Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the moms in our lives — the traditional ones and the nontraditional ones as well. In the spirit of celebrating mothers, our staff has put together a brief list of some of our favorite TV moms — the ones we love, and the ones we love to hate. Check it out below!
Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate how mothers have inspired us. That includes mothers we admire that are fictional, ones that we’ve gotten to know on our television and movie screens. One mother I admire is Karen Roe (Moira Kelly) from the television show One Tree Hill.
One Tree Hill follows the rivalry and brotherhood between Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan (James Lafferty) Scott, two half-brothers who live in Tree Hill, North Carolina and who both share a love of basketball. This CW show was on the air for nine seasons.
Karen got pregnant in high school by her sweetheart Dan Scott (Paul Johansson), but because he wanted to focus on basketball rather than a family, he left her. Although Karen did have some help from Keith (Craig Sheffer), she was a single mother doing everything she could to provide for her son.
That is why I admire her; she is a strong independent woman that was supportive of what her son wanted, including his love for basketball. Karen also ran two very successful businesses, was involved in the community, and even ran to be Mayor of Tree Hill. I know that TV’s portrayal of being a single mother is very different than real life, but it was refreshing to see a single mother on such a widely popular series, who was such a strong role model.
Mary Winchester (played by the incredible Samantha Smith) is a character that evokes a gamut of emotions from fans. Sometimes, we root for her and want her to succeed, and other times, we feel confused and betrayed by her actions. No human being is perfect. People make mistakes, and Mary is perfect proof of that.
Our first glimpse of Mary was her tragic death back in the very first episode of Supernatural. As time passed, we got small glimpses of her. Through Dean, we see the perfect memory of a loving mother. Through time travel, we learn Mary was an expert hunter and fighter. And through her spirit, we learn Mary would do anything to protect her sons.
When she was brought back to life, she tried her best to fit into the modern world. Unfortunately, she left her sons behind, breaking their hearts, and she lied to them. She made many mistakes as she chose the wrong alliances and took on more hunts by herself. She found it hard to connect to her now adult sons, and it took a whole season, and an emotional speech from Dean, to bring her back to her boys.
From then on, she proved she would still do anything to protect her sons. Mary would even go on to punch the devil himself. She made sure Sam was taking care of himself while he was searching for Dean. She would remind each of them just how wonderful they are. And in her final episode, we learned just how much she loved Cas and Jack. She cared and loved her boys in her own way and was so thoroughly loved and respected by those around her.
When thinking of moms that I admire or that inspire me, Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal) from Sons of Anarchy wasn’t my first choice. Certainly she is a controversial figure, and drama follows her around like a shadow. She is a flawed character but full of passion and love for her family. She made the wrong choices for the right reasons — choices that she felt would be best for her family and would keep them safe.
That sounds familiar doesn’t it? It reminds me very much of the Winchesters from Supernatural.
Gemma’s choices sometimes worked out well and sometimes they didn’t, but she did the best she could with the circumstances she had… just like we do in our day-to-day lives. Her family was her top priority — always. She was its protector and matriarch. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for it. She would kill to protect it (and did on more than one occasion).
Gemma was definitely not always a nice person, and I’m not condoning all of her behavior (because sometimes it was atrocious), but I feel her passion and love for her family are what put her in this list. Even though many times she was also protecting herself, her actions were to keep the family whole. In the end she brought about the very thing she had fought so hard to prevent: the destruction of her family. And she paid for it with her life.
Who wouldn’t sacrifice everything to save someone they loved? This is what drew me to Gemma’s character. I connected with her strength, resilience, intelligence, and survival instinct. Is she a candidate for Mom Of The Year? Definitely not. Though she was misguided, I can still relate to her and her desperate need to protect and save her loved ones.
The Addams Family was a surprisingly progressive sitcom about the weird goth family that lived in the neighborhood during the era of bright, colorful, perfect suburban families. The show and movies about the family brought us one of the best mothers in media.
Morticia Addams is a great mom. She consistently allows her kids to explore hobbies, while also being a great role model. She leaves time for herself and her husband, Gomez, and provides an example of a healthy romantic relationship, as well as a healthy sexual relationship. A depiction of this kind of relationship was unheard of for television in the 1960s.
As a mother myself, I easily identify with maternal characters. When I started to think about contributing to this article, a few “typical” mothers came to mind. But instead of choosing to write about them, I picked a less traditional mom — Stranger Things’ Joyce Byers.
