crux. And who could ever forget that iconic hair?
Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
Is it possible that Lorelai is the fastest-talking TV mother who ever existed? She and her daughter, Rory, trade barbs and stories at lightning speed, but have one of the strongest bonds on TV. She must be doing something right!
Peggy Bundy, Married… With Children
High heels, tight dresses, big hair — that’s Peggy. While her parenting skills were questionable at best, the Bundys managed to have a strong camaraderie, banding together against nosy neighbours and family foes on many occasions.
June Cleaver, Leave It to Beaver
The original TV mom was as sweet as apple pie. A testament to the time (1957 – 1963), June was always prim and proper, had family meals planned and consistently kept her eye on her sons, Wally and the Beav. June is pretty much the total embodiment of the stereotypical TV mom, and it’s a safe bet that most future TV moms were, in some manner, based on her.
Clair Huxtable, The Cosby Show
No matter what your thoughts are about the ’80s comedy now, you can’t deny that, at the time, it was the family sitcom. Matriarch of the (big) family, Clair, was really the leader of the entire crew. It didn’t matter that her husband, Cliff, was a doctor, because she was a lawyer, and she absolutely owned every potentially dramatic situation that arose in the household, often with an arched eyebrow.
Elyse Keaton, Family Ties
Growing up in the ’80s wasn’t easy, and being a parent to three pubescent/pre-pubescent smart alecks is a tough gig. Elyse always did it with poise, talking her kids through any tough situation and ending any big talks with a hug. Family Ties was pretty big on the sweaters, too, so those hugs really provided comfort.
Rainbow Johnson, Black-ish
You know those moms who make it seem so effortless? Take any scenario — kids bouncing off the walls, kids getting sent home from school, kids tearing each other limb from limb — and Rainbow can solve it in a pinch, often with a seamless plan and a dash of humour.
Roseanne Conner, Roseanne
Admittedly the thought of Roseanne being your mother might be a tad scary at first (she’s no one’s fool), but once you see that Roseanne works her a** off at terrible jobs for her kids, and is actually pretty cool when compared to other moms, you may change your mind. At the very least, you’d have some Grade-A insults ready whenever you need them.
Angela Bower, Who’s the Boss
Sure, housekeeper Tony (Tony Danza) was a big help when it came to raising Angela’s son Jonathan, but without Angela herself, it would have been a majorly chaotic household. For one thing, minus Angela’s
shoulderpads authoritativeness, her mother Mona would have run roughshod and turned her carefully manicured home into an escort service centre.
Sophia Petrillo, The Golden Girls
Sophia wasn’t just a mother to Dorothy, she was a mother to Blanche and Rose, too. Her neverending sarcastic wisecracks were a shield for her love for the other women, which sometimes leaked out in the most endearing ways. Can’t you still hear Dorothy yell “Ma!”?
What are you waiting for? Go wish your mother a Happy Mother’s Day!