The Top 5 Best and Worst Moms on TV

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Mother’s Day is fast-approaching, and so to celebrate the wonderful moms in our lives, we’ve decided to count down some of the most noteworthy moms from our favorite TV shows.  Some of the women on this list remind us of how amazing our own mothers are.  Others make us thankful we weren’t raised by them.  Still, it’s often true that the worse a mother is on TV, the more fun they are to watch.



The Best:

Photo Credit: Monica Geller (Friends) – Okay, so Monica technically doesn’t become a real mom until the final season, but that didn’t stop her from being the mother hen to her five goofy pals.  It was only after marrying Chandler that she decided to channel her efforts into having babies of her own.  From her obsessive neat-freak habits to her willingness to drop everything when her friends were in need, Monica has always had the maternal gene.  I mean, come on.  Who else but a mom would dance with a turkey on her head to make you feel better about Thanksgiving?  Sure, she was a bit neurotic, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 12.39.56 PM4. Kristina Braverman (Parenthood) –  Child rearing is a tough job to begin with, but imagine trying to raise a son who’s on the Autism Spectrum.  Kristina’s life is far from easy, but she puts her heart and soul into caring for her son Max, as well as her teenage daughter Haddie.  The most remarkable thing about her, though, is how far from perfect she is.  You’ll never see Kristina cleaning the house in pearls, or effortlessly cooking a gourmet meal.  She’s just trying to do the best she can, which is why it’s so great to watch her succeed.  She puts on a brave face for her kids at times, but it’s her more vulnerable moments that are the most touching.


Photo Credit: Clair Huxtable (The Cosby Show) – Somehow, the matriarch of the Huxtable clan managed to have it all.  A great mom and a great role model.  She had a loving husband, raised five healthy, happy children, had a thriving career as an attorney, and composed herself with grace even in the most uncomfortable of situations.  Her no-nonsense attitude not only helped her win in court, but it allowed her to impart weekly words of wisdom onto her kids.  It’s amazing that, after a long day of working and parenting, she was still able to put up with Bill Cosby’s corny jokes.  Talk about a classy lady.


Photo Credit: Marge Simpson (The Simpsons) – It’s hard to catch a break when your kids have stayed the same age for over 20 years.  Still, Marge has always gone about her parental duties with a pep in her step, and large amount of tolerance for her family’s antics.  Between Bart’s troublemaking, Lisa’s pre-teen insecurities, and Maggie’s refusal to talk, she’s got a pretty full plate to deal with.  Also, let’s face it, Homer is basically her fourth child.  Though she can be known to nag and complain, Marge is usually the kind, wise glue that holds America’s favorite animated family together.  Not to mention, nobody else could pull off that rockin’ blue hairdo.


Photo Credit: Tami Taylor (Friday Night Lights) – When it comes to great TV moms, accept no substitutes.  Tami Taylor is the best of the best.  Along with raising two daughters of her own, the coach’s wife lends a sympathetic ear to almost all the kids in Dylan, Texas as the high school guidance counselor.  No matter what the situation, she always knows exactly what to say.  She’s had a few bumps in the road herself, but never anything that some tough love and southern charm couldn’t fix.  Thanks to a combination of the show’s excellent writing and Connie Britton’s flawless performance, Tami is the gold standard for motherhood on TV.



The Worst:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-17050-1328556065-81_preview5. Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development) – The martini-slinging matriarch of the constantly troubled Bluth clan doesn’t exactly scream “Mother of the Year.”  Right from the start, Lucille comes off as calculating, self-absorbed, and materialistic.  Whether she’s smothering her anxious man-child of a son Buster, or cutting into her daughter Lindsay’s self-esteem, Lucille is never too far away from a nasty remark and a wicked smile.  Still, as bad as she is, she’s also a thrill to watch and I can’t wait to see what she does when Arrested returns at the end of May.  What can I say?  She puts the “fun” in “dysfunction.”


Photo Credit: Victoria Grayson (Revenge) – Don’t let her smile fool you.  When it comes to Victoria Greyson, the word MOM might as well be an acronym for Master of Manipulation.  The ruthless Hamptons’ socialite is not above doing dirty work to make sure her family, and her status, remain intact.  That’s not to say that she doesn’t love her kids, she just has a funny way of showing it.  Wanting your only son out of jail?  Totally normal.  Hiring prison thugs to beat him up so you can request he be put on house arrest?  Not so much.  Victoria herself described her maternal nature the best when she said, “every time I hug you, the warmth you feel is my hatred burning through.”


Photo Credit: Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones) – If a child’s behavior is a reflection of how well of a job the parent is doing, then Cersei Lannister might want to rethink her career options.  Some icky incest with her twin brother brought forth some even ickier children, the worst of which is her son Joffery.  He becomes a young king after Cersei orchestrates her husband’s death, but that’s just the start of their troubles.  Turns out, Joffery is a vindictive ruler and a heartless killer, vowing to destroy anyone who gets in his way.  He’s also a whiney brat.  So where’s mom in all of this?  Standing idly by as her son commits atrocities.  It’s hard to control someone who’s wearing a crown.


Photo Credit: Betty Draper (Mad Men) – I could fill an entire blog post with the horrid things Betty has done as a mother.  Some kids just don’t like certain foods, okay?  That doesn’t mean you have to stuff sweet potatoes down your daughter’s mouth when she won’t eat her meal.  Slapping your children is also a bad idea, as is letting them run around with a plastic bag on their head, constantly pawning them off on your housekeeper, and just having a general air of neglect about you when is comes to parenting.  Played to icy perfection by January Jones, Betty is anything but your typical 1960s housewife.


Photo Credit: Constance Langdon (American Horror Story) – When one of your children is a deformed monster that you keep hidden in the attic, and the other was executed by a SWAT team after shooting up a school, it might be time to take a hard look in the mirror.  Or, if you’re Constance, you could walk into your closet filled with mirrors that you lock your down syndrome-afflicted daughter in when she misbehaves.  The worst mother on our list is brought to life with a Tennessee Williams-esque bitterness by Academy Award Winner Jessica Lange.  She’s a mother that just won’t quit, even when continuing on means more harm and suffering for everyone around her.


Somewhere in the Middle:

Photo Credit: White (Breaking Bad) – Before you light your torches and raise your pitchforks, here me out.  I’ve never really gotten the immense hate people have towards Skyler.  She’s definitely made her share of bad decisions, but her reaction to finding out her husband cooks meth is pretty reasonable.  As a mom, she’s always had her kids’ best interests at heart.  She’s willing to be seen at the “bitch mom” in the eyes of her son so he doesn’t find out about his dad’s true profession, and her choice to move her kids to her sister’s house was only so they would be safe from a potential turf war.  All in all, I would say Skyler’s not doing half bad.



So what did you think of our moms list?  Are there any matriarchs that you think we missed?  Sound off in the comments below, and have a happy Mother’s Day!


By Mike Papirmeister

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