Played brilliantly and with abandon by Winona Ryder, Joyce finds herself in one of the scariest situations a mother could ever be in — her son Will has gone missing. She spends the first season of the show doing anything and everything she can to get him back. The sheriff, her boss, and the entire town think she’s nuts, but she ignores all of that in pursuit of getting Will back. That neverending dedication to saving her son struck a chord in me.
After she gets Will back, Joyce goes to every length to protect him from the “professionals” meant to help him. She doesn’t stay quiet and doesn’t relent, constantly defending Will and his brother with fierce determination. Other moms may knit sweaters and bake apple pie, but Joyce Byers will string up Christmas lights to communicate with her son in another dimension! That’s love.
In her, I see a mom who loves completely, fights passionately, and gives her sons all of herself, no matter the personal cost. And yes, she might be a little unhinged at times, but she’s fun to watch, and no one can deny how much she loves her children.
Some mothers and daughters get manicures together, and then there are others who are sat beside each other, watching the soap opera box as the town of Stars Hollow flashes across the screen, in all of its peculiar charms. Gilmore Girls is one of my earliest memories with my mum which, in a way, is uncanny seeing as the generational relationship is the essence of the show. While as you may have guessed that I was a Rory, with my head stuck into the books and only peaking out during a political debate with my grandfather, I picked the very lady who gave her mother the Gilmore wit — Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop).
Kicking off the premise of the show was Emily’s declaration that the only way she will give Lorelai the money for Rory’s tuition fee for Chilton is if they both attend Friday dinners. But behind the conniving puppeteer’s strings attached to her family is someone who genuinely cares. Sure, it may only be fixed to what she believes is best for them, but the notion is still there.
It is shown through the glimpses of vulnerability sprinkled throughout the seasons, whether it may be when she admits to not knowing who her daughter is, only to then push Lorelai’s hair out of her face after she tucks her under the covers when she injured her back. It is seen again during the entirety of the revival where she has to face life as a widow now that Richard is gone, slowly falling back into herself and discovering parts of her that had been long been buried because of her own childhood. Emily is just as flawed as she is beautifully complex.
The person I picked to highlight in this article is not actually a mother — at least not in the traditional sense. But she is an example of the ones in our lives who have stepped up and taken on the maternal role when one was needed. She makes sure the kids who look up to her are loved and cared for, regardless of their past behavior. And she doesn’t hesitate to risk her own livelihood to do what is needed for her found family. She is Betty Broderick-Allen (Phyllis Smith) from The OA.
BBA: “She thinks I kidnapped you guys.”
Jesse: “It’s kinda the other way around, isn’t it?”
BBA, as she is affectionately known, is one of a group of six people who are tasked with helping the protagonist of the series jump across dimensions in order to escape a hunter of angels. (And if you haven’t yet seen The OA, then you must be very confused. You know, there is a way to remedy that.) When we first meet BBA, she is an extremely rigid and introverted person, suffocating from unrelenting grief after losing her twin brother. But she slowly comes out of her shell as she befriends and is adopted, so to speak, by the other main characters of the show, all of whom are students at the high school where BBA teaches.
What BBA becomes to the kids over the course of the series is a surrogate mother. She fights on their behalf with school administration when they get in trouble, and when their own parents can’t be bothered enough to care. She drives them across the country for the sake of their mission, racking up federal kidnapping charges in the process. And she is willing to take the fall for all of it, because she wants the kids to be free.
There is no sacrifice too great for BBA to make to protect her kids. And this is why she is a perfect mother to celebrate on Mother’s Day.
Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond has got to be the most stereotypical mother-in-law figure on television. Played by the incomparable Doris Roberts, she’s bossy, condescending, judgmental, and — even though it made my then-married skin crawl — her madness was hilarious to watch. Viewers tuned in for nine seasons to watch what happens when an overprotective mother doesn’t know when to butt out. Though her sons are in their thirties and one has a family of his own, she still coddles them like children. She fully embraces the matriarch role and often takes over when Debra tries to start her own traditions.
Love her or hate her, Marie was a caricature of the mother-in-law we all fear. She was forever reminding her daughters-in-law how she did everything better and living in judgement of their every move. It’s her wit and passive aggressive snark that makes her so fun to watch.