Are these TV’s most iconic mums?
If you’re anything like me, then you spent a significant portion of your childhood in front of the TV, much to the dismay of your real-life mother.
The net result of this misspent youth is that the characters we spent hours watching began to feel like a part of the family. And so with Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to pay tribute to our top 10 favourite TV mothers.
Marge Simpson, The Simpsons
She’s smart, she’s tolerant, she’s oh-so-yellow. In many ways, Marge Simpson represents the frustrating plight faced by most TV mothers: existing as a foil for the family. But when Marge got a chance to shine away from Homer and the kids, she proved to be a complex character worthy of our appreciation. She’s also a lady of many talents, having worked as a police officer, the Listen Lady, the mayor of Springfield, and, briefly, a substitute teacher.
Ultimate Mum quote: “Listen to your mother, kids. Aim low. Aim so low no one will even care if you succeed.”
Marge Simpson well and truly earns her spot on the Top 10 TV Mothers’ list.
Lucille Bluth, Arrested Development
Your classic “do as I say, not as I do” type mother. Who can blame Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter) for her wayward parenting when she had to look after such a mixed bag of children?
When she wasn’t eye-rolling her husband George Senior or sleeping with his twin, Oscar, Lucille was most likely getting day drunk and experimenting with her medication. A true icon.
Ultimate Mum quote: “I love all my children equally… [though] I don’t care for G.O.B.”
Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
After giving birth to Rory at just 16, Lorelai (Lauren Graham) had to learn pretty quickly that life can be full of challenges. But the beauty of Gilmore Girls (and by extension, Lorelai) is that we learnt almost any problem in life can be sorted by gorging on Chinese food from Al’s Pancake World and having a movie marathon.
Across seven seasons, we witnessed Lorelai’s delicate balancing act, raising Rory (Alexis Bledel) into an intelligent and insightful teenager while also refusing to sacrifice her own goals.
Lorelai may talk fast and have wasted too much time with Christopher (#TeamLuke forever), but ultimately, she’s the kind of TV mum dreams are made of.
Ultimate Mum quote: “If you’re going to throw your life away, he better have a motorcycle.”
Rory (Alexis Bledel) and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) in the fondly remembered Gilmore Girls.
Tami Taylor, Friday Night Lights
If y’all have lost your way, there is only one woman who can set you on the path back to righteousness: Tami Taylor. In Connie Britton’s capable hands, Tami evolved into a feminist icon, becoming the principal of Dillon High (not to mention her husband’s boss).
In a 2013 interview with The New York Times, Britton said she was “rabid” about holding the producers to their promise that Tami would do more than just cheer on her husband from the bleachers.
Ultimate Mum quote: “You’re going to win, or you’re going to lose. Either way, the sun’s going to come up tomorrow.”
Carmela Soprano, The Sopranos
It takes the patience of a saint to be married to someone like Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). When he’s not stuffing his face full of cold cuts (and leaving the fridge door open), he’s off with one of his many mistresses while Carmela (Edie Falco) is stuck at home with the kids.
Despite Tony’s failings, Carmela proved to be the perfect mob wife, capable of turning a blind eye when necessary or getting her hands dirty when things went wrong (never forget the moment in season one when Tony and Carmela rushed home to hide all the cash and guns before the Feds swooped in).
Edie Falco and James Gandolfini in The Sopranos.
The five families may have feared Tony, but when he came home to his actual family, Carmela wouldn’t hesitate to put him in his place. We witnessed the best of Carmela in the season four finale Whitecaps.
“You have made a fool of me for years with these wh—s,” says Carmela to a shocked Tony. She also made a mean baked ziti.
Ultimate Mum quote: “It’s a gun Janice; I thought you were a feminist?”
Clair Huxtable, The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show was your typical family sitcom, but with one all-important twist. Rather than being a stay-at-home mother, Clair (Phylicia Rashad) was a high-flying partner in a law firm.
In the 1980s, the TV landscape wasn’t flush with complex female characters, so for viewers to meet a black family led by a strong matriarch with her own successful career proved to be a game-changer. It also helped that Clair didn’t let anyone get away with anything, as we famously learned in the season one episode, How Ugly Is He?
Clair’s daughter’s date makes the mistake of asking why she doesn’t stay at home with her children. Without missing a beat, Clair responds, “That is a sexist statement, young man. Why didn’t you ask Dr Huxtable the same question?”
Ultimate Mum quote: “Don’t you dare open your mouth when I’m asking you a question!”
Carol Brady, The Brady Bunch
From the opening lines of The Brady Bunch theme song, you already knew Carol Brady was the kind of TV mum you would love: “This is the story of a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls.”
Of course, Carol did the unthinkable, shacking up with Mike to help raise his three sons. Serious bravery.
Three daughters, three sons, but only one Carol Brady (second from the right).Credit:Alamy
Despite the family having a live-in maid in Alice, the character of Carol was a full-time housewife during the show’s run. Carol often engaged in extracurricular activities, dabbling as a freelance writer, sculptor, political activist, and singer.
Interestingly, in a 2012 interview with ABC News, actress Florence Henderson revealed she pushed hard for Carol Brady to be a working mother.
“I fought so hard to have Carol Brady get a job,” Henderson said.
Ultimate Mum quote: “You shouldn’t put down a loser, Cindy, because you might be one yourself someday. Just remember that.”
Moira Rose, Schitt’s Creek
Best described as the “world’s Schittiest mum”, Moira Rose (Catherine O’Hara) is an absolute hero and the kind of mother who seems to forget she has children until they appear in front of her.
A successful actress and star of the stage (still waiting for The Crows Have Eyes to hit a streaming platform), Moira refuses to be defined by motherhood, instead opting to celebrate her individuality and whimsical nature.
Bonus points for proudly forgetting Alexis’ middle name and then turning that slip-up into an insult: “We have so many disasters bombarding us right now, my dear, the middle name of an ungrateful child is hardly a priority.”
Ultimate Mum quote: “I’m afraid you and I have arrived at an awkward moment in our parent-child relationship. There are some nude photographs of me on the internet, and I would like you to search for them.”
Estelle Costanza, Seinfeld
The only thing more powerful than a mother’s love is a mother’s guilt; just ask Estelle Costanza (Estelle Harris). Owner of the highest-pitched nag in sitcom history, Estelle was a master at making George (Jason Alexander) feel bad: “Why don’t you eat so fast you can’t even taste it!”
But at the end of the day, she loved her son George dearly, mostly because he had such beautiful hands.
Ultimate Mum quote: “Poor Georgie. Was it our fault this happened to him? Did we do something wrong? Maybe it was our fault.”
Kris Jenner, Keeping Up With The Kardashians
It’s nice to have a loving mother, but it’s even better to have a ruthless momager.
While the antics of Kris Jenner may be up for debate, there’s no denying that the Kardashian matriarch loves to support (and monetise) her children. Without Kris, we may never have seen Kylie’s lip kit, Kim’s shapewear line or Kourtney’s weird lifestyle website, Poosh. So for that, we are…grateful?
Mother, leader, Momager. Kris Jenner is the driving force behind the Kardashian family’s enormous success.Credit:Invision
Ultimate Mum quote: “Kim would you stop taking pictures of yourself, your sister’s going to jail!”
Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.
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