The Best and Worst of TV MomsJason Shapiro

With Mother’s Day coming up in just 11 months, mothers are on everyones minds.  There are all kinds of moms out there, but my favorites (other than my own mom) are TV moms.

TV moms have given fake birth to some of our favorite characters and they’ve taught us many important life lessons. For example, Meredith Baxter taught my whole family how to tie a tie. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (Meredith Baxter played a mom on Family Ties.  Get it? Hilarious. #Pulitzer)

One of my favorite TV moms is Fran Sinclair: the matriarch on the hit Dinosaur sitcom, Dinosaurs.  

She was a dinosaur….that wore clothes.  That is literally the coolest thing in the history of  television.  Plus, she was played by Jessica Walter (Lucille in Arrested Development), so she wins the life time Emmy for “Coolest Ever.”

Not all TV moms can be awesome dinosaurs though; some of them have real (fake) life problems.  That’s what makes them so interesting to watch.  But having them as your mom?  What would that be like?  Let’s explore!

Catelyn Stark (Game of Thrones)

Why It Would Be Awesome:

Catelyn Stark is a badass.  She’s noble, powerful, trustworthy, loving, fierce, protective, reliable and a thousand other cool things.  This lady fought off a psycho, knife wielding, barn-dweller to save her comatose son.  She cut her hand, leaving blood everywhere, but she was still like, “NO WAY is this dip gonna come into my castle and try to kill my son. I’m getting to the bottom of this garbage.”  So she set off on a long journey to get to the bottom of that garbage.  Other moms on this list would have been like, “OWWW… my hand….I’m gonna just chill here for the foreseeable future and try not to get killed.”

Why It Might Suck:

Have you ever seen someone take a shower in Game of Thrones?  Catelyn, gods lover her, would probably smell horrible.  Can you imagine trying to have friends over?

You: Hey, do you want to come over after school? I just got an X-Box 3.

Friend: Sorry…..I can’t….your mom smells like a wet towel that’s been in a dark cave for a thousand years.


Gloria Delgado-Pritchett (Modern Family)

Why It Would Be Awesome:

Gloria is this list’s “cool mom.”  She’s loving, fun, free spirited and full of life. She’s the kind of mom that would let you throw parties and get away with a thing or two.  She’s also the kind of mom that knows what the kids are doing, so experimenting with bath salts would probably by off the table (thankfully).

Gloria is also very protective and could do some serious damage to a home intruder or child-hurty-guy.  You know how mother bears go ballistic when their cubs are in danger?  Gloria is exactly like those bears…minus all the hair, like 3000 pounds, a thirst for blood and cave-dwelling skills. Plus, I don’t think she’s friends with Werner Herzog.

Why It Might Suck:

Imagine this: you’re chillin’ in the basement, trying to be alone cuz parents just don’t understand.  You hear Gloria start whispering from three floors above and it just doesn’t stop.  You put in ear plugs…it’s no use.  So you run over to the neighbor’s house to try to get away for even an hour.  But you can still hear her whispering because it’s THAT LOUD.  I sure couldn’t deal with that.  I treasure my hearing.

Kirsten Cohen (The O.C.)

Why It Would Be Awesome: 

The kind of mom that takes in an orphan teen and treats him like her own?  I ain’t mad at cha.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to live in The O.C.? (I swore I wouldn’t call it that.)  That place is gorgeous…and even gorgeouser in the hands of McG.  The beaches are clean, the water is the deepest blue and the people say cool things like, “Welcome to the O.C., bitch.”  Again, who wouldn’t want to live there?

Why It Might Suck: 

Drinky drinky.  No one wants to take care of their mom when she’s hammered drunk; throwing up on herself and trying to explain why her father, Caleb, has a british accent and she doesn’t.

The Mother in How I Met Your Mother

Why It Would Be Awesome:

If she was your mom, you’d live in the self proclaimed best city on earth!  Wouldn’t that be fun? Can’t you imagine you and all your girlfriends going out for cocktails and talking about Mr. Big, or you and all your bros making breakfast at Vinny’s Mom’s and talking about whether Vinny is going to do Aquaman 2 or not?  That’s what happens in New York everyday!  Plus, you would probably grow up at a bar, which would be pretty dope.  Everyone would know your name AND be glad you came.

Why It Might Suck:

Since we don’t even know who she is, chances are she’d be an absent parent.  That would suck.  What if the twist was that those kids don’t even have a mother?! Talk about mind blowing.

Skylar White (Breaking Bad)

Why It Would Be Awesome:

Trying to find nice things to say about this lady.  hmmmmm…  She has a good sense of humor? Nope, not that.  She’s chill? Wait, I’m thinking of Jessie’s friend, Badger.  She’s fiscally responsible?  I guess that works.

Why It Might Suck:

Every other reason.  She’s annoying, cold, distant, manipulative, wet-blanket-y and an all around dope.  It’s not totally her fault – her husband, Walter, is a real piece of work – but I’m not throwing any bones here.  She took away Walter Jr’s car!  I am CERTAINLY mad at cha.

Vivian Banks (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)

Why It Would Be Awesome:

Well, first things first: Will Smith would be your brother-cousin. Big Will! I imagine pool parties, clean rapping, sun glasses, trips to miami, goofballin’,  lots of laughs, warm smiles, noogies and tons of life lessons.

More importantly, Vivian is a great mom.  She’s incredibly smart; according to her wikipedia page, she was a retired doctor and earned her PhD at UCLA.  She’s a no nonsense kind of mother that has strong opinions and can back them up with her vast knowledge.  When push comes to shove, though, she’ll support her kids in any decisions that they make (even when Hilary wants to pose of Playboy).

Why It Might Suck:

Two words:  “Ummm…that’s not my mom.”

I remember watching Fresh Prince one day, and being totally caught off guard: there was magically a new Vivian Banks.  They switched actresses and didn’t even try to find one that looked like the original!

Can you imagine coming home and seeing some random lady pretending to be your mom?  Horrifying. Carlton must have been traumatized.  What’s even worse is that your dad treats her exactly like your old mom.  This scenario is some cray cray out of a Twilight Zone episode.  NOT FOR ME.

Betty Draper (Mad Men)

Why It Would Be Awesome:

Snacks on snacks on snacks. Snacks on snacks on snacks.  Betty Draper’s fridge has  the tastiest of snacks, and as her child, you’d have free rein.  These are some of the snacks that you could look forward to: Bugles, Ho-Hos, steak, butter flavored popcorn, straight butter, chocolate bars, sweet cream, sweet lard, french fries, fried butter and ice cream.  I’d sign up for that right now.

Plus, Betty is sweet, kind, loving and an all around great mother.

Why It Might Suck:

Where do I begin?  Betty could be the worst on this list; she’s petty, easily annoyed, cold and childish.  While there’s no doubt in my mind that she does love her kids, she has no idea how to show it.

“I’d rather hang out with my new mom, Megan! At least she taught me how to cry on command!  You don’t appreciate Bobby’s sense of humor and you never hold Gene!” – Sally Draper, in my Mad Men fan fiction.

Danny Tanner (You really don’t know?)

Why It Would Be Awesome:

Danny Tanner is the best TV mom of all time, IEO (in everyones opinion).  He has all the qualities of a great TV mom and then some.  No one can provide like Danny Tanner.  No one can support like Danny Tanner.  No one can clean like Danny Tanner.  No one can cook like Danny Tanner.  No one can LOVE like Danny Tanner.  He’s a jokester, a career-man, a homemaker, a cool guy, a TV news personality, a protector, a hunk, a gentle soul, a friend and a dog lover. He’s everything that is good in this world.  I’m gonna write a book about Danny Tanner, I swear.

Why It Might Suck:

NOTHING about it would suck! Are you crazy?

I wanna be in this pic!

I want to give a special shout out to Marge Simpson and Peggy Bundy.  These TV ladies make me laugh, but I wouldn’t want to be their son because: A) I don’t want to be a cartoon, and B) I like to think I’m classier than that.  The closest I’ve ever come to being a cartoon was when I accidentally ate some old cheese and everything around me started to melt.  Didn’t like that.  Don’t want to go back.

So there’s the list!  TV moms can be the moms you wish you had AND the moms you are so thankful not to have. But Danny Tanner? He’s perfect.

Who’s your favorite TV mom?

(Images via,, and

  • Christy Gilbert Burrington

    What about Kitty?! (That 70’s Show) She is my favorite TV mom for sure!

  • Gamze Sonbudak


  • Katie Chor

    Claire Huxtable represent!!! She is awesomely feminist and would tell Alvin off whenever he said something sexist. However, I remember she did not allow make-up before a certain age. F that. I would totally sneak it on in the bathroom at school just like that one episode.

  • Megan McClain

    OMG I totally forgot about Dinosaurs! I watched it all the time. And Morticia Addams is the best mom ever. She’s classy, graceful, teaches her kids manners and has a rockin sex life.

  • Ana Clara Mendonça

    Hey, great! But you forgot Nancy Botwin (Weeds).

    • Jason Shapiro

      Oh wow, you’re right. I have a lot to say about Nancy Botwin…

  • Gabriella Nash

    Definitely Lois from Malcom in the Middle – she can handle all the boys, that takes a lot of balls

    • Jason Shapiro

      Lois is one of my favorites! totally forgot her

  • Corinne Paige Rampton

    hahahahahaha!!! That was awesome. Especially the comment about Werner Herzog! Simply amazing.

  • Hailey Case

    I must say that as I was reading this I was waiting to see Lorelai Gilmore:) I mean, if she was my mom I could live in Stars Hollow and have fantastic weekly movie nights that include the largest pile of junk food and take out ever known to be eaten in one night and not look like a blimp. It must be the genes.

  • Ruth Spetter

    Mrs. Cunningham (Mrs C) from Happy Days was the best tv mom ever!

    • Jason Shapiro

      Mrs. C! Classic

  • Alex McKelley

    I’d say that Max and Isabel from Roswell had a pretty rockin’ mom. She adopted two eight year-old kids who had no records because they were found standing naked on the side of a street out in the middle of the desert one night. Her kids prefer to eat sugar and tobasco sauce, and seem to have some weird…umm…”quirks.” Also, she totally helps protect them from the FBI when she finds out that they’re aliens because she loves them and no matter what she’ll consider them her own children. Awesome!!

  • Candice MacNeale Lazecky

    I gotta throw ‘Bessie Potter’ (Joey’s sister on Dawson’s Creek). She stepped up, and was a great mom for the most ungrateful pain in the butt sister anyone could hope for! And, even with the strain of her ‘husband’ having to work out of town, she was a great mom for her little boy! (Plus she practically gave birth in a row boat, with a mildly racist elderly lady on delivery:)

  • Kelly Cumbers

    Yep! I was totally surprised you left off Lorelai. Everyone that I know that watched Gilmore Girls wanted Lorelai as a mom at some point. She was funny, supportive, let Rory eat tons of junk food, knew seemingly EVERYTHING about music, movies, and pop culture, and most of all, loved Rory no matter what.

    • Jason Shapiro

      You have all convinced me to watch Gilmore Girls

  • Ramona Falk

    Clair Huxtable is and always will be my favourite TV mom :)
    good article, though.
    Danny Tanner is a close second ;)

  • Shanna Hamilton

    Oh yes, Lorelai! She could have replaced Betty Draper. You still get to eat all that butter, yet at the end of the day shed be willing to help you throw the deviled eggs at your jerk of a boyfriends car.

    • Kelly Lawler

      Take the deviled eggs!!!

  • Sandra Chyderiotis

    Great article! But you forgot Lorelai Gilmore :)

    • Jessy Dolensky

      I agree you forgot Loreali Gilmore, I think she’s the best TV mom ever. I mean she’s the cool mom, she’s funny, she has a great relationship with her kid, she’s a film geek. She rocks!

